Friday, August 01, 2008

Relics of the Past


As I looked at the clock with hands on my 1985 Volvo wagon dashboard, I realized just how much has changed in my world. I wondered if they even teach elementary school children to “tell” time any longer, or do they simply need to know what the digital numbers on the LED mean?

Clocks with hands are one of the many things that are becoming obsolete. How about phones with rotary dials? Our son once confessed that he didn’t know how to call us from swim practice because the phone had this strange round thing on the front. Yikes!

But what else either has become or is becoming obsolete?

– TV antennas that had to be mounted on your roof if you wanted to receive more than the (only in our case) local channel.
– Rabbit ears that sat on top of your TV if didn’t have the luxury of an antenna.
– Drive-in theaters that included a lot more than movie-watching.
– Parking meters that gave you 12 minutes for a penny.
– Batteries to which you had to add water.
– Reel-to-reel tape recorders.
– Beta videos; VHS videos.
– Cassette tapes.
– Cameras that needed film.
– Upright hair dryers.
– Hair rollers.
– Home perms.
– Coffee percolators.
– Clotheslines for drying clothes outside.
– Liquid starch for dress shirts.
– Charcoal briquettes.
– Glass bottles of soda.
– Paper maps.

What else can you think of? Our world is constantly evolving. With every new invention, something older must go!

12 Comments:

Blogger bulletholes said...

How aboout the test station for vacuum tubes that used to be at the front door of every Grocery Store you walked into?
wow!

2:51 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

BUlletholes -- That's a new one on me! What did you use vacuum tubes for? I thought they were part of old-timey radios!

3:57 PM  
Blogger Kellyann Brown said...

yes, children are still learning how to tell time using the "hands" on a clock!

Here's what's missing:

manual windows in cars
"lap" seat belts in cars
video rental places (long live Netflix and redbox!)
Stuckeys (on long road trips, did anyone buy a pecan log there?)
aluminum ice tea glasses in different colors which were so cold to hold!
Clerks that count back your change in your hand(AND make eye-contact with you)
places where the waitress calls you "hon" and you tip her an extra 2% because you like that

4:21 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kelly -- You are so RIGHT about all your additions to my list. I absolutely adored those aluminum iced tea glasses that came in silver, pink, turquoise, and beautiful green. We never owned any, but our friends did and I loved the way they would "sweat" in your hands. And yes, making change is an entirely lost art.

4:50 PM  
Blogger media concepts said...

This is a good topic. Other than in cars, the vast majority of clocks and watches I see everyday still have the ol' hands.

As for the other items on your list, I'm happy that some of these are gone. Beta, VHS, and cassette tapes look and sound like crap compared to digital disks (or vinyl records, for that matter), and the magnetic particles on the tapes fall off over time, making the quality even worse. Ditto for the way the tapes stretch over time.

Coffee percolotors are a horrendous way to make coffee, as they keep boiling the coffee over and over.

Charcoal briquets are covered in cancer-causing soot and are horrible for you, not to mention the lighter fluid that is usually needed with them.

Phone dials? They take forever to use. Pay phones instead of cell phones? Covered in germs.

All in all, I'm much happier with personal technology now than decades ago (as I write this from a laptop in California that is receiving a free Wi-Fi signal).

P.S. As of a year ago at least, Inifiniti cars still had clocks with hands for that "retro" look.

5:07 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

MC -- I totally forgot about vinyl records, but I'm sure you would put them in the same category as the other media you mentioned. I also neglected to talk about the many generations of computers that we have seen in the past 30 years as they have shrunk so small as to almost disappear.

You are right that we are mostly making progress, but it's still interesting to think of those things that have become obsolete during our lifetimes.

BTW, I love driving around my 1985 vintage Volvo, now reclaimed from my children and from friends who had borrowed it. It drives like a Mac truck and has a lot of miles left before it bites the dust (or becomes obsolete!)

5:47 PM  
Anonymous dsquared said...

* Friden calculators
* Slide rules
* Typewriters
* Black and White TV's
* Vitalis Hair Cream
* Milkmen (the kind that would deliver milk, eggs etc to your door)
* The Awrey's pie truck (they would deliver chocloate cream pie on Tuesdays!!)
* Clothes chutes
* Party phone lines

7:57 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Dsquared -- Welcome, my beloved! See what a dinnertime discussion can produce? You even expanded on the list. We didn't have a pie man in Florida; that must have been a northern thing.

Please tell me you never used Vitalis hair cream. If I had known, I might not have... just kidding!

8:03 PM  
Blogger Kellyann Brown said...

oh yes, really miss those men that smelled like Old Spice (my grandpa!)

remember when phones didn't have voice mail?

when cell phones were the size of toasters?

when you didn't have to shred your mail?

for that matter, when mail didn't have a dozen credit card offers in a week?

remember having to write a check to pay a bill? (I think I write about a check every other month now)

remember when we thought our Mac +s were "portable"?! ::Laugh:: I can remember having a CASE for that forty lb wonder!

remember when there were only five channels on t.v. and you only got three of them really well?

remember when we looked things up in the World Book, rather than "googling" it?

remember calling the operator and if you gave her the name of the person and the city, she (and it was always a "she") would give you the address of the person?

remember when airlines tripped over themselves to convince you that they were the most luxurious airline and best way to travel?

5:06 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kelly -- Yes, yes, and yes. I still write checks... am I obsolete? :)

2:07 PM  
Blogger media concepts said...

Coincidentally, I own a t-shirt that reads: Pecking Order of Appliances Circa 1950. The items pictured, in order, are: a car, a tv set, a telephone (rotary dial, of course), and a coffee pot (percolator, of course). In your honor, I'm going to wear it tomorrow!

8:37 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

MC -- Gee, thanks! I was celebrating my first birthday in 1950.

10:58 PM  

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