33 obsolete technologies that will baffle modern generations

33 obsolete technologies that will baffle modern generations

33 obsolete technologies that will baffle modern generations

Advancements in expertise come in leaps and bounds, that means it would not take lengthy for brand new devices to turn into obsolete shortly after they attain their goal market. A number of modern technologies, akin to mobile telephones and computers, supply the power to do most of the identical issues that these older devices had been able to, however in a smaller and extra portable varieties.

That is why we’re taking a nostalgic stroll down reminiscence lane, a number of the largest, finest and most memorable devices from the final century which were outdated, outmoded or simply compelled into irrelevance by higher, modern technologies.

You may keep in mind many of those, however there are many the youthful era that do not.

Public telephone booths

The enduring phone sales space; basically a monument to telephone’s historical past and now only a vacationer attraction or someplace to shelter from the chilly.

The general public phone sales space has now been rendered obsolete by the rise of the cell telephone. There’s not often going to be any want for a coin-operated telephone when you’ve gotten one in your pocket.

Rotary telephones and wired landlines

One other piece of expertise that nears obsoletion after being changed by a pc that we stock around in our pocket. The wired telephone dates again so far as 1844 and it has seen many iterations over time which have since handed.

One such variation was the rotary dial telephone which featured a dial organized in a around structure so the consumer needed to flip the dial for every digit off the phone quantity they had been attempting to name.

Besides maybe as a novelty, rotary telephones are lengthy since a factor of the previous. Wired landlines are following shut behind as modern smartphones are simply acquirable, way more Private and inexpensive.

Dumb telephones

In a world of smartphones, these quaint mobile telephones basically did nothing however name, send text messages and maybe, should you had been fortunate, permit you to play a cheeky recreation of Snake.

They’re now totally antiquated and roughly obsolete. The precursor to the trendy cellular, they had been extremely helpful of their time and had been fortunately operating for days with out cost, one thing which we sorely miss.

Pagers and beepers

Pagers had been initially designed and constructed within the 1950’s however they did not actually take maintain when it comes to recognition till the 1980’s. These one-way communication devices had been usually utilized by emergency providers, docs and security personnel who wanted to be reachable always, even when away from a landline telephone.

The rise of smartphones within the early 2000s noticed the decline in the usage of pagers and beepers however as a result of sturdiness, resilience and higher protection they continued to see use for a number of extra years and, for example, Canada was nonetheless paying as a lot as $18.5 million for its pager service in 2013.

Private digital assistant (PDA)

The forefather of the trendy cell telephone, the Private digital assistant supplied restricted entry to quite a lot of modern capabilities we have come to anticipate, together with web entry, phrase processing, touchscreen capability and extra. They shortly turned obsolete when smartphones began to achieve favour, however earlier than that point they had been a agency favorite with businessmen the world over.


LaserDisc was a kind of niche codecs of expertise that was primarily well-liked amongst videophiles and movie fans. Though it was the first format of optical video storage, out there from 1978, LaserDisc failed to achieve mainstream recognition as a result of expense of the players.

LaserDisc supplied higher-quality video than VHS and Betamax and the expertise behind it was the inspiration for compact disc, DVD and Blu-ray in later years. Despite by no means going mainstream, it wasn’t till 2001 that the final video titles had been launched on this format and a complete of 16.Eight million LaserDisc players had been bought worldwide.

Digital Versatile Disc (DVD)

DVD was the evolution of the digital video format developed by tech giants Panasonic, Philips, Sony and Toshiba. With a excessive storage capability, it turned a medium for laptop files, software and high-quality video. DVD had many advantages over that of earlier magnetic storage codecs, together with bigger cupboard space, but additionally sturdiness that meant that in idea, the discs may have a lifespan of as much as 100 years.

With quicker web speeds, video streaming expertise and different superior codecs akin to Blu-ray – even 4K Extremely HD Blu-ray – in the marketplace, DVD is probably going nearing the tip of its lifespan. In the meantime, different codecs of DVD such because the 1080p-capable, Blu-ray rival HD-DVD by no means actually even took off within the first place, very similar to the fabled LaserDisc.

