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Vintage Things That Have Disappeared In Your Lifetime?

Messages
10,883
Location
Portage, Wis.
Two that we still have around here, that I love.

A bubbler at the four corners downtown.
And the air-raid siren (many of you call it a tornado siren) that sounds at noon every Wednesday.
How about the five and dime?
We still have a drive in movie theatere in town too.
And a Drive in A&W.
Guess the little Hamlet of Portage does have a little charm left.
 

Atticus Finch

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,718
Location
Coastal North Carolina, USA
I haven’t read through all twenty-some pages of this thread, so maybe volunteer fire department alarms have been covered. If so, please ignore this post.

I grew up in Beaufort, North Carolina. Back in the fifties and early sixties, the town had a semi-volunteer fire department. Two paid firemen manned the fire station but all the other firemen were unpaid (but avid) volunteers. There was a fire box at every corner in town and a huge fire horn was mounted on Beaufort’s water tower. That horn was so loud, I’ll swear, it could be heard in Egypt. Each of the town’s fifty or so fire boxes, when activated, would cause the horn to blow a unique sequence of blasts, which would identify the location of the fire alarm. For example, if the horn blasted three times followed, after a pause, by two blasts, Beaufort’s firemen would know the fire box at the corner of Orange and Ann streets had been tripped. Then, as volunteers converged on that corner, the paid firemen would arrive with the fire truck and other equipment.

Of course, every family in town had a fire signal code sheet so that all the kids could know where the excitement was. If a kid was awakened by the fire horn, he ran to the code sheet to see where the fire was. Then he looked out the window to see if there was an orange glow. No glow meant that it was probably a prank alarm. If there was a glow, he dressed as quickly as possible, jumped onto his Western Flyer and took off to the scene. In those days, Beaufort was small enough that no one locked their doors and older kids could be out at night without their parents, if need be.

And every parent understood that a big structure fire was one of those needs be.

Now days, there’s no fire horn, no fire boxes and Beaufort has professional firemen. Fire alarms are dispatched by county communications so that most of the town’s people remain ignorant of local fires until they read about them in the newspaper. Good kids aren’t allowed out at night and they don’t have Western Flyers to ride if they were. Maybe this is a good thing, but I’d venture that most of Beaufort’s children have never seen a real structure fire.

AF
 

Ethan Bentley

One Too Many
Messages
1,225
Location
The New Forest, Hampshire, UK
AtomicEraTom said:
Two that we still have around here, that I love.

A bubbler at the four corners downtown.
And the air-raid siren (many of you call it a tornado siren) that sounds at noon every Wednesday.
How about the five and dime?
We still have a drive in movie theatere in town too.
And a Drive in A&W.
Guess the little Hamlet of Portage does have a little charm left.

I spend most of my time in two different locations, one is by an oil refinery and one is my a large naval dockyard and I do, in both locations, periodically, hear an air-raid siren. Not that anyone pays it any attention.

I also miss testcards / teleltext late at night; much better than Quizcall TV; £1.50 to ring in and name something red.
 

Widebrim

I'll Lock Up
I can't take the time to read all of the posts, but I'll mention some that either are no longer around or are rather scarce here in Los Angeles:

Air raid drills, Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps khaki class As, typewriter classes in schools, 8 track players, rotary phones, B/W TV shows, religious release in public schools, the Pledge of Allegiance in many classes (except mine), police call boxes, Buster Brown shoe stores (and Tom McCann), new Esterbrook fountain pens, 10 cent soda, and children's matinees where admission was a score of bottle caps.
 

cecil

A-List Customer
Messages
396
Location
Sydney, Aus.
univibe88 said:
I make my 8 year old daughter call her friends herself. Which ultimately ends up with the other kid handing the phone to her parent and my daughter handing the phone to me. I don't know why they can't work it out.

Which brings up a lost concept "come home when the street lights come on."

As young as 5 years old I would play out front of my house until the street lights came on. As young as 7 I'd be somewhere off in my neighborhood, exactly where unbeknownst to my parents, "until the street lights came on."

