Technology is developing rapidly, so rapidly that the phone in your pocket is millions of times more powerful than all of NASA’s calculations combined in 1969 that helped put two astronauts on the moon.
As we continue to make breakthroughs, more and more gadgets are becoming relics of the past. In this article, we list ten old gadgets that you no longer need. Let’s see what replaced them and why.
Typewriters are old keyboards that print directly on paper. Before typewriters, all official documents and letters were handwritten or printed on a printing press, which was quite expensive. Typewriters were invented as an affordable alternative by Christopher Latham Sholes in 1868.
Early typewriters had mechanical keys attached to lever-like metal surfaces with raised letters and characters. When you press a key, an ink ribbon is sandwiched between paper and metal surfaces to print on paper.
It was a revolutionary invention because it changed the way businesses operated and people shared information. By the mid-1800s, they became indispensable in offices. They ruled for nearly a century and were eventually replaced by computers. But even today, many people love the tactile feel of typewriters, especially poets and novelists, so they’re not completely dead yet.
2. Public telephones
Before cell phones took over, communication via payphones was the norm. Users can make a call through these public landlines and pay with coins, debit cards or credit cards. Often, public telephones were installed inside booths (kiosks) to give the user privacy, which modern telephones had to trade for mobility.
The first payphone was installed in 1881, and by the 1900s they were commonly seen on busy streets, train stations, and other public places. But they began to decline when telecommunications giants AT&T and Verizon sold their payphones in the mid-2000s.
3. Photographic films
Now is the era of instant photography, where clicking an image and sharing it takes no more than a few seconds. Before that, people used cameras that used photographic film; the latter was invented in 1885.
Prior to this, photography was only accessible to the wealthy, but the invention of motion pictures commercialized photography. These light-sensitive photographic films were briefly exposed to light to capture images of objects, then chemically developed to produce visible images.
It was a long and expensive process, which led to the introduction of digital cameras in the 1990s. And by the end of the 20th century, photographic film and film cameras were obsolete.
An answering machine does the same job as your phone’s voicemail system. The only difference is that an answering machine stores caller’s messages locally on storage media such as tapes, while a voicemail system stores them on a centralized computer server.
The first answering machine was invented in the 1930s but only gained popularity in the 1980s. And by the early 2000s, voicemail had replaced answering machines, as it allowed users to access recorded messages n anywhere.
Before the invention of cell phones, people only had landlines and there was no way to send an emergency message to someone. Solving this problem, Alfred J. Gross invented pagers in 1949 for use in hospitals. These were radio communication devices with unique numbers similar to telephones.
So here’s how a pager works: Anyone who knows your pager number can send a message (a phone number or a short text) to your pager over the phone. And when you receive the message, your pager displays it on the LCD screen.
While one-way pagers could just receive messages, two-way pagers and answer pagers could also send them. As mobile phones became popular, pagers began to disappear. However, they are still used for emergency services (although rarely) such as health care and fire safety.
Although people, especially audiophiles, love vinyl records, they are bulky and tricky to carry around. To solve this problem, Phillips invented compact cassettes in 1962. They were initially used for audio recording and playback. But later, when the VHS standard appeared, cassettes began to support videos as well.
Cassettes were a hit in the music industry and changed the way people listened to music. With cassettes, people could just take their music wherever they wanted. They remained relevant throughout the 70s and 80s, but in 1991 CDs replaced cassette tapes.
7. Floppy disks
Today, we use cloud storage platforms or external storage devices to transfer files between two computers, but back then, floppy disks fulfilled this role. With the invention of floppy disks by IBM in 1971, sharing programs and loading operating systems became easier.
Since the 1980s, they have become the go-to storage solutions replacing punched cards, a piece of paper with punched holes to represent digital data. But in the 1990s, CDs replaced floppy disks due to storage limitations.
To put that into perspective, the storage capacity of floppy disks is 1.44MB, and that of a standard CD is 700MB. If you still have a stack of old floppy disks, why not put them to good use?
8. Portable Music Players
We now have the ability to carry millions of songs in our pockets, but before the 1970s, people didn’t have that option. They could only listen to music at home or in their car. But the invention of portable music players changed that.
The very first truly portable music player, Walkman, was released by Sony in 1979. Replacing Boombox, the Walkman completely changed the way people listened to music. Apart from being portable, it also made listening a more personal experience as the device included a headphone jack, which meant you could listen to your music privately through your headphones.
The Walkman used cassette tapes to play music, but soon after companies also introduced portable CD players and MP3 players. Among them, Apple’s iPod was the one that stood out for its sleek design, more storage, and smart marketing. But as smartphones have become mainstream, portable music players have slowly been left behind.
CDs (Compact Discs) were one of the most popular storage media of their time. A successor to cassette tapes, CDs were developed by Philips and Sony in 1982 for Hi-Fi digital audio reproduction. Older CDs could only store 10MB of data, but later reached a maximum capacity of 700MB.
CDs quickly gained popularity in the music industry because they had more storage capacity than the alternatives, making them ideal for storing high fidelity music. However, since music streaming platforms started to take over in the late 2000s, CDs have become less and less desirable.
10. DVD Players
Today, if you want to watch a movie, you just have to download it or stream it on the Internet, but that was not the case in the 90s. People rented DVDs of movies and watched them on their TV . A DVD player is a device that plays these DVDs and plays the videos on a TV, connected via cables.
Succeeding VHS players, the very first DVD player was invented in 1996 by Toshiba, and since then they have become a major part of home entertainment. Due to the low cost of DVD rentals and the affordable price of DVD players, they were quickly adopted. However, in the late 2000s, they were replaced by movie streaming services.
Technology is growing exponentially
From barely being able to send messages by telegraph to interacting virtually, we have come a long way in the past two centuries. With each new generation of technology, society has changed accordingly and tech gadgets have become obsolete faster and faster. And this trend will only accelerate in the future.
Flagship phones don’t always change for the better. Here are five popular features you can’t get in the best new phones anymore.
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