Floppy disks

Floppy disks had been a kind of knowledge storage medium that initially appeared within the 1970s. the first was the 8-inch floppy disc, able to storing simply 80 kilobytes of knowledge. Because the floppy disks bought smaller, their storage capability grew and by the mid-1980s the three.5-inch floppy disk was in a position to retailer a decent 1.44 MB.

Floppy disks had been sadly susceptible to magnets and warmth, and simply corrupted. By the 1990s software size meant many disks had been required for many purposes (Adobe Photoshop required over a dozen disks to run) so CD-ROMs started to take over. The floppy disk now solely lives on as a save icon in most software purposes.

Fax machines

The common-or-garden fax machine was basically a contemporary model of the telegram. For a few years, it allowed folks and companies to transmit scanned paperwork from one phone quantity to a different. The recipient would have the enjoyment of a printed copy of the doc bursting forth from their machine. This was all achieved by a transmission of audio frequency tones that had been deciphered on the different finish.

Like most of the technologies on our listing, fax machines have largely been rendered obsolete by the invention of e-mail, the web and Advancements in computing technologies.

Compact cassette tape

Audio brother to VHS and Betamax cassette tapes was the compact cassette tape. Initially launched in 1968, compact cassettes used the identical magnetic tape expertise to send inexpensive audio to the lots. They had been used as both clean tapes that might be recorded onto (by way of dictatelephone or boombox for instance) or as pre-recorded cassettes of music albums. Cassettes is also used to retailer different knowledge and had been subsequently used as a storage medium for early home computers.

Cassette tapes gained recognition within the 80s however by the 90s had been outsold by compact discs which quickly turned the usual format. Nonetheless, cassette tapes continued to promote and it wasn’t till 2001 that they honestly started to die, at the least in pre-recorded codecs. Clean tapes had been nonetheless being bought proper up till 2012. Of their heydey, cassette tapes bought as many as 442 million within the US alone.

We’ve hazy recollections of preventing cassette players to rescue chewed up tapes and spending hours twizzling them again along with a pencil.

Video Home System (VHS)

Within the late 80s, VHS cassette tapes turned the favored customary for home video. Whether or not used for recording household movies or rented for the native video retailer to look at the newest blockbuster, these small reels of magnetic tape wrapped in plastic housing introduced pleasure throughout the lands. Except in fact, somebody forgot to rewind the tape you rented or a sibling recorded over your copy of Terminator 2.

The rise of DVD noticed to the gradual however regular demise of VHS and, by 2008, DVD changed VHS because the favoured video expertise each for recording and movie distribution.

Digital Audi Tapes (DAT)

The digital audio tape was the brainchild of Sony and supplied a digital recording capability however with the same design fashion to the compact cassette tape in a smaller format.

DAT was able to recording at the next quality than CD and in addition boasted the power to quantity tracks and skip proper to them very similar to a CD. Nevertheless, resulting from the price of this format it by no means actually caught on at shopper degree however was utilized in numerous skilled markets and as a pc knowledge storage medium.

With lacklustre sales of around 660,000 sales since 1987, Sony introduced it will cease manufacturing of DAT machines in 2005. The format was basically outdated by arduous disk drives and reminiscence playing cards however remains to be in use in some areas.

Overhead projectors

A classroom traditional, the overhead projector was a easy but fantastic system for projecting pictures, text and drawings onto an applicable screen. Clear sheets of acetate had been used instead of paper to allow presenters to transpose their presentation onto the screen in entrance of the category. Though seemingly nonetheless in use in some lecture rooms, these projectors have seemingly been rendered obsolete by modern projection expertise and computers.


Probably not a expertise as such, however actually one thing made obsolete by technological Advancements is the easy Phonebooks.

These chunky paper directories included residential and business listings for all of the phone numbers you can presumably want. Now rendered obsolete by the web, these Phonebooks are actually a relic of a bygone period. But we nonetheless sometimes see them posted by our entrance door.

Portable DVD players

With the rise of DVD and the ever falling value of the expertise behind it, because the effectively because the shrinking sizes of processors and Advancements in screen expertise, it was no shock that portable DVD players made their strategy to market.

Nevertheless, the dimensions of the discs and the standard of battery life meant that DVD players failed to achieve widespread recognition and initially their value was prohibitive. Now, with easy accessibility to streaming video by way of mobile telephones and tablets, the necessity for portable DVD players is nearly totally negated.

