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INFO VINE * Vintage Technologies That We No Longer Use *

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INFO VINE * Vintage Technologies That We No Longer Use * Empty INFO VINE * Vintage Technologies That We No Longer Use *

Post by Paul Tue 23 Jan 2024, 11:17 am

Vintage Technologies That We No Longer Use






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Photo Courtesy: [PM Images/Stone/Getty Images]
As time marches on and technology improves, many inventions that people once relied on are left behind. From sundials and slide rules to typewriters and telephone booths, these past technologies ultimately gave way to newer ones.

Though these technologies have fallen out of use, they remain memorable pieces of history and often evoke feelings of nostalgia in people who remember them. Additionally, museums and collectors preserve them for future generations to rediscover. Here are 50 vintage technologies that we no longer use.





Manual Vacuum Cleaner


Before the electric vacuum cleaners of today, people used manual vacuum cleaners to remove debris from their floors. Invented during the latter half of the 19th century, some notable models include the Baby Daisy and the Star Vacuum Cleaner, initially sold for 54 shillings in the United Kingdom.


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Photo Courtesy: [H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Archive Photos/Getty Images]


Sales of manual vacuum cleaners peaked in 1914, with as many as 18 manufacturers offering them. By 1916, the number of manufacturers had decreased to just eight. However, manual vacuum cleaners continued to be available in later decades, as shown in this photograph from the 1950s.


Sundial


The ancient Egyptians and Babylonians used sundials as early as 1500 BC. In the Old Testament books of Isaiah and 2 Kings, both dating to approximately 700 BC, there are references to these timepieces. By the 16th century AD, they were in regular use.


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Photo Courtesy: [Jeff Greenberg/Universal Images Group/Getty Images]


A sundial indicates the time of day by casting a shadow or light onto the surface below, known as a dial plate or dial face. While modern clocks have made sundials obsolete, they remain one of the best-known examples of ancient technology.


Icebox


Also known as a cold closet, an icebox was a non-mechanical appliance used for decades before the introduction of electric refrigerators. A box or compartment storing ice, iceboxes improved the overall quality and freshness of food, allowing people to preserve leftovers and go to the market less often.


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Photo Courtesy: [יעקב/Wikimedia Commons]


Farmer Thomas Moore invented one of the earliest refrigerators in 1802. By the 1950s, electric refrigerators had become increasingly common due to their affordability, ultimately making the icebox obsolete.


Moonlight Tower


A moonlight tower was a popular form of street lighting in Europe and North America in the late 1800s. Various lights illuminated these towering structures, such as incandescent lamps, carbon arc lamps, and mercury vapor lamps.


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Photo Courtesy: [Lycurgus S. Glover/Wikimedia Commons]


Detroit, Michigan, had 122 moonlight towers, each 175 feet tall between 1,000 to 1,200 feet apart. When San Jose, California erected its 237-foot tall structure in 1881, it became the first city west of the Rocky Mountains with electric lights. Unfortunately, it collapsed during a storm in 1915.


Personal Digital Assistant


Before smartphones and tablets, people relied on personal digital assistants to store and retrieve information. These handheld devices often contained calendars, schedules, and address books, making them ideal for business and personal use.


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Photo Courtesy: [Science & Society Picture Library/SSPL/Getty Images]


British computer company Psion released the first personal digital assistant, the Organiser I, in 1984. The IBM Simon Personal Communicator hit the market a decade later, becoming the first PDA capable of making and receiving cellular phone calls. The Apple Newton series, produced between 1993 and 1998, was the first to have handwriting recognition.


Credit Card Imprinter


A credit card imprinted manually recorded credit card transactions. A person's credit card would go into the machine beneath a layer of carbon paper. The bar then slid across it, creating an impression of the credit card information and the merchant information. After signing the forms, a customer kept one copy while the merchant kept the other.


