Markets crash, morale sinks—but ingenuity persists. Even during the
1930s, some big companies thrived, “winning” the Depression by not losing their shirts.
Coke fizzed with activity, launching a radio show and a famous series of Christmas ads (why do you think
Santa Claus is red-and-white?). Its stock soared 700% between 1933 and 1940.
Hey, even to sell apples on street corners, people need socks and underwear (and bushel baskets). Sears nearly doubled the number of its U.S. stores from
the early 1930s through the start of World War II.
In 1938, the chemical company patented nylon. Its stockings soon found a huge market—which became a black market during the war when DuPont nylon made parachutes and ropes
for the Allies.