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Iconic products released the year you were born

Stacker Logo By Joseph Bien-Kahn of Stacker | Slide 1 of 101: America's product-loving culture has thrived on amazing ingenuities and inventions over the last century. Over several generations, we've seen kitchen appliances cut meal prep time and the creation of programmable toys that interact with their human owners. From powdered drink mixes to color film, what better way to illustrate these innovations than a trip down memory lane of some of the most iconic products of our time?

Classic toys like Barbie and the Easy-Bake Oven speak to multiple generations, while others such as Atari and Furbies were short-lived but remain generational touchstones. Some products even become shorthand for moments in time: America's obsession with Beanie Babies, for example, often conjures up parallels to the dot-com bubble.

Whether a product signifies convenience or obsession, many were not only jumping-off points for later inventions and improvements but also earmarks of their cultural eras. When Spandex and Lycra hit the market in 1959, they replaced previous fabrics less suitable for heat, sweat, and water. But the shift to Lycra swimsuits, for instance, also marked a turning point in women’s fashion norms and the increasing acceptability of displaying the female body in athletics and leisure. The link to today’s yoga pants and “athleisure” generation is undeniable.

Perhaps the two most common trends you’ll find as you browse this list: convenience and compactness. Introduced in 1953, Eggo frozen waffles sped up breakfast time. In 1969, Sony’s Walkman hit stores and made home listening handheld. The perfect representation of both efficiency and size? The 1994 birth of the Foreman Grill.

Stacker compiled the most iconic products released each year over the last 100 years. We're not saying wisdom can be gleaned from these choices like some sort of consumer horoscope, but at the very least this list can show how much technology and style has changed in the blink of an eye. Just think—this year's class of senior citizens (ages 65 and older) were born the same year as the invention of Tylenol; on the flip side, this year's high school seniors were born the same year as the Roomba.

Click through to see the iconic products released the year you were born, from 1919 to 2019.

You may also like:  Where U.S. first ladies went to college

America's product-loving culture has thrived on amazing ingenuities and inventions over the last century. Over several generations, we've seen kitchen appliances cut meal prep time and the creation of programmable toys that interact with their human owners. From powdered drink mixes to color film, what better way to illustrate these innovations than a trip down memory lane of some of the most iconic products of our time?

Classic toys like Barbie and the Easy-Bake Oven speak to multiple generations, while others such as Atari and Furbies were short-lived but remain generational touchstones. Some products even become shorthand for moments in time: America's obsession with Beanie Babies, for example, often conjures up parallels to the dot-com bubble.

Whether a product signifies convenience or obsession, many were not only jumping-off points for later inventions and improvements but also earmarks of their cultural eras. When Spandex and Lycra hit the market in 1959, they replaced previous fabrics less suitable for heat, sweat, and water. But the shift to Lycra swimsuits, for instance, also marked a turning point in women’s fashion norms and the increasing acceptability of displaying the female body in athletics and leisure. The link to today’s yoga pants and “athleisure” generation is undeniable.

Perhaps the two most common trends you’ll find as you browse this list: convenience and compactness. Introduced in 1953, Eggo frozen waffles sped up breakfast time. In 1969, Sony’s Walkman hit stores and made home listening handheld. The perfect representation of both efficiency and size? The 1994 birth of the Foreman Grill.

Stacker compiled the most iconic products released each year over the last 100 years. We're not saying wisdom can be gleaned from these choices like some sort of consumer horoscope, but at the very least this list can show how much technology and style has changed in the blink of an eye. Just think—this year's class of senior citizens (ages 65 and older) were born the same year as the invention of Tylenol; on the flip side, this year's high school seniors were born the same year as the Roomba.

Click through to see the iconic products released the year you were born, from 1919 to 2019.

You may also like: Where U.S. first ladies went to college

© Spencer Platt // Getty Images

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