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Photo Courtesy: [My another account/Wikimedia Commons]


The introduction of electronic payment terminals in the 1980s eliminated the need for credit card imprinters. Due to advancing technology, a person can now pay for something with their credit card using only their smartphone.


Rolodex


A Danish engineer, Hildaur Neilsen, invented the Rolodex in 1956 while working for a New York stationery manufacturer, Zephyr American. The company also released a spring-operated phone directory called the Autodex and a paper hole puncher called the Punchodex.


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Photo Courtesy: [The Sydney Morning Herald/Fairfax Media/Getty Images]


A Rolodex contains index cards on which users write down business contact information for individuals or companies. Each specially shaped card has notches that allow it to snap on and off of the rolling spindle.


Typewriter


The earliest commercially produced typewriter, the Hansen Writing Ball, became available in 1870. It subsequently appeared at exhibitions in Copenhagen and Vienna, receiving a variety of awards throughout the decade.


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Photo Courtesy: [Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images News/Getty Images]


For most of the 20th century, typewriters were an indispensable tool in offices around the world. The growing availability of personal computers in the 1980s led to the eventual retirement of typewriters from most workplaces, with IBM selling its entire typewriter division to Lexmark in 1991.


Telex Machine


Telex machines allowed users to send two-way text messages through a network of teleprinters comparable to a telephone network. After World War II, it became a popular way for businesses to communicate with each other.


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Photo Courtesy: [Yves Tessier/Wikimedia Commons]


Telex machines remained in use for several decades until the 1980s, when they declined rapidly due to the rise of fax machines. Both stylistically and technologically, telex was a predecessor of modern communication methods like email and text messaging.


Floppy Disk


Developed by IBM in the 1960s, the first floppy disks hit the market in 1971 and had a diameter of 8 inches. Shugart Associates introduced the 5¼-inch format five years later. It quickly gained traction, with ten different companies producing them by 1978.


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Photo Courtesy: [George Chernilevsky/Wikimedia Commons]


During the 1980s, several smaller versions emerged to solve the limitations of the 5¼-inch floppy disk. The 3½-inch floppy disk was one of these, and by the end of the decade, it was outselling the 5¼-inch format. Floppy disks would remain a popular form of disk storage until the early 2000s.


Quill


Primarily made from swan, goose, and even turkey feathers, quills were once the most popular writing instrument in the Western world. They gained wide acceptance in the Middle Ages due to their compatibility with materials like parchment and vellum, both made from prepared animal skin.


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Photo Courtesy: [CaptJayRuffins/Wikimedia Commons]


Despite their popularity in the West, reed pens remained the primary writing instrument in the Middle East. The invention of the metal pen signaled the beginning of the end for quills, with mass production taking place in the United Kingdom by the 1820s.


Fax Machine


A fax machine scans the printed material on a document, including text and images, and transmits it telephonically. Once the fax is received, a reconstruction of the document prints from the receiving machine.


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Photo Courtesy: [Tumi-1983/Wikimedia Commons]


The Xerox Corporation released the earliest version of the modern fax machine for commercial use in 1964. Fax machines were becoming increasingly common in offices by the 1970s, eventually being superseded in the 21st century by newer technologies like email and the World Wide Web.


Cassette Tape


The Compact Cassette, commonly known as the cassette tape, hit the market in 1963. Dutch engineer Lou Ottens and his team developed the cassette for Philips in Hasselt, Belgium. The audio quality of early cassette tapes was relatively poor but noticeably improved over time.


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Photo Courtesy: [Andrey Korzun/Wikimedia Commons]


Cassette tapes became a popular alternative to vinyl records because of their compact size and recordability. Even after the introduction of compact discs, cassettes remained one of the main formats for recorded music until the 2000s.


Betamax


Betamax was a videotape format released in the United States in November 1975, following its debut in Japan six months earlier. Produced by Sony, it competed with the VHS format for market dominance from the late 1970s through the 1980s.


