1930 History, Fun Facts and Trivia

1930 Fun Facts, Trivia and History

Quick Facts from 1930

  • World-Changing Event: Ruth Wakefield of the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts, invented the chocolate chip cookie.
  • Influential Songs include Happy Days Are Here Again by Benny Menoff and his Orchestra—also Puttin’ on the Ritz.
  • The Movies to Watch include Whoopee!, Animal Crackers, All Quiet on the Western Front, Feet First, The King of Jazz, and The Shame of Mary Boyle.
  • The Most Famous Person in America was probably Henry Ford
  • Notable books include The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
  • Price of Women’s silk stockings in 1930: 89 cents
  • The Biggest Movie Star was Clara Bow
  • The Conversation: On April 18, 1930, the BBC announced, “There is no news today,” and played piano music instead.
  • Take our 1930 Quiz!

Top Ten Baby Names of 1930

Mary, Betty, Dorothy, Helen, Margaret, Barbara, Patricia, Joan, Doris, Ruth
Robert, James, John, William, Richard, Charles, Donald, George, Joseph, Edward

US Life Expectancy

(1930) Males: 58.1 years, Females: 61.6 years

The Stars

Josephine Baker, Joan Blondell, Clara Bow, Louise Brooks, Joan Crawford, Marion Davies, Dolores Del Rio, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow, Myrna Loy, Barbara Stanwyck, Thelma Todd

Miss America


Time Magazine’s Man of the Year

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Entertainment History: The Academy Awards

The 2nd Academy Awards occurred on April 3, 1930, at an extravagant dinner at the Cocoanut Grove of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California. William C. DeMille, older brother of the famed director Cecil B. DeMille, acted as the evening’s host. This event marked the first time the eligibility period was extended to more than one year, covering films released between August 1, 1928, and July 31, 1929. Interestingly, the ceremony was private, attended mostly by industry insiders, and not broadcast on radio or television. The Best Picture winner was The Broadway Melody, and it also was the first sound film to win the top honor. One trivia nugget—there was no Best Actor or Best Actress category; instead, winners received an “Academy Award for Best Acting.”

The 3rd Academy Awards were held on November 5, 1930, at the iconic Fiesta Room of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Conrad Nagel, a prominent actor of that era, hosted the ceremony. The eligibility year for the films was from August 1, 1929, to July 31, 1930, which was a departure from the previous year’s extended eligibility period. This year featured the first-ever awards for Best Sound Recording and Best Art Direction, adding some new categories. All Quiet on the Western Front took home the Best Picture award and was also notable for its anti-war narrative. Another fascinating piece of trivia: The awards ceremony was the shortest in history, lasting just 15 minutes. There were no acceptance speeches, and winners were announced in advance, stripping the event of some of its modern-day suspense.

Firsts, Inventions, and Wonders

Cartoon hottie Betty Boop first appeared in 1930, in Dizzy Dishes, although she was more like a poodle. She became more human-like in 1932.

The first appearance of comic strip Blondie by Chic Young.

January 13 – The first Mickey Mouse comic strip was published.

The radio mystery program The Shadow aired for the first time.

Scotch cellophane tape was invented in 1930 by 3M engineer Richard Drew. The ‘3M’ is the original company name – Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company.

Twinkies, a “Golden Sponge Cake with Creamy Filling,” was invented.

MGM’s first color (Technicolor) sound cartoon, Fiddlesticks, was made by Ub Iwerks.

KFC, also known as Kentucky Fried Chicken, was founded by Colonel Harland David Sanders. He was not a military colonel.

Clarence Birdseye was granted a US Patent (#1773079A) for his method of quick freezing food.

Clyde Tombaugh was photographing the sky and comparing the pictures. He noticed a faint dot that had moved. The young man from Kansas discovered Pluto, named by 11-year-old Venetia Burney. Percival Lowell thought something was up between Neptune and Uranus and had been looking for the planet since 1905.

