Technology moves so fast nowadays. The hot new app, operating system, or web software is quickly replaced with the latest and greatest in the blink of an eye. It didn’t used to be that way, as tech products of yesteryear managed to last a long time before they were called to sit on the bench permanently.
From tape decks to typewriters, these items were on the cutting edge when they were first released. I even remember when DVDs were a completely novel concept, if you can believe it. (Of course we still own some VHS tapes – I can’t part with City Slickers on VHS!)
Here’s a look at 9 old-school technologies that weathered the storm — and were huge developments in tech at the time they were created!— before finally being called to retire. So sad!
9 Old-School Technologies that [Almost] Lasted 1 of 10
A look at old-school technology that was supposed to live forever — but now is a thing of the past!
Polaroid Camera 2 of 10
Amateur photographers back in the '50s and '60s would've scoffed if you told them that a camera capable of snapping, developing, and printing instant pictures would die a slow death over fifty years later.
I'm sure the old-school folks shake their heads and their fists when they see us taking an enormous amount of pictures on our smartphones, only to store them on a hard drive somewhere and never print them out as keepsakes.
Typewriter 3 of 10
I'm pretty sure a rich and nostalgic author probably has one, two, or a collection of typewriters laying around, but most of us have moved on to a keyboard connected to a computer for doing things like never finishing that book (or eBook) we've always wanted to write.
Betamax 4 of 10
Oh, Sony and its proprietary media formats. The Betamax put up a good fight back in the '70s, but soon lost out to the video home system (VHS) format as the go-to for recording and viewing movies in a video cassette recorder (VCR). Methinks Sony will eventually get some good karma in the video format wars in years to come.
Photo credit: By Beta_Max_Tape.jpg:Stevo81989 at en.wikipediaderivative work: Ubcule (Beta_Max_Tape.jpg) [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
VHS and VCR 5 of 10
Maybe the Betamax has an ever-so-slight smile on its face from the grave, due to the fact that the VHS tapes and VCR player devices that replaced it, were eventually replaced themselves — by the Digital Video Disc (DVD) sometime in the early 21st century! If you ask me, the Grim Reaper has a Google Calendar appointment set for DVD.
Cassette Players 6 of 10
I'm pretty sure the original B-Boys poured some out 'for the homies' when "Ghetto Blasters" were eventually replaced with CD players. CD boom boxes were also popular, but it just wasn't the same as flipping that cassette tape over to listen to songs on the "B-Side."
Floppy Disks 7 of 10
Before the cloud, before external hard drives, before CDs, there were floppy disks. If you took the time to attach the little sticker to label them with their contents, floppy discs were what we used to save all our files on outside of the computer.
Raise your hand if you find one of these (unlabled) laying around every time you clean the attic, basement, or garage ... me neither.
Photo credit: By George Chernilevsky (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Car phones 8 of 10
Even though they were relatively short-lived, a car phone built into your high-end vehicle was indeed the status symbol. I'm assuming access to cell phones in the 1980s killed car phones, but it's obvious that this old-school technology was before its time — now that car manufacturers today are scrambling to figure out how to safely integrate your smartphone with the car's communication/entertainment systems!
Beepers 9 of 10
Outside of a few hospitals still issuing out beepers to doctors, my guess is that cell phones killed beepers as well. Looks as if cell phones killed a ton of old-school tech. Sad, because one of my most memorable experiences as a teenager was getting a beeper ... and keeping the $12/month service active.
HD DVD 10 of 10
After several failed attempts by Sony to get its storage formats accepted by mainstream (Betamax and MiniDisc Memory Sticks, to name a few), Sony finally nailed it with the speedy and high-capacity Blu-ray Disc. Unfortunately, somebody had to lose the high-def storage format wars of the mid 2000s, and that casualty was HD DVD.
The name (High-Definition DVD) made sense, but when Toshiba stopped making HD DVD discs and players back in 2008, Sony and its Blu-ray format was eventually crowned king.
Image credit: By Toshiba,Toshiba [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
What were your favorite old-school gadgets that put up a good fight?