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Photo Courtesy: [Jason Curtis/Wikimedia Commons]


Despite the higher resolution, better sound, and more stable image of Betamax, consumers ultimately preferred VHS due to its lower cost and longer recording time. However, Betamax remained on the market until Sony finally ended production in March 2016.


Disposable Camera


Disposable cameras were designed for one-time use, providing a cheap alternative to traditional and digital cameras. Photo-Pac produced the first disposable camera, made from cardboard, in 1949. These cameras only shot eight exposures and had to be mailed in for processing.


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Photo Courtesy: [Xauxa/Wikimedia Commons]


One of the best-known disposable cameras, the Fujifilm QuickSnap, made its debut in 1986. In the 1990s, disposable cameras became popular wedding favors, allowing guests to capture the event from their perspective. Now that every smartphone and tablet has a camera, the need for disposable ones has virtually disappeared.


Telephone Booth


The first telephone booth opened in Potsdamer Platz, a large public square in the center of Berlin, in 1881. In the early 20th century, these public structures began appearing in cities all over the world.


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Photo Courtesy: [Marko Pekić/Wikimedia Commons]


One of the most iconic telephone booths was the red telephone box. Designed by British architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, they appeared primarily in the United Kingdom, with variations in Australia and New Zealand. Telephone booths began to decline in the 1970s, with unenclosed payphones mostly replacing them due to their greater accessibility.


Pager


Also known as a beeper or pocket bell, a pager was a wireless telecommunications device that emerged in the 1950s. One-way pagers were only capable of receiving messages. On the other hand, two-way pagers could also send messages using an internal transmitter.


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Photo Courtesy: [Thiemo Schuff/Wikimedia Commons]


Pagers gained widespread acceptance in the 1980s and 1990s, with frequent references to the technology in popular culture. For example, Captain Kirk's communicator is mistaken for a pager in the 1986 film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, while Sir Mix-A-Lot raps about them in his song "Beepers", featured on his 1989 album Seminar. The more advanced cellphones and smartphones of the 2000s led to pagers losing their status as a dominant technology.


VHS


VHS, which stands for Video Home System, emerged as the dominant home video format in the 1980s, beating out other technologies like Betamax and LaserDisc. Introduced in 1976, it had control over 60 percent of the North American market just four years later.


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Photo Courtesy: [Evan-Amos/Wikimedia Commons]


VHS finally began to lose its hold on the home video industry in the late 1990s following the release of the DVD format. Though DVD ultimately surpassed VHS as the preferred format in the 2000s, production of VHS equipment continued until Japanese electronics company Funai ended it in 2016.


Magic Lantern


The predecessor of the modern projector, the magic lantern, created enlarged versions of prints, paintings, and photographs using a light source and one or more lenses. The images appeared on transparent plates, typically made of glass, and were sometimes painted by hand.


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Photo Courtesy: [Andrei Niemimäki/Wikimedia Commons]


Christiaan Huygens, a Dutch scientist, invented the magic lantern in the 1600s. Initially used for entertainment, the technology received extensive use from the 1700s until the mid-1900s, when slide projectors hit the market.


8-Track Tape


Developed by Bill Lear, the founder of the Lear Jet Corporation, the 8-track tape debuted as the Stereo 8 Cartridge in 1964. Lear invented the cartridge to serve as a convenient music source for his company's new business jets.


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Photo Courtesy: [Classic Rock Magazine/Future/Getty Images]


8-track tapes steadily grew in popularity due to their sound quality, with home players hitting the market in 1966. Sales peaked in 1978 but rapidly declined in subsequent years as consumer preference shifted to cassette tapes.


Overhead Projector


For years, the overhead projector was an integral part of classrooms and conference rooms. Like a slide projector, it would utilize light to display an enlarged image on a screen, whiteboard, or other surfaces.


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Photo Courtesy: [mailer_diablo/Wikimedia Commons]


The gradual decline of overhead projectors began in the early 21st century as more advanced technologies emerged. Examples of these newer alternatives include video projectors, document cameras, and interactive whiteboards.


