Globalization in the early 1900s was driven by two major events. First was the second Industrial Revolution, which occurred between c.1870 and c.1920. During the 2nd Industrial Revolution, European and American scientists developed hundreds of new inventions, especially in the steel, electric, and chemical industries. They then began to sell these new products internationally, using new industrialized trains and steamboats to transport their goods further and faster than ever before. The second major event was World War I. WWI, which took place from 1914 to 1918, involved more nations and soldiers than any previous conflict. Soldiers from around the globe fought alongside each other and they often exchanged bits of culture through stories or items. Thanks to trade for the 2nd Industrial Revolution, they already shared some common tastes, like that for specific brands of chocolate and cigarettes, or actors from silent films. These similarities and knowledge about global culture would only grow through the next few decades.
The beaded purses demonstrate how this same effect occurred in the fashion industry. Until this point, people tended to dress in local styles, reflecting the traditions and materials in their own towns. The 20th century disrupted that by providing large quantities of imported clothing in a more global style. People from all continents began to dress more alike. The purses shown here are not identical, but they clearly came from similar inspirations. They are a prime example of different cultures adopting global trends. These purses mark a change in fashion, invention, industry, and global culture.
Beaded Purses Activity Guide