Not these days. Heaven forbid your kids are out of your sight until they are done with college.

I was born in 1987 and this was still the rule when I was a littlun. Modified though because it was a tiny town and there weren't street lights as far as I can remember. It was "be home by 5.30", because that's around the time when dinner was being made.

I'm having trouble thinking of things that have disappeared over the past 20 years. Phones with a cord is all I can think of, haven't seen one in somebody's home for a long time. Arguably the home phone has gone the way of the dinosaurs since I was a kid, if anybody my age has one now it's only for the internet and they don't know their own number.
 

Shangas

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,116
Location
Melbourne, Australia
I was born in 1987, too. Things (not necessarily vintage, but which may be considered vintage under different contexts), which have disappeared in my time, include...

--- 3.5in. Floppy-disks. When I was a kid, I had to save all my work on those things, and I had dozens of them! Hated it. These days, they're used as drinks coasters! These days, we have memory sticks (Thank god!)

--- Those old, dot-matrix printers. Slow, loud and clunky. Thank god for smooth, virtually silent laser-printers.

--- Cameras with *actual* film in it, which you had to get developed.

--- Video-tapes. Remember having to wind them up after each viewing so that they'd be ready for next time? Or getting the cassette wedged into the VCR so that it couldn't come out?

--- VCDs. Not sure if anyone knows what these are, some might. They were the next best thing after video-cassettes, but came before DVDs (VCD - Video compact-disc).

I admit to being skeptical of DVDs when I first heard about them. I don't know where I'd be today without them!

--- Dialup internet. Haven't had to do that in years. Thank God!

--- Typewriters. When I was a kid, I started out with a typewriter before I *ever* looked at a computer. Somehow, I wish I still had a typewriter. I found them convenient sometimes.

--- Telephone ringtones that actually SOUND like ringtones. I haven't heard a proper "rrrrrrrrrring-rrrrrrrrring!!!" in YEARS.

--- A corded telephone. These days it's all wireless.

--- Lights with those round, screw-in lightbulbs. They're still around, but are being replaced by LED lights.

--- Common-sense. This one seems to be long gone.
 

cecil

A-List Customer
Messages
396
Location
Sydney, Aus.
Ah, floppy disks! That's a good one! And gosh, those printers. And the paper that you put in them, with the tear-off edges with holes!

Dunno about cameras, dialup, videos and lighbulbs though...while they're not new I definitely use all of them and most of my friends use at least three out of four. I don't think analogue cameras are on their way out yet, while they're certainly not as common for the everyman I think they definitely have a long life ahead of them amongst actual photographers and art students.

On that topic tough, Polaroid cameras are extinct as of last year. Sad, they were so much fun. I think Fuji is still making their version though.
 

Mike in Seattle

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,027
Location
Renton (Seattle), WA
But before the 3-1/2" "floppy" disks which didn't really flop, there were the bendy, really floppy 5-1/2" floppy disks (the double-sided, double-density floppy disk). Before that, you had to know if your drive took single-sided or double-sided, and single-density or double-density. And my first home computer (Xerox 630) has 8" single-density, single-sided floppies that held a massive 30 pages of typed data. But I still think in many ways, the printer that I had with that computer (Diablo 630 "Daisywheel") was a great printer. You'd change daisywheels to change the font style or type size like you would with the IBM Selectric typewriters, and it would print 6 part forms with ease.

Mag-card Selectrics for setting type. Wang word processing machines which cost about $20K each and did less than a $500 computer and $300 laser printer can do now. Doing ads or forms masters with rub-on letters, lines & symbols that you'd place on paper, which you'd then cut down with Xacto knives and lay into the master with hot beeswax you'd roll-on to the back and then quickly place on the master and roll, roll, roll with a brayer.

Doing spreadsheets with pencil & adding machine, and hand-written accounting ledgers. Feeling a great sense of accomplishment in preparing a working trial balance (spreadsheet) that footed, cross-footed and balanced out on the first try. But I think knowing how to do them by hand makes doing them on computer faster. Plus I know where a value should be calculated invisibly, and where showing a little more detail of a calculation makes for easier checking or understanding later. Tracing paper. Carbon paper and carbon copies. Onion skin.

