Social History 1930s

The Gramophone

Roots, the first story in The Olive Tree: A Spanish Civil War Saga, is set in 1937. Here’s some background, some social history from that year.

For those who could afford them, gramophones were popular in the 1930s, including this 1937 HMV No.97c ‘Picnic’ Portable Gramophone. 

Record sales were slow in the early part of the decade, but by 1937 they had picked up considerably thanks to improvements in fidelity. 

The 1930s saw the introduction of vinyl, originally known as vinylite, as a record material for radio transcription discs, although these discs were rare in the home. Instead, most 78s were made of a heavy, brittle shellac compound derived from a resin secreted by the female lac bug.

The number one hits of 1937

Carpet Cleaner

In Roots, book one of The Olive Tree, my nurse Heini Hopkins is at home tending her sick mother. This item is from my domestic research into the period. I remember using carpet cleaners like these when I visited my grandparents’ house.

A Mangle

Another item from my domestic research into the 1930s. My nurse, Heini Hopkins, would certainly be familiar with this item, and I can remember seeing similar models when I visited my grandparents’ house.