The pool throughout the twentieth century

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Symbols change and have different meanings through different times and different places. Though they didn’t have pool deck resurfacing or pool renovations in ancient Rome, that doesn’t mean they didn’t have pools or bathing ponds that people were allowed to use. In fact, the status of using a bathing pool in Rome is much the same as it is today in the United States. Symbols themselves often stay old but transform and transmogrify into something that just appears to be new. It just takes a keen eye to spot the old marks on that new thing. They might not have had fancy outdoor kitchens in ancient China or pool contractors but they had ponds and large feasting areas in the dynasty palaces. Humans have always loved the same things so long as they’ve been humans at all. After all, the human brain has been the same for around ten thousand years now. The people of ten thousand years ago were, therefore, no different than us in cognitive functioning. Only behind a bit in technology. So what about a specific symbol to look at? To better understand this idea, let’s take a look a few specific decades and what specific symbols meant to these decades. If we do this, we might gain a better understanding of how we ended up where we are and, more importantly, where we might be going.

    The significance of the swimming pool in the twenties
    To start, we’re going to travel back to a very turbulent time in the history of the United States. Most people remember how crazy and free the twenties were supposed to be but that’s only half the story. Yes, they certainly needed pool renovations for their crazy and intense parties but it was also a decade of intense technological change. For the first time, tools, machines and appliances that had previously been playthings for the super rich became available to the average public. This included certain kinds of cars as well as air conditioners and refrigerators. Along with this technological change came all sorts of uses and fun to be had with said devices. People wanted more and more and they got all they wanted because the economy was so good. This desire for surplus was where the humble pool came into play. While still reserved for the upper middle class, the pool became a symbol of status that, if you had enough money, you couldn’t do without it. The pool, which had previously barely existed in American culture, opened up to the masses and the people never looked back. Of course, you can see it’s influence today with nearly everyone who has enough money owning some sort of pool.
    Flying ahead to the fifties
    The pool was a symbol of status and strength in the twenties but, even then, it needed a lot of work to maintain. You needed all sorts of pool renovations to keep it together and make it look presentable. This sort of dilemma of wealth, work and status was repeated again in the fifties with the invention and spread of the hot tub. While not quite as well known, the invention of the hot tub in the fifties closely mirrored the rise of the pool in the twenties. The fifties, in many ways, were comparable to the twenties, at least in terms of economic growth. People had more money to spend because of the second world war and spend they did. This was the decade of the vacuum cleaner, the do it yourself home guide and the made for himself man. Of course, let’s not forget it was also the decade that started cold war paranoia and being afraid that you might die at any moment. It was a decade of polarization that really hasn’t been matched until today. And there really was no better symbol of this newfound comfort and status and display of power than the hot tub. It required a lot of energy and maintenance, hence the need for more pool renovations, but many families wanted to show that they could handle it. It was a display not only to their neighbors but the whole world.