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Vintage Things That Have Disappeared In Your Lifetime?

Feraud

Bartender
Messages
17,190
Location
Hardlucksville, NY
LizzieMaine said:
If you ever come up here to Maine, stop into Moody's Diner, on Route 1 in Waldoboro -- which still has its original 1927 built-in wooden phone booth, fully intact and functional and entirely un-ironic.
King Yum in Queens also has their phonebooths intact. The place also has great chow.
 

jwalls

Vendor
Messages
741
Location
Las Vegas
Doran said:
How about BUTCHERS? It feels like those are slowly vanishing. In some places, at least. You can get meat delivered to your store in pieces, requiring very little skill.
I learned to cut meat from my uncle, who ordered sides of beef for his small shop. I don't think that anyone outside a packing plant knows how nowdays.
 

jwalls

Vendor
Messages
741
Location
Las Vegas
I went to work for Sears in high school in men's wear. You could order a tailored suit, pick out the fabric and style for $85.00, of course they were only paying me $41.25 a week.
 

vintage_jayhawk

One of the Regulars
Messages
109
Location
Expat in the Caribbean
LizzieMaine said:
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.

We actually still have these in some form at the local drive-in theater. I think they are the original ones from the 1960's that they play before the show. The talking popcorn encouraging you to visit the concession stand before the movie starts is just priceless! :D
 

Mike in Seattle

My Mail is Forwarded Here
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3,027
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Renton (Seattle), WA
jwalls said:
I went to work for Sears in high school in men's wear. You could order a tailored suit, pick out the fabric and style for $85.00, of course they were only paying me $41.25 a week.

Perhaps thinking of it in terms of a suit at Sears cost a little more than 2 weeks wages puts it in better perspective.
 

Mike in Seattle

My Mail is Forwarded Here
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3,027
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Renton (Seattle), WA
Carlisle Blues said:
I think a more appropriate example is as follows:Frank Woolworth explained the success of the business in those early days. He said “I put it down to the great buying power that allows us to drive prices lower by helping factories to make their goods more cheaply. And to making sure that everyone rich or poor - is welcomed in and treated with the same respect.” The philosophy has served us well for 125 years !

For 125 years, until the point that Woolworth's, too, was run out of the retailing business. Now they're a lessor, renting out their former stores to other businesses and retailers.

Personally, I think the "great buying power" that forced prices down on one hand caused the vendors to start churning out cheaper, shoddier products. That's one of the points many of us bemoan here on the Lounge - in the past, most products were of higher quality and a better value for what was spent. Value has been lost - there used to be a delicate balance between price and quality or durability of a product. Now, with rare exceptions, stores are selling lower quality products at exorbitant prices and with a smaller selection to choose from.
 

Foofoogal

Banned
Messages
4,884
Location
Vintage Land
Value has been lost - there used to be a delicate balance between price and quality or durability of a product. Now, with rare exceptions, stores are selling lower quality products at exorbitant prices and with a smaller selection to choose from.
:eek:fftopic: Getting quite scary IMHO also. Went to a big chain store (you know) the other day. All the boxes are looking the same. Buying store brand may seem best now but when all the other products get forced out of business then will be the opportunity for the store brand people to have the field and charge whatever they want for whatever they want. No competition.
 

Carlisle Blues

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3,154
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Beautiful Horse Country
Mike in Seattle said:
For 125 years, until the point that Woolworth's, too, was run out of the retailing business. Now they're a lessor, renting out their former stores to other businesses and retailers.

Personally, I think the "great buying power" that forced prices down on one hand caused the vendors to start churning out cheaper, shoddier products. That's one of the points many of us bemoan here on the Lounge - in the past, most products were of higher quality and a better value for what was spent. Value has been lost - there used to be a delicate balance between price and quality or durability of a product. Now, with rare exceptions, stores are selling lower quality products at exorbitant prices and with a smaller selection to choose from.


Several points the first Woolworth's store was founded, with a loan of $300, in 1878 by Frank Winfield Woolworth. Despite growing to be one of the largest retail chains in the world through most of the 20th century, increased competition led to its decline beginning in the 1980s. In 1997, F. W. Woolworth Company converted itself into a sporting goods retailer, closing its remaining retail stores operating under the "Woolworth's" brand name and renaming itself Venator Group. By 2001, the company focused exclusively on the sporting goods market, changing its name to the present Foot Locker Inc (NYSE: FL).

