Technology grows fast, so fast that the phone in your pocket is millions of times more powerful than all of NASA's combined computing in 1969 that helped put two astronauts on the moon.
As we continue to make breakthroughs, more gadgets become relics of the past. In this article, we list ten older gadgets that you no longer need. Let's see what replaced them and why.
Typewriters are antique keyboards that directly print on paper. Before typewriters, all official documents and letters were written by hand or printed on a printing press, which was quite expensive. Typewriters were invented as an affordable alternative by Christopher Latham Sholes in 1868.
The first typewriters had mechanical keys attached to lever-like metal surfaces with raised letters and characters. When you press a key, an inked ribbon is sandwiched between the paper and the metal surfaces to print on paper.
It was a revolutionary invention as it changed the way businesses functioned and people shared information. By the mid-1800s, they became indispensable in offices. They reigned for almost 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.
Before mobile phones took over, communication via payphones was the norm. Users could make a call through these public landlines and pay via coins, debit cards, or credit cards. Often payphones were set up inside booths (kiosks) to give privacy for the user, which modern phones had to trade for mobility.MAKEUSEOF VIDEO OF THE DAY
The first pay phone was installed in 1881, and by the 1900s, they were commonly seen in busy streets, train stations, and other public places. But they started to decline as the telecom giants AT&T and Verizon sold off their payphones in the mid-2000s.
3. Photographic Films
Now is the era of instant photography, where clicking a picture and sharing it doesn't take more than a few seconds. Before this, people used still cameras that used photographic films; the latter was invented in 1885.
Before this, photography was only accessible to the rich, but the invention of films commercialized photography. These light-sensitive photographic films were briefly exposed to light to capture images of objects and then chemically developed to produce visible images.
It was a time-consuming and expensive process, which led to the introduction of digital cameras in the 1990s. And by the end of the 20th century, photographic films and film cameras were obsolete.
4. Answering Machines
An answering machine does the same job as the voice mail system on your phone. The only difference is that an answering machine stores caller messages locally on storage mediums like cassettes, while a voice mail system stores them in 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 anywhere.
5. Pagers (Beepers)
Before mobile phones were invented, people just had landlines, and there was no way to send an emergency message to someone. Solving this problem, Alfred J. Gross invented pagers in 1949 to 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 telephone number or a short text) to your pager via telephone. And when you receive the message, your pager displays it on the LCD screen.
While one-way pagers could simply receive messages, two-way pagers and response pagers could also send them. As mobile phones became popular, pagers started to phase out. However, they are still used for emergency services (although rarely) like healthcare and fire safety.
6. Cassette Tape
Although people, especially audiophiles, love vinyl records, they are chunky and delicate to carry around. To solve this issue, Phillips invented compact cassette tapes in 1962. They were initially used for audio recording and playback. But later on, as the VHS standard came about, cassettes started supporting videos as well.
Cassettes were a hit in the music industry and changed how people listened to music. With cassettes, people could just take their music wherever they wanted. They stayed relevant all through the 70s and 80s, but in 1991 CDs replaced cassettes.
7. Floppy Disks
Today we use cloud storage platforms or external storage devices to transfer files between two computers, but back in the day, floppy disks performed that role. With IBM's invention of floppy disks in 1971, sharing programs and loading operating systems became easier.
Since the 1980s, they became the go-to storage solutions replacing punch cards—a piece of paper with punched holes to represent digital data. But by the 1990s, CDs replaced floppies because of storage limitations.
To put this in perspective, the storage capacity of floppy disks is 1.44 MB, and that of a standard CD is 700 MB. If you've still got a stack of old floppy disks sitting around, why not put them to good use?
8. Portable Music Players
We now have the convenience of carrying 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 cars. But the invention of portable music players changed that.
The first-ever truly portable music player, Walkman, was released by Sony in 1979. Replacing Boombox, the Walkman completely changed how people listened to music. Aside 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 in private through your headphones.
The Walkman used cassette tapes to play music, but soon after, companies introduced portable CD players and MP3 players as well. Among them, Apple's iPod was the one that stood out as it had a sleek design, more storage, and clever marketing. But as smartphones became mainstream, portable music players were slowly left behind.
CDs (Compact Discs) were one of the most popular storage mediums 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 store just 10MB of data, but they later maxed out at a capacity of 700MB.
CDs gained quick popularity in the music industry since they had more storage capacity than the alternatives—making them ideal for storing high-fidelity music. However, ever since music streaming platforms started taking over near the late 2000s, CDs became increasingly less desirable.
10. DVD Players
Today if you want to watch a movie, you just download or stream it on the internet, but that wasn't the case in the 90s. People rented DVDs of movies and watched them on their TVs. A DVD player is a device that reads these DVDs and plays the videos on a TV, connected via cables.
Succeeding VHS players, the first-ever 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 affordable price of DVD players, they were quickly adopted. However, by the end of the 2000s, they were replaced by movie streaming services.
Tech Grows Exponentially
From barely being able to send messages via telegraph to interacting virtually, we have come a long way in the past two centuries. With every new generation of tech, society changed accordingly and tech gadgets became obsolete more and more quickly. And this trend will only continue to accelerate in the future.5 Ways Flagship Phones Are Becoming WorseRead NextShareTweetShareEmailRelated TopicsAbout The AuthorAyush Jalan(166 Articles Published)
Ayush is a tech-enthusiast and has an academic background in marketing. He enjoys learning about the latest technologies that extend human potential and challenge the status quo. Besides his work life, he loves writing poetry, songs, and indulging in creative philosophies.More From Ayush Jalan
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