Sony Walkman TPS-L2


Sony introduced the Walkman TPS-L2, the first of its Walkman line of portable cassette players and the world's earliest low-cost personal stereo, in 1979. Initially sold in Japan for ¥33,000 per unit, it sold over 30,000 in just two months, far exceeding Sony's expectations.


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Photo Courtesy: [Binarysequence/Wikimedia Commons]


The Walkman reached the United States in 1980. Within a decade of its debut, worldwide sales had exceeded 100 million units. As cassette tapes decreased in popularity, the Walkman lost its market dominance to portable CD players and eventually digital audio players like the iPod.


Carousel Slide Projector


Slide projectors directly developed from the magic lantern and became a popular form of home entertainment in the 1950s. It was common for people to invite relatives and friends to their houses to watch slideshows of images from vacations and various other events. One of the most iconic slide projectors was the carousel slide projector, named for the carousel-like mechanism used to display slides.


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Photo Courtesy: [Steve Morgan/Wikimedia Commons]


Kodak released the first carousel slide projector, the Model 550, in 1961. Initially targeted at consumers, professionally-oriented models became available later in the decade. Kodak made carousel slide projectors until it discontinued the four models still in production in 2004.


Sony Discman


After releasing the Walkman portable cassette player in 1979, Sony launched its Discman line of portable CD players in 1984 with the Sony D-50. Its design drew inspiration from the first commercial CD player, the CDP-101, released by Sony in 1982.


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Photo Courtesy: [Binarysequence/Wikimedia Commons]


At the time the D-50 was released, CDs had only been in mass production for two years. The first Discman helped further public interest in the new format and caused other manufacturers of CD players to lower their prices. Sony would continue to sell portable CD players under the Discman name until 1997.


Dot-Matrix Printer


Dot-matrix printers were in use for many years before the introduction of laser and inkjet printers. These printers utilize vertical columns of wires or pins, which press a ribbon coated with ink against a sheet of paper.


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Photo Courtesy: [Nakamura2828/Wikimedia Commons]


The pressure causes each wire or pin to create a small dot on the paper, ultimately forming an image. One of the first dot-matrix printers to gain popularity in the consumer market was the Epson TX-80, released in 1978.


Cathode-Ray Tube


A cathode-ray tube is a vacuum tube containing electrical components called electron guns. The electron guns project beams that display images, such as broadcasts, onto a screen. The CRTs in televisions are commonly known as picture tubes.


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Photo Courtesy: [Science & Society Picture Library/SSPL/Getty Images]


Telefunken, a company based in Germany, began manufacturing the earliest televisions using cathode-ray tubes in 1934. Four years later, Telefunken released the first rectangular CRTs, which gradually superseded circular CRTs between the late 1940s and the early 1960s. CRTs declined in the 2010s as flat-panel display technologies like liquid crystal displays and plasma display panels emerged.


Rotary Telephone


Almon Brown Strowger filed his patent for a rotary dial in 1891, which was awarded to him the following year. Early rotary telephones had metal dials, which were heavier and typically wore out easier. The 1950s saw the introduction of dials with plastic materials.


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Photo Courtesy: [Harold M. Lambert/Archive Photos/Getty Images]


Because of the design of the rotary telephone, 212 was the fastest code to dial while 909 was the slowest. The first public demonstration of push-button telephones occurred at the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle, Washington. By the 1970s, these models had begun to outpace rotary telephones, eventually supplanting them altogether.


MiniDisc


Conceived as a potential replacement for the cassette tape, Sony's MiniDisc hit the market in September 1992. Despite enjoying modest success in Japan and the United Kingdom, MiniDisc failed to achieve comparable sales in North America.


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Photo Courtesy: [John B. Carnett/Popular Science/Getty Images]


However, MiniDisc would face the most competition from MP3 players, which emerged in the late 1990s and early 2000s. As the Rio PMP300 and the iPod began to take off, consumers grew to prefer digital audio players over physical media formats like the MiniDisc. After more than two decades on the market, Sony finally discontinued shipment of all MiniDisc players in 2013.


