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Vintage Things That Have Disappeared In Your Lifetime?

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by LizzieMaine, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. I was riding home from work tonight and passed an excavation pit in the middle of the street with flashing LED pylons around the perimeter to keep the unwary from falling in -- and I had a flashback to when I was little, and they used to ring such pits with these round black metal things about the size of a cantaloupe with a flaming wick in the top. I used to think they were bombs, but they were just a very old form of safety light. I haven't seen these, or even thought about them in ages, but when they came to mind it got me thinking about other vintage things that just seem to have quietly disappeared in the past 45 years or so --

    Vent windows in cars. I miss them terribly -- nothing nicer on a hot drive than that blast of wind right in your face.

    Refillable glass soda bottles, the real heavy kind. I know they still have them in a few places, but they haven't been seen here since the late '80s.

    Yellow stop signs. We still had a few in the town where I grew up, with STOP spelled out in little reflectors. They got older and rustier every year until one day they were just gone. Are there any left anywhere?

    Bac-A-Belt Kits. You used to be able to find them at any notions counter, and they were invaluable for making matched belts and covered buckles for dresses. And then about ten years ago, they simply didn't exist anymore, and now nobody in the fabric department even knows what they are.

    Wax paper bread wrappers. I came in just at the end of these, and can remember sitting on them to go faster on the playground slide. It's not the same with a polyethylene bag.

    Theatrical cartoon shorts. There are occasional efforts to revive these, but as recently as the early 70s they were still commonplace at your neighborhood theatre. Our local house showed Walter Lantz cartoons before every feature, but only the later lousy ones where Woody Woodpecker was a boring suburbanite.

    Sunday blue laws. Around here this meant no stores larger than a certain size allowed to be open at all on Sunday, so the corner groceries always did a booming business.

    Probably all of us can think of something vintage that they've managed to outlive -- what's yours?
    M Hatman likes this.
  2. Bourbon Guy

    Bourbon Guy A-List Customer

    Glass pop bottles that you returned to the grocery store. (We still have milk delivered in glass bottles)

    Dial telephones.

    Houses with no hot water.

    Inner tubes.

    Seeing the Milky Way except from the wilderness.
  3. carter

    carter I'll Lock Up

    Wood-fired cook stoves in the kitchen.

    Washing machines that were wheeled into the kitchen and hooked-up to the sink. There was a wringer attached so clothes were run through the wringer before being hung on a clothesline to dry.

    Only AM radios in automobiles.

    8-track cassette players.
  4. Joie DeVive

    Joie DeVive One Too Many

    The telegram :(

    Mercury Methialade- I have no idea if I spelled that right. It was an antiseptic that my Mom used to use on particularly bad cuts and such. It stung something awful, but the mercury in it would kill anything. (Probably including me!):eek:
  5. One of my first full-time jobs was in a lumber yard ,where we wrote the customers order on a box with a crank on the side. The box was loaded with carbonless two-part invoices and after the order was written you turned the crank, the papers advanced and the top form was the customers receipt and the duplicate was the stores record of the sale. I don't know the official name of the device but now even the mom n' pop stores have scanner point of sale systems.
    Rotary phones, black and white TV's, reel to reel tape recorders are other items I've seen disappear.
  6. Prairie Dog

    Prairie Dog A-List Customer

    The "Rotary Dial" phone.


    "Flashcubes" and the "Kodak Instamatic" camera.

    PeterB likes this.
  7. Rachael

    Rachael A-List Customer

    radio dials that really were dials
    radioactive clock faces (okay, that's not a bad thing)
    opaque projectors
    mimeograph machines. and if anyone can explain to me how that purple bottle of ink made copies, I could sleep nights.
  8. MsChantillyLace

    MsChantillyLace New in Town

    -Phone booths and pay phones.

    -Civility in entertainment (read: language)

    -Full service fuel stations: free air, someone to wash your window & pump the gas. Also, leaded gas (for the better).

    -Vinyl records, 8-tracks, cassets and CDs have been replaced by mp3 and similar formats.

    -Type writers. (I actually have a really sweet one from my grandmother)


    -Steel heeled pumps-- the cause of much damage to hardwood floors, especially in train depots; along with it is the absense of the tell tale clicking. New heels don't make nearly the same clatter.

    -Cinemas have been almost entirely replaced with move-plexes; gone with it are also set movie times. There used to always be a show playing at 7 and one at 9:30. Now they're all over the place with timings.

    -Drive in theaters are all but gone, with a few straglers hanging in there by a thread.

    -Home economics that teaches practicle skills such a sewing a button or garment (instead it's a pillow) or cooking a meal (now it's a pretzel).
    raulm1961 likes this.
  9. Try Oregon, young lady.