The Irish Free State Hospitals’ Sweepstakes (Irish Sweepstakes) was founded.

Paul and Joseph Galvin and William Lear created the first car radio called a “motorized victrola,” which they shortened to Motorola.

In 1924, Kleenex was invented and advertised as a cold cream remover. It was rebranded in 1930 after many customers reported using the product primarily for blowing their noses.

DuPont invented Neoprene (a versatile rubber).

Spaulding developed the Kro-Flight golf ball, the first wound ball with a liquid center. The ball increased distance and control for golfers.

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1930 include

Arden-Ohman Orchestra, Earl Burtnett & His Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel Orchestra, Duke Ellington, Libby Holman, Isham Jones and His Orchestra, Wayne King and His Orchestra, Ted Lewis and His Band, Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, Red Nichols & His Five Pennies, Regent Club Orchestra, Harry Richman, Leo Reisman Orchestra, Jacques Renard and His Orchestra, Nat Shilkret & the Victor Orchestra, Rudy Vallée & His Connecticut Yankees, Ted Wallace & His Campus Boys, Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians, Ted Weems and His Orchestra, Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra
Charts based on Billboard music charts.

Strange News

On April 18, 1930, the BBC announced, “There is no news today,” and played piano music instead.

A mysterious man visited Edgar Allen Poe’s grave every year from 1930-1998 and offered a toast with a glass of Cognac.

Elm Farm Ollie was the first cow to fly in a fixed-wing aircraft and the first cow to be milked in an airplane.

War Plan Red was a hypothetical plan for the U.S. invasion of Canada approved in 1930 by the American Secretary of War.

George Stathakis died after going over Niagara Falls in a barrel, suffocating after becoming trapped behind a water curtain upon impact. His 150-year-old turtle, which came with him, survived.

The Four identical Genain Quadruplet sisters born in 1930 all developed schizophrenia, suggesting a vital genetic component to schizophrenia.

Pop Culture Facts & History

In 1930, Babe Ruth made more than the President ($80,000 vs $75,000); when asked about it, he responded, “I know, but I had a better year.”

The first commercially released “Looney Tunes” cartoon was 1930’s Sinkin’ in the Bathtub. Looney Tunes was created to promote WB’s music catalog in 1930. That’s why it’s “Tunes” and not “Toons.”

The Motion Pictures Production “Hayes Code” was instituted, imposing guidelines on treating sex, crime, religion, and violence in films. It was in place until 1968.

Agatha Christie, G. K. Chesterton, and other British mystery writers formed the Detection Club. Members swore to not use “Divine Revelation, Feminine Intuition, Mumbo Jumbo, Jeggiry-Pokery, Coincidence, or Act of God” in stories. Founded in 1930, the club still exists.

Sir Frank Whittle (RAF) invented the modern jet engine, using a gas turbine to provide forward thrust.

In 1919, Michael Keogh stopped an angry mob of men from killing two right-wing political agents they were beating up. In 1930, at a Nuremberg rally, Keogh recognized one of the agents he had saved. It was Adolf Hitler.

The world’s “longest-running laboratory experiment” demonstrates the fluidity and high viscosity of pitch, a derivative of tar once used for waterproofing boats.” In 1930, pitch was left in a glass funnel to drip out and has only dropped nine times: about once every ten years.

In 1930, there were only 14 Shih Tzu’s left in the world due to restrictions in dog breeding. All modern-day Shih Tzu’s are direct descendants of those 14 dogs.

In North America and most other places, Hamsters are descended from one pregnant female, captured in Syria in 1930.

The Bank of Italy (founded in San Francisco, California, in 1904) was renamed Bank of America.

The Hotel Pennsylvania was built by the Pennsylvania Railroad and operated by Ellsworth Statler. It opened on January 25, 1919, and has used the Phone Number Pennsylvania 6-5000 (212-736-5000) since ~1930. It was also the title of a hit song for Glenn Miller.