Mechanical Calculator


Wilhelm Schickard, a German professor, began working on a mechanical calculator around 1623, though his work would remain unknown to the general public until the 20th century. Blaise Pascal designed his arithmetic machine in 1642, and until the discovery of Shickard's work, he was considered the inventor of the mechanical calculator.


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Photo Courtesy: [Ezrdr/Wikimedia Commons]


The first commercially successful model, invented by Thomas de Colmar, became available in 1851 and helped launch the mechanical calculator industry. Sales of mechanical calculators continued into the 1970s before electrical calculators and computers rendered them obsolete.


Boombox


A boombox is a portable music player that arrived in the United States in the late 1970s, gaining considerable popularity in the following decade. Each boombox featured an AM/FM radio, one or two cassette tape players, and often a CD player. A carrying handle was also a regular feature on boomboxes, making them easy to transport.


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Photo Courtesy: [Puding Jahodový/Wikimedia Commons]


Throughout the 1980s, boomboxes became an integral part of American hip-hop culture. Due to the increasing availability of smaller players like the Walkman, the popularity of boomboxes waned in the 1990s.


Videocassette Recorder


Commonly known as a VCR, a videocassette recorder can record content onto a videotape and play it back. The majority of VCRs have programmable timers, allowing consumers to set up a recording in advance. The UK Nottingham Electronic Valve Company produced the first home video recorder, the Telcan, in 1963.


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Photo Courtesy: [Digitalsignal/Wikimedia Commons]


By the mid-1970s, VCR technology was beginning to gain considerable traction in the consumer market. Units featuring both VCR units and DVD players hit the market around 1999, extending the lifespan of VCR technology until production finally ceased in 2016.


HD DVD


Developed by Toshiba as a high-definition replacement for the DVD format, HD DVD hit the market on March 31, 2006. Similar to the competition between VHS and Betamax, HD DVD ended up in a format war with Blu-ray.


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Photo Courtesy: [The Washington Post/The Washington Post/Getty Images]


Amidst declining sales and consumer indifference, companies like Warner Bros., Netflix, and Walmart stopped supporting the HD DVD format in favor of Blu-ray. On March 28, 2008, after less than two years on the market, HD DVD was discontinued.


Telegraph


The earliest telegraph system was the optical telegraph, invented in the late 1700s. After the emergence of the electrical telegraph in the 1840s, telegraphy became a regularly used means of long-distance communication.


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Photo Courtesy: [Francis Dean/Corbis News/Getty Images]


The telegraph utilizes symbolic codes to send messages, with the Morse system becoming the international standard in 1865. Though lower prices made it more accessible to consumers, the telegraph struggled to compete against the telephone. As the 20th century drew to a close, the internet rendered the telegraph virtually obsolete.


Polaroid Instant Camera


The Polaroid Corporation released the first commercially available instant camera, the Land Camera, in 1948. The camera takes its name from Edwin H. Land, the co-founder of Polaroid, who had unveiled instant film in New York City the year before. Unlike earlier cameras, the Polaroid instant camera allowed people to snap photos and view them just moments later.


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Photo Courtesy: [Jacek Halicki/Wikimedia Commons]


Over the years, Polaroid released various instant cameras, including the Land Camera 1000, which was the top-selling camera during the 1977 Christmas shopping season. Digital cameras and smartphones ultimately eliminated the need for instant cameras, with Polaroid declaring bankruptcy in 2001 and again in 2008.


Tape Drive


One of the earliest data storage devices, the tape drive, allowed for the reading and writing of data on magnetic tape. The first tape drives, introduced for mainframe computers in the early 1950s, could only store less than one megabyte of data.


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Tape drives released in later decades varied in storage and physical size, with the first tape drives using cassette tapes becoming available in 1975. Today, the majority of organizations rely on cloud storage and other newer technologies for data storage.