    CD's are still around--mainly for the non-MP3 car-audio types and us who're religious about having backups. Not as easy to find as a decade ago, but...

    One of the older public libraries around here still has a few for rent.

    Drive-ins period--unless you count Sonic.

    Geez, now you're making me feel like I belong in a pen in Jurassic Park... and I haven't even hit 30 yet!:eek:
  10. Rachael

    Rachael A-List Customer

    Recently there has been a resurgence of vinyl. I saw a display at my local Fred Meyer last week. The rumor is that someone ordered them by mistake and they've been flying off the shelf. I love the digital age but there is just something about analog sound.
    raulm1961 likes this.
  11. As a guy who heard the classics on vinyl, the "hiss and pop" is part of the experience. LP's are the best way to hear music in my opinion.....
    raulm1961 likes this.
  12. MsChantillyLace

    MsChantillyLace New in Town

    It's also available in specific parts of Massachuessets as well as one station in downtown Roccity, however it has largely been replaces by self-service only stations.

    I'm aware that there are still CDs available for purchase, but the way in which people are utilizing music has shifted towards digital media. I still simply listen to the radio and records mostly.

    Yes, type writters still "exist" but for all intensive purposes, it has been replaced by word processors and computers. Kids heading off to college are now getting laptops, not typewriters-- and most college and high school students that I've worked with have no idea how they work.

    -Operators (and receptionists who deal with directing incoming calls). Used to be you'd have to go through an operator to be connected. Dialing zero still gets you to someone, but almost any company you call has an automated system where you may either get a person's voice mail, automated information only, or, after much effort, a live person-- usually in India, now.

    -White nursing dresses and nuns habits. Has anyone else noticed this? I haven't seen any nuns lately in habits; they usually have a hair covering, but not the full habit. And I so miss the nurses dresses; those have been replaced entirely by scrubs, so the only difference in appearance between a doctor and a nurse is a lab coat.

    -Indoor smoking in airports, air planes and many (but not all) cities. Also prohbited are lighters (unless in DOT approved traveling cases) and straight blade (non-safety) razors. Staight blade razors are also a good deal less comon in terms of useage, though they are readily available from various merchants. *Note: These regulations don't make the items vanish out of common usage, just out of your checked luggage.
    raulm1961 likes this.
  13. Dr Doran

    Dr Doran My Mail is Forwarded Here

    1.) Students taking notes on paper in notebooks, rather than bringing the laptop to school, updating one's Facebook page, checking imdb and occasionally typing a few notes.

    2.) Making one's own flash cards for verb conjugations and whatnot.

    3.) Studying in the library WITH A MAP (and following e.g. Hannibal's route across Spain, past Saguntum, past the Ebro river, through Gaul, through the Alps and into Italy).
  14. Biggest thing I miss that's vintage: the era before "identity theft".

    Ms. Chantilly, wasn't trying to be patronizing or belligerent, just saying that some things on your list, while unquestionably dying, aren't quite dead yet. Welcome aboard, BTW. (The "young ___" thing is more because of my "old fart with youngster's skin and birthdate" life.)

    Doran, you shoulda seen me several months ago working on an Ironbottom Sound research project at the library. Mix of their maps and mine, mix of their books and mine, my miniatures... one of the old-guys who haunts Reference thought my rather-unconventional approach to "visualizing" the battles was kinda interesting.
  15. Joie DeVive

    Joie DeVive One Too Many

    Dittos!!!!!! I'd forgotten about those!lol
  16. Ah- the epidioscope.
    Still available to buy- still used by old school Signpainters.

    I really miss shopping in proper, unique, specialty shops, staff with names,
    who know the product, the trade. The chains and malls have taken over...

    Try getting specific and trustworthy product information, or advice from the
    minimum wage seventeen year old chain store employee...

    Ma and Pa... bricks and mortar...

  17. carter

    carter I'll Lock Up

    There has been a recent resurgence in vinyl Folks are rediscovering the quality of their sound. I have some 1/2 speed masters that are incredible.

    Teaching penmanship in schools.

    The classic downtown has all but disappeared from many towns and cities.

    Industrial Arts classes. We still need craftsmanship.
  18. Rachael

    Rachael A-List Customer

    rarer still? someone who can (and will) count back change!
    Jim Green likes this.
  19. Dr Doran

    Dr Doran My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Slide rules.
  20. Paper gift certificates. Not totally dead, but dying in favor of gift cards.

    Someone mentioned rotary phones.

    The ability to get on a plane without a long security check. (Oh, for the world of old movies where the character just showed their ticket and waltzed onto the plane!)

    Hand-written letters instead of e-mail and Facebook.

    You do not know what I time I've had in the past month, trying to find one of these! I eventually bought a vintage kit off Ebay.

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