Portable dictation devices

Dictation devices, sometimes called “Dictatelephones” after the corporate identify that turned synonymous with them, got here in numerous codecs and used a number of different knowledge mediums that included each cassette tapes, Mini and Micro-cassettes. These devices had been basically used to report interviews, conversations and lectures for later observe taking or write ups.

Every turned obsolete as time handed by and the storage medium fell out of recognition. Digital dictation devices nonetheless exist, however even they’re verging on extinction as most mobile telephones are able to providing the identical capability with out the necessity for an additional standalone gadget.


The common-or-garden typewriter, the dumb precursor to the trendy laptop, was in its day a marvel of expertise. A step up from paper and pen, the typewriter opened up a world of potentialities for these seeking to craft novels, doc historical past or scribe propaganda.

The foundations for the typewriter had been laid down way back to 1575, but it surely’s not often utilized in a contemporary world of computers, laptops and tablets.

Slide projectors

A type of projector appeared within the 1950s and have become a preferred type of home Entertainment. These projectors had been used to placed on slide reveals of particular person frames of pictures, one body at a time. Typically, they had been used to indicate snaps of household holidays or particular events.

Slide projectors had been rendered irrelevant when video projectors turned extra inexpensive and accessible.

MiniDisc players

Maybe one of many least well-liked codecs of optical based mostly digital storage was the MiniDisc. With a excessive storage capability of as a lot as 1GB, these discs may maintain as much as 45 hours of audio in a compact format. The MiniDisc appeared at a time when CDs had been nonetheless dominating and thus struggled to achieve recognition within the market.

MiniDisc sales started to dwindle when MP3 players began to achieve recognition and had been lastly killed off as a format in 2011 when Sony (the principle producer) ceased manufacturing.

Analogue and dial-up modems

Within the days earlier than modern broadband and 4G networks, on the preliminary beginning of the web, we related to the World Vast Net by way of analogue and dial-up modems.

These marvels of expertise required an open phone line and quite a lot of persistence to get working. If anybody known as whilst you had been related to the ‘web you then’d instantly lose connection. Looking the online was gradual and painful, but it surely was a factor of magnificence and confirmed promise for the long run that we now reside in.

In case you’re after a little bit of nostalgia, then simply take heed to this recorded clip of what it used to sound like.

Walkman, Discman and MP3 players

A number of codecs of portable music participant spawned over time to accommodate the popular musical medium, these included portable cassette players (most notably Sony’s “Walkman”), portable CD players (the additionally well-liked Sony’s “Discman”), Minidisc players and MP3 players.

Every of those codecs of portable music participant finally fell into obsolescence as different extra technologically superior players appeared. All of them had their advantages although. We’ve each fond and irritating recollections of every of those players, whether or not it was preventing Walkmans to avoid wasting a chewed up tape or desperately attempting to suit a conveyable CD participant right into a coat pocket.


Betamax was the earliest model of consumer-level video cassette tape format, initially launched in 1975. Developed by Sony, Betamax was the usual for magnetic videotape till it turned obsolete because the VHS format appeared and dominated within the 1980s.

Surprisingly, Betamax recorders continued manufacturing till 2002 and the cassettes themselves had been nonetheless out there proper up till 2016.

Daisy wheel and dot-matrix printers

Earlier than the occasions of laserjet and inkjet printers, we had quite a few different black and white printers that had been basically a brief step up from typewriters. These printers had been gradual and cumbersome, however they did the job, even when they did make quite a lot of noise whereas doing so.

Gameboy and Gamegear

In 1989, Nintendo launched one other gaming console that will assist it dominate the gaming market. The Game Boy was a traditional handheld gaming system, with a monochrome inexperienced and black screen and a easy design. Massive gaming titles like Tetris helped the Game Boy to promote over 1,000,000 units within the first year alone.

A short time later, Sega launched the Game Gear, its color competitor to the Game Boy. Backed by a powerful catalogue of games from the Sega Grasp System, the Game Gear ought to, in idea, have dominated the market, however struggled to compete with the Game Boy, primarily because of poor battery life.

Each have lengthy since turn into obsolete with the invention of newer devices, however Nintendo nonetheless leads the market with its numerous DS systems.

