Entertainment in the Gilded Age

1450 Words Mar 20th, 2007 6 Pages
In the late 1800's, American society began to burst with cultural activity. After the Civil War and the Reconstruction, Americans were eager to return to their normal lifestyles. The period that followed, however, was quite different from what the country was used to. During the war, many pushed hard for a rise in industry, leading to an explosive industrial revolution far beyond what people had expected. America's business and economy had boomed, and, as the new century approached, many had a new outlook on life. They were eager to escape the dull regiments of both the past Victorian era and the new urban lifestyle. This was easy for the upper and middle classes, both of which were growing due to the rapid increase in industry. It …show more content…
Edison then helped to create a short monopoly in America with the Motion Picture Patents Company. The film industry thrived because of its efficiency--people paid low prices to watch movies, but they brought big business because of their sheer number.4 As Americans watched silent movies, sound-based entertainment also grew. New forms of music such as ragtime and the cakewalk were all the rage, and some people, such as Rudolph Wulitzer, knew how to take advantage of America's new taste for music. Wulitzer was a German immigrant who found moderate success in importing musical instruments from his home country. In the 1890's, however, he changed his focus to musical machines. He invented the first coin-operated electric organ, and soon after, self-playing harps and pianos. He sold them to hotels and restaurants that could not afford live musicians and he made quite a lot of money. When he turned his company over to his sons, they developed a pipe organ that filled movie theaters with sound. They would later develop the jukebox and make a fortune in the 1930's, after the Gilded Age was over. But it was during this era that the Wurlitzer Company got its start.5 Although music, movies and shows were very prominent and quite marketable, some Americans had a taste for more adventurous recreation. With the higher incomes and affordable transportation of the Gilded Age, men and women flocked to amusement

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