Friday Fun: Technology from Yesteryear

A couple weeks ago I read John Halamka’s “Cool Technology of the Week” post which referenced this article, “Technology from Yesteryear Nostalgia.”  John mentioned the article isn’t about the latest greatest coolest current technology but it is a fun look back at what was totally cool technology in the past, but now is:

  • Ancient: seen in museums only, unusable, unfixable
  • Antique: unusable, unfixable
  • Vintage: usable, old, ironic, cool
  • Outdated: still available in stores, but barely used

It is fun to look through the images and the descriptions because there are quite a few things on the list that I can remember having. (I had a bright yellow Sony sports walkman that was semi-permanently attached to my head all through high school and college, especially at swim meets.)

Not only is it fun to look through the list and reminisce, but I thought it would be fun to think of the library technology of yesteryear that was once cutting edge and cool.

Here is my contribution:


Microfilm Reader
Price: $0 (library cast off)  - $2600 (“new”)
Status: Outdated

I remember using these in my public library all the time because the catalog (shelf list, probably to be more accurate) was on these.  St. Louis County Public Library had 5-10 in each branch out in the open for people to find books (like we have our computers now).  It replaced the actual card catalog.  If I close my eyes I can hear the whirling  and see the blurry white streaks as I zoom through the alphabet of subjects.
I would say it is vintage, but since a lot places still use this for their newspaper and other print archives, I should label it outdated.  I am seeing less and less of them as more and more online news databases are adding their old stuff online.

What do you remember as a cool tech?  Have some fun this Friday and list it in the comments.

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