The electricity industry developed slowly before the war, but in the 1920s it really thrived and was crucial in the economic boom.
It provided a cheap, efficient source of power for factories. It meant large numbers of complex machines could be used simultaneously, which made it possible to introduce mass production techniques.
Electricity also helped create the economic boom because it supplied the power needed in the homes of consumers for the new mass produced products, such as vacuum cleaners, refrigerators and washing machines.
Electricity was also vital in the development of popular entertainment during the 1920s. It powered the new cinemas, speakeasies and sports stadia. It was also needed for the millions of radios in use across America.
The consumption of electricity doubled in the decade. By 1929, 70 per cent of homes had electricity.
New technology played an important role in this consumer boom. The electrification of America led to a new range of consumer goods such as radios, washing machines, or more specifically the 1926 Hoover vacuum cleaner or the 1927 General Electric Monitor Top refrigerator. Only 33% of American homes in 1920 had electricity but this had increased to 70% by 1929. In 1914 only 30% of American factories had electricity, by 1929 this was 70%. In 1902 the USA had generated 6,000 million kilowatt hours of electricity but by 1929 it was 118,000 million kilowatt hours. Between 1919 and 1929 industrial productivity (per worker per hour) increased 72% due to mechanization. As well as new mechanized production techniques like the production line, there were also new materials from the chemical industry, like rayon, bakelite and cellophane, which made products cheaper to produce so more could be sold at lower prices