1959 History

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1959 the unemployment problems eased to 5.5%. Television programs included "Rawhide", "Bonanza" and "The Twilight Zone", movies included "Some Like it Hot", "Ben Hur" and "North by Northwest". Hawaii was admitted to the the Union and became the 50th State. The Boeing 707 Jet Airliner comes into service and little girls love the Barbie Dolls made by Mattel. Fidel Castro comes to power in Cuba.

Cost of Living 1959

How Much things cost in 1959
Yearly Inflation Rate USA 1.01%
Average Cost of new house $12,400.00
Average Yearly Wages $5,010.00
Cost of a gallon of Gas 25 cents
Average Cost of a new car $2,200.00
Movie Ticket $1.00
Loaf of Bread 20 cents
Kodak Movie camera $67.50
Ladies Stockings $1.00

What Events Happened in 1959

  • Fidel Castro comes to power in Cuba after Revolution with the first communist state in the west
  • Mattel's Barbie Doll is Launched
  • Alaska becomes the 49th State of the United States
  • Hawaii becomes the 50th State of the United States
  • Hudson and Nash become the AMC (American Motors Association
  • Archbishop Makarios is elected president of the Independent Cyprus Republic
  • The United Kingdom grants Cyprus its independence.
  • Flood in Taiwan leaves 2,000 dead.
  • St Lawrence Seaway a joint US / Canadian venture is completed linking the great lakes to the Atlantic Ocean
  • US Unemployment reaches 1.4 million
  • NASA introduces America's first astronauts to the world including John H. Glenn Jr, and Alan Shepard Jr.
  • An International agreement is signed to preserve Antartica
  • The first known human with HIV dies in Congo.
  • The spiritual leader of Tibet, the Dalai Lama flees Tibet and obtains political asylum in India.

Popular Culture 1959

  • The US Grammy Music Awards Started
  • The chartered plane transporting musicians Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper goes down in an Iowa snowstorm, killing all four occupants on board. The tragedy is later termed "The Day the Music Died," popularised in Don McLean's song, "American Pie."
  • The Film Ben-Hur premieres in New York City

Popular Films

  • Ben-Hur
  • Some Like It Hot
  • Anatomy of a Murder
  • North by Northwest
  • Sleeping Beauty

Popular Singers

  • Elvis Presley
  • Doris Day
  • Frank Sinatra
  • Connie Francis
  • Jim Reeves
  • Cliff Richard
  • Ella Fitzgerald

Popular TV Programs

  • Bonanza premieres on NBC, the first weekly television series broadcast completely in color

Technology 1959

  • Boeing 707 Jet Airliner comes into service cutting 8 hrs from transatlantic Flight
  • USSR Luna 2 crashes onto the Moon as the first man-made object and Luna 3 sends back first photos of the far side of Earth's Moon
  • IBM shipped the transistor-based IBM 1401 mainframe.
  • Xerox launches the first commercial copier
  • US Launches first Weather Station in Space
  • De Beers manufactures a synthetic Diamond
  • QANTAS introduces the Boeing 707 on its Sydney-San Francisco route, the first transpacific service flown by jet.

Inventions Invented by Inventors and Country ( or attributed to First Use )

Microchip USA by Jack Kilby
Etch A Sketch France by Arthur Grandjean
Computer Modem USA
Lunar Probe Russia Lunik I passed the Moon; Lunar Probe Russia Lunik II crashed on the Moon;
Lunar Probe Russia Lunik III photographed the far side of the Moon


Research for this year is provided by The People History.
See History By Year and Decade for more prices and information.
Find out more about the 50s at ThePeopleHistory.com.