Cassette Deck


A cassette deck is a tape machine that records and plays cassette tapes, despite not having a power amplifier or built-in speakers. As a result, it serves mainly as a component of a home entertainment system or an in-car entertainment system.


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Photo Courtesy: [Norbert Schnitzler/Wikimedia Commons]


In the 1980s, cassette decks reached their peak with features and performance, as sound fidelity became far better than what anyone had expected from the technology. As newer formats like the CD and MiniDisc began to replace cassette tapes in the 1990s, the demand for cassette decks gradually diminished.


Transistor Radio


The transistor, a small, powerful semiconductor that works well for handheld devices, radically changed the electronics industry upon its introduction in 1947. The first commercially released transistor radio, the Regency TR-1, debuted just seven years later.


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Photo Courtesy: [Jorge Barrios/Wikimedia Commons]


In 1957, the Sony TR-63, which was smaller and more affordable, hit the market. Its popularity helped the transistor radio become one of the most successful electronic devices of the next two decades. The 1980s saw the decline of the transistor radio amidst the rise of newer technologies like the Sony Walkman and boombox.


Phonograph


The phonograph, commonly known as a record player, originally had a large, flaring horn, though some models came with stethoscope-type earphones for more direct listening. Thomas Edison, known primarily for his work on the light bulb, invented the phonograph in 1907.


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Photo Courtesy: [Norman Bruderhofer/Wikimedia Commons]


The phonograph remained one of the most widely used audio players of the 20th century, even after the introduction of cassettes. However, the emergence of CDs and digital formats caused it to lose its dominance in the market.


Sony Watchman


Sony kicked off its line of Watchman portable televisions with the FD-210, introduced in Japan in 1982. Initially priced at 54,800 yen, it featured a black and white display and weighed around 650 grams.


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Photo Courtesy: [Austin Calhoon/Wikimedia Commons]


The Sony Watchman reached Europe and North America in 1984, appearing prominently in the 1988 film Rain Man. Before its discontinuation in 2000, Sony released more than 65 models of the Watchman.


Reel-To-Reel Tape Recorder


As its name implies, a reel-to-reel tape recorder is a magnetic tape recorder that uses spools of tape on reels. One of the earliest was the Magnetophon, introduced by Berlin-based electronics company AEG in 1935.


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Photo Courtesy: [Serge Zykov/Wikimedia Commons]


The reel-to-reel tape recorder ultimately served as the predecessor of the RCA tape cartridge and the Compact Cassette. Despite the rise of these newer technologies, companies like Denon, Studer, and Stellavox continued to produce reel-to-reel tape recorders into the 1990s.


Fountain Pen


Unlike the dip pens that preceded it, the fountain pen has an internal reservoir that contains ink, removing the need to dip the pen into an inkwell. A dropper or syringe can refill these internal reservoirs, though some fountain pens have removable ink cartridges.


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Photo Courtesy: [Petar Milošević/Wikimedia Commons]


The first patents for fountain pens emerged in the 1800s, though early prototypes existed long before that. They began to lose their market dominance in the 1960s, as ballpoint pens became more affordable for consumers. However, some manufacturers continue to produce fountain pens as collectible items.


RCA Tape Cartridge


The RCA tape cartridge was a magnetic tape cartridge designed to offer the sound quality of reel-to-reel tape recorders in a convenient format. RCA released this product in 1958, following four years of development.


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The RCA tape cartridge was a larger size than the more popular Compact Cassette. Cartridges proved to be expensive for consumers, and RCA took considerable time in releasing machines for the home market. After just six years, RCA discontinued the brand in 1964.


LaserDisc


Introduced as DiscoVision in 1978, LaserDisc was the very first commercially released optical disc storage format. Aside from being expensive, LaserDiscs were noticeably heavy, weighing about 8.8 ounces, and more susceptible to damage than videotapes. LaserDisc players were also costly and could not record television programs.