Nintendo N64

There have been many different consoles each earlier than and after the N64, but it surely actually was an awesome gaming machine and the final of the cussed cartridge-based consoles to be launched by Nintendo. Launching in 1996, the N64 got here to market competing with the likes of the unique Sony Ps and the Sega Saturn. Sturdy competitors apart, Nintendo nonetheless managed to promote 32.93 million N64 consoles worldwide.

The N64 is remembered fondly by many, particularly for its massive gaming titles that included Tremendous Mario 64, GoldenEye 007 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

Movie cameras

The normal movie digital camera has basically lengthy since been pushed from the mass market by the trendy age of the digital digital camera.

Not do we have to depend on reels of movie or journeys to the native store to get them processed. Digital cameras, SD playing cards and modern computing systems imply we are able to snap away fortunately and see the outcomes of our pictures immediately with far much less trouble and expense.

Professional photographers and retro snappers nonetheless use movie cameras for sure inventive functions. however few others.

Polaroid instant cameras

Polaroid cameras initially got here to market within the mid-1960s and on the time introduced a marvel of expertise that allowed folks to see the pictures they had been taking seconds after they had been snapped with out having to attend for another person to develop them. For years, Polaroid instant cameras had been a splendidly costly marvel of photographic comfort.

Lately, the rise of the digital digital camera and smarttelephone images has meant that Polaroid’s expertise basically turned an pointless nicety and declining sales compelled the corporate to file for chapter twice.

You possibly can nonetheless discover Polaroid cameras and movies on sale, but it surely’s niche at finest.

GPS navigation systems

Many automotive producers nonetheless select to put in them in new automobiles, however as a standalone unit, GPS navigation expertise is nearing the tip of its lifespan.

Present smarttelephones are greater than able to getting the trendy human from level A to level B with the usage of navigation apps like Google, Bing and Apple Maps. As soon as once more, Advancements in cellular expertise have compelled different older expertise into obsolescence.

Vinyl data

Vinyl data are most likely one of many oldest and most long-lasting codecs for storing audio recordings. Out there in various codecs for the reason that late 1800s, the vinyl report remains to be in manufacturing right now and is one other format that is sworn to be one of the best by audiophiles and sound fans alike. The format has even had a sales resurgence of late.

Vinyl reaches our listing, not as a result of it is obsolete, however as a result of it refuses to die.


Though little doubt nonetheless utilized in some faculties and workplaces, the common-or-garden calculator is a straightforward expertise that is certainly reaching the tip of its lifespan.

With calculator apps out there on smarttelephones and tablets, in addition to simply accessible calculators on computers and laptops, there’s barely any want left for these unbiased devices.

Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

Almost a decade after the Atari 2600 made its method into folks’s houses, Nintendo launched the first of its profitable gaming consoles to the world market. Backed by quite a few gaming titles that included names that will turn into a part of gaming historical past, the NES shortly turned the best-selling games console of its time.

With the likes of Duck Hunt, Tremendous Mario Bros and extra being first launched on this method, the NES shot Nintendo to the forefront of the gaming business and turned them right into a family identify. Manufacturing resulted in 1995, however Nintendo crammed the world with nostalgic pleasure in 2016 when it introduced the discharge of the NES Traditional Mini, the tiny reimagined model of the console with 30 games pre-installed and the power to work on modern HD TVs.

Atari 2600

One of many ancestors of the trendy games console, the Atari 2600 was initially launched in 1977 and was a cartridge-based home online game system liked and nostalgically remembered by many. Atari can also be well-known for the creation of games akin to Pong, Missile Command and Asteroids, true classics that had been playable on the console.

Though the Atari 2600 was not the first cartridge-based games console (it was the second – the first being the Magnavox Odyssey) it’s maybe essentially the most well-known and most memorable because of the games line-up and historical past behind it. And the pretend teak panelling on the entrance, in fact.

This early expertise shortly turned obsolete as recreation console expertise progressed swiftly ahead.

Cathode ray tube televisions

The scientific expertise behind cathode ray tube televisions dates again to 1869, but it surely wasn’t till the mid-1920s that the expertise was first put into an precise tv set. These chunky televisions turned the mainstay of TVs for many years till expertise advances and the discharge of LCD and plasma flat screen televisions pushed CRT units into obsolescence in around 2007.

Gone are the times of degaussing, bashing the aspect of a set to get it to work correctly or having to rise up to alter the channel.