But technology saves a lot of time in lessening duplication of work. Now someone submits a story or ad or the like to me electronically. I just lift their text and place into a text box in the layout software, or lay in their ad & press a couple buttons to have it fill the size they want the ad. I can make changes to an ad or page layout in a minute or two, and shoot a brand new proof out that the client has in-hand in seconds. The printer calls or emails to say something looks misaligned on their proof - I look on-screen, or on my own printout and see if adjustments are necessary before it goes to press. I plug a camera into the computer and download photos and drop them into layouts, with the computer automatically doing any color conversion, resizing, and the like, or expanding or contracting the size, cropping, adjusting color or contrast and yes, even a little "Photoshopping" if required, in a matter of seconds, instead of having to snap a photo, have the film processed, have prints resized, etc.

But I'm often tempted, when I have to drive down to the printer to approve the final proof, to fling open the door and yell "STOP THE PRESSES!"

And adding, deleting or changing a number here & there in a spreadsheet that automatically recalculates is great. Being able to manipulate data already in the computer to produce new reports and analyses.
 

univibe88

One Too Many
Messages
1,146
Location
Slidell4Life
All very good technology examples - floppies, film, dot matrix, etc. Pretty soon you can add CRT monitors to that. Technology just advances so fast.

My daughters are 8 & 5 and they have no idea what a VHS tape is. They have only ever seen DVDs.
 

Shangas

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,116
Location
Melbourne, Australia
A couple of months ago, I went into the general store at university. On the front counter was this display of 3.5 inch floppies. The sign above them said:

3 1/2in. floppy-discs! 50c ea.

"BUY A SOUVENIER OF THE 20th CENTURY!"

Something to show your kids!
Information storage-device? Or drinks-coaster?
 

ShoreRoadLady

Practically Family
Shangas said:
A couple of months ago, I went into the general store at university. On the front counter was this display of 3.5 inch floppies. The sign above them said:

3 1/2in. floppy-discs! 50c ea.

"BUY A SOUVENIER OF THE 20th CENTURY!"

Something to show your kids!
Information storage-device? Or drinks-coaster?

*cracks up* lol

Actually, there are some creative things being done with old floppy disks.
 

LizzieMaine

Bartender
Messages
33,170
Location
Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
The discussion of vintage paint in another thread reminded me of something I haven't seen in ages -- whitewash on the windows of vacant storefronts. When I was little, I remember seeing this a lot -- and was actually rather fascinated by the swirly patterns it made on the glass. But nowadays, while there are still plenty of vacant storefronts around it seems like all they bother to do is tape up sheets of brown paper. Are there any whitewash holdouts left?
 

Elaina

One Too Many
I saw Clove gum a while back in this thread, Family Dollar and Dollar General still sell that, Black Jack and Beeman's, and only rarely Violet gums. While they say they haven't made any since 2005, I've gotten it there for the last 10 years without fail, and I just bought the box they had of Clove gum today for the princely sum of 25 cents a pack.

As to things that left, innocence of the young.
 
Messages
11,579
Location
Covina, Califonia 91722
LizzieMaine said:
The discussion of vintage paint in another thread reminded me of something I haven't seen in ages -- whitewash on the windows of vacant storefronts. When I was little, I remember seeing this a lot -- and was actually rather fascinated by the swirly patterns it made on the glass. But nowadays, while there are still plenty of vacant storefronts around it seems like all they bother to do is tape up sheets of brown paper. Are there any whitewash holdouts left?
*******
I haven't seen it in ages either. I'm betting the brown paper is an easier clean up.
 

Viola

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,469
Location
NSW, AUS
They have Beeman's and Blackjack and I think one other flavor gum at my local grocery (Acme, but I think Acme is regional...?) in a thing that says "taste the nostalgia!" or something similar, I know the word nostalgia is involved, with a pin-up girl winking.
 

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