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Photo Courtesy: [picture alliance/picture alliance/Getty Images]


Despite offering higher-quality audio and video than VHS and Betamax, LaserDisc failed to gain traction in North America, Europe, and Australia. It proved to be more successful in Japan and Southeast Asia, particularly Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.


Hourglass


The hourglass dates back to the 8th century AD, though its predecessor, the water clock, existed in Egypt and Babylon as early as the 16th century BC. In one hour, gravity pulls all of the sand in an hourglass from the top half to the bottom half.


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Photo Courtesy: [Harold M. Lambert/Archive Photos/Getty Images]


For centuries, people relied on the hourglass as a dependable and accurate means of measuring time. Though clocks have mostly replaced hourglasses, they still receive minor usage. For example, the Parliament of Australia keeps three hourglasses for timing some of its procedures.


Monochrome Monitor


Unlike a color monitor, a monochrome monitor displayed images and text in tones of just one color. Monochrome monitors with green phosphor screens, such as the IBM computer pictured here, were commonly known as green screens.


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Photo Courtesy: [Boffy b/Wikimedia Commons]


Aside from personal computers, computerized point of sale systems also extensively utilized monochrome monitors. The popularity of monochrome monitors started to wane in the 1980s as color monitors became increasingly available.


iPod Classic


First released in 2001 as the iPod, this iconic piece of Apple technology became known as the iPod Classic from 2007 onwards. The original model, priced at $399, had a monochrome LCD screen and a 5 GB hard drive with enough storage for 1,000 songs.


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Photo Courtesy: [Bloomberg/Bloomberg/Getty Images]


The final model of the iPod Classic had a maximum storage capacity of 160 GB, more than thirty times what the original had. Though Apple discontinued the iPod Classic in 2014, the newer and more advanced iPod Touch continues to be available.


Motorola DynaTAC


Motorola released the first commercially available mobile phone, the DynaTAC, in 1984. While requiring approximately 10 hours to charge, the DynaTAC only offered 30 minutes of talk time and was priced at $3,995, equal to around $9,952 in 2020.


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Photo Courtesy: [Bloomberg/Bloomberg/Getty Images]


Before the release of the DynaTAC, the only portable phones were installed in cars or contained in heavy briefcases. As Motorola produced smaller mobile phones, including the MicroTAC in 1989 and the StarTAC in 1996, the DynaTAC gradually became obsolete.


Slide Rule


The slide rule, developed in the 17th century, consists of adjustable scales used for mathematical calculations, mainly multiplication and division. For decades, the slide rule was one of the tools used most by scientists and engineers.


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Photo Courtesy: [Heritage Images/Hulton Archive/Getty Images]


Due to its affordability and simplicity, the slide rule remained popular after the emergence of computers in the mid-20th century. However, the introduction of electronic calculators in the 1970s sparked the decline and gradual obsolescence of the slide rule.


Vinyl Record


The vinyl record, one of the most popular audio formats of the 20th century, was invented around the late 1880s. Originally made from shellac, polyvinyl chloride became a widely used material in the 1940s, giving records the nickname of vinyl.


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Photo Courtesy: [Grendelkhan/Wikimedia Commons]


In the 1980s and 1990s, newer formats like cassette tapes and CDs began to replace vinyl records in the consumer market. While they still enjoy popularity with collectors, vinyl records have lost their status as the dominant audio format.


Zip Drive


The zip drive, manufactured by Iomega and launched in late 1994, was intended to replace the 3½-inch floppy disk. This removable floppy disk storage system came in three sizes: 100 MB, 250 MB, and 750 MB.


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Photo Courtesy: [MK Products/Wikimedia Commons]


Despite its relative popularity in the 1990s, the zip drive declined in the 2000s as smaller formats like USB flash drives and CD-RW gained traction. The technology also suffered from several known problems, resulting in a class-action suit filed against Iomega in 1998, which accused the company of violating the Delaware Consumer Fraud Act.
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