Just think, before the early 20th century, you couldn’t drive to the movies because cars and motion pictures didn’t exist! Fortunately, the same era that popularized vaudeville and phonographs also produced the first commercial automobiles and laid the foundation for the film industry. Of course, the period from 1900 to 1919 had its serious side, too. World War I and women’s suffrage played major roles in shaping the century to come. Here are some of the popular terms and expressions that appeared and, for the most part, disappeared during that era.
Definition: self-serve, coin-operated cafeteria where cold foods were sold out of closed, see-through compartments that were refilled by kitchen staff Note: Although still popular in parts of Europe, the automat was a precursor to both the vending machine and fast food in North America.
Definition: absent without leave Synonym: AWOL
Definition: excellent person (or thing), or an adjective used to describe such a person
deep sea turkey
Definition: canned salmon, as referred to by World War I troops Synonyms: goldfish, sewer carp, submarine chicken
Definition: automobile, to a pedestrian or horse driver
Definition: long smock worn to keep clothes clean while driving Note: Most early cars were roofless, so drivers and passengers took their chances with weather and dust.
Definition: young woman who worked on a farm in place of a man during World War I