Nobel Prize Winners

Physics – Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman
Chemistry – Hans Fischer
Physiology or Medicine – Karl Landsteiner
Literature – Sinclair Lewis
Peace – Nathan Söderblom

The Number One Hits of 1930

December 26, 1929 – January 10, 1930
Paul Whiteman – Great Day

January 11, 1930 – January 31, 1930
Roy Ingraham – Chant Of The Jungle

February 1, 1930 – February 7, 1930
Ted Weems – The Man From The South

February 8, 1930 – February 28, 1930
Benny Meroff – Happy Days Are Here Again

March 1, 1930 – March 7, 1930
Harry Richman – Puttin’ On The Ritz

March 8, 1930 – March 21, 1930
Ben Selvin – Happy Days Are Here Again

March 22, 1930 – May 30, 1930
Rudy Vallee – Stein Song (University of Maine)

May 31, 1930 – June 13, 1930
Hilo Hawaiian Orchestra – When It’s Springtime In The Rockies

June 14, 1930 – July 4, 1930
Ben Selvin – When It’s Springtime In The Rockies

July 5, 1930 – August 22, 1930
Nat Shilkret – Dancing With Tears In My Eyes

August 23, 1930 – September 19, 1930
Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians – Little White Lies

September 20, 1930 – October 17, 1930
McKinney’s Cotton Pickers – If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight

October 18, 1930 – November 28, 1930
Paul Whiteman – Body And Soul

November 29, 1930 – December 19, 1930
Duke Ellington – Three Little Words

December 30, 1930 – January 16, 1931
Guy Lombardo – You’re Driving Me Crazy (What Did I Do?)

Popular and Best-selling Books From 1930

Angel Pavement by J. B. Priestley
Chances by A. Hamilton Gibbs
Cimarron by Edna Ferber
The Door by Mary Roberts Rinehart
Exile by Warwick Deeping
The Hidden Staircase (Nancy Drew #2) by Carolyn Keene
The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
Rogue Herries by Hugh Walpole
The Secret of the Old Clock (Nancy Drew #1) by Carolyn Keene
Twenty-Four Hours by Louis Bromfield
The Woman of Andros by Thornton Wilder
Years of Grace by Margaret Ayer Barnes
Young Man of Manhattan by Katharine Brush

FIFA World Cup (Soccer)

This was the first ‘World Cup.’ It was started because the United States, the 1932 Olympic Host, would not feature the game in the 1932 Olympiad.

1930 United States Census

Total US Population: 123,202,624
1. New York, New York – 6,930,446
2. Chicago, Illinois – 3,376,438
3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – 1,950,961
4. Detroit, Michigan – 1,568,662
5. Los Angeles, California – 1,238,048
6. Cleveland, Ohio – 900,429
7. St. Louis, Missouri – 821,960
8. Baltimore, Maryland – 804,874
9. Boston, Massachusetts – 781,188
10. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – 669,817


World Series Champions: Philadelphia Athletics
Stanley Cup Champs: Montreal Canadiens
U.S. Open Golf: Bobby Jones
U.S. Tennis (Men/Ladies): John H. Doeg/Betty Nuthall
Wimbledon (Men/Women): Bill Tilden/Helen Moody
NCAA Football Champions: Alabama & Notre Dame
Kentucky Derby Winner: Gallant Fox
Boston Marathon Winner: Clarence DeMar Time: 2:34:48

More 1930 Facts & History Resources:

Most Popular Baby Names (BabyCenter.com)
Popular and Notable Books (popculture.us)
Broadway Shows that Opened in 1930
1930 Calendar, courtesy of Time and Date.com
The Great Depression LIB
Fact Monster
1930s, Infoplease.com World History
1930 in Movies (according to IMDB)
Retrowaste Vintage Culture
1920s Slang
1930 US Census Fast Facts
Wikipedia 1930