Healthy competition was Woolworth's undoing, which by design is the hallmark of what vintage and pre-vintage American economic theory is based: capitalism.

There are many Woolworth clones around; Costco, for example, great quality products at a reason able price due to it's buying power with superb customer service and Walmart is another clone. The list is extensive all one has to do is look.

Bemoaning lack of quality speaks to the cost effectiveness of the materials in manufacturing the goods versus the demand in product. In doing so a supply will be created. There were cheap shoddy products way back in the good old days, as well. The law books are filled with products liability cases for those items which were not fit for the purpose for which they were intended.

Vintage does not insure a certain quality or better environment. Vintage simply speaks to a period of time or era described through depiction and nostalgia.
 

LordBest

Practically Family
Messages
692
Location
Australia
Up to a few years ago I used to be able to walk into the local supermarket and buy local ham off the bone (near pig country). Now the supermarkets takes cheap imported ham (from China), put its on an Australian ham bone, and sells it as 'made from local and imported ingredients*'. The bit you you pay for being imported. The absurd thing is you can get local ham for the same price or cheaper from the independent butchers around town.

*If you're lucky, my grandmother was sold one of these hybrid hams at Christmas, she confronted the retailer over it and recieved a refund, but they still sell them as Australian ham.
 

LizzieMaine

Bartender
Messages
33,055
Location
Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
Carlisle Blues said:
Bemoaning lack of quality speaks to the cost effectiveness of the materials in manufacturing the goods versus the demand in product. In doing so a supply will be created. There were cheap shoddy products way back in the good old days, as well. The law books are filled with products liability cases for those items which were not fit for the purpose for which they were intended.

Vintage does not insure a certain quality or better environment. Vintage simply speaks to a period of time or era described through depiction and nostalgia.

Spend a weekend with Vance Packard's "The Waste Makers," and you'll see how the trend of shoddy goods was a definitive hallmark of the postwar era. It's not available on Wikipedia, but copies are easily found. Highly recommended reading for anyone wanting to know how we got on the road we're now on and who put us there.
 

Carlisle Blues

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3,154
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Beautiful Horse Country
LizzieMaine said:
Spend a weekend with Vance Packard's "The Waste Makers," and you'll see how the trend of shoddy goods was a definitive hallmark of the postwar era. It's not available on Wikipedia, but copies are easily found. Highly recommended reading for anyone wanting to know how we got on the road we're now on and who put us there.


Lizzie the consumer put us there. If we did not want to get it on the "cheap" we would not buy. Yes it is really that simple. Take a look at the Yugo. Maybe this is not a vintage way but I take responsibility in researching the products I buy and the companies I but from.

Vance Packard's book is but one source it is not the bible. :eusa_doh: Is that Post WWI and Pre WWII . Aren't you changing the topic again? I will be straight with you; I am very surprised at your level of sarcasm. I guess life is full of little surprises.

Moreover, “Planned obsolescence” was once openly discussed as a solution to the Great Depression. In fact, most scholars trace the origin of the term to Bernard London’s 1932 pamphlet, “Ending the Depression Through Planned Obsolescence”, in which London blames the global economic Depression on consumers who disobey “the law of obsolescence” by “using their old cars, their old tires, their old radios and their old clothing much longer than statisticians had expected”. London’s solution was to propose a government agency that would determine the lifespan of each manufactured object whether it is a building, a ship, a comb or a shoe. Those frugal consumers who insisted on using their products past the expiration date would be penalized.

Today, planned obsolescence is considered to be a breach of consumer rights in some countries and jurisdictions; by way of example I will direct you to Office of Fair Trading (OFT) which is a non-ministerial government department of the United Kingdom, whose investigates claims of planned obsolescence.
 

scottyrocks

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,161
Location
Isle of Langerhan, NY
LordBest said:
Up to a few years ago I used to be able to walk into the local supermarket and buy local ham off the bone (near pig country). Now the supermarkets takes cheap imported ham (from China), put its on an Australian ham bone, and sells it as 'made from local and imported ingredients*'. The bit you you pay for being imported. The absurd thing is you can get local ham for the same price or cheaper from the independent butchers around town.

*If you're lucky, my grandmother was sold one of these hybrid hams at Christmas, she confronted the retailer over it and recieved a refund, but they still sell them as Australian ham.

The customer has more control than he knows. There is more to be done than just demanding a refund while the store continues its less than forthright business practices.

There is almost nothing more effective than making a small scene outside of a business that operates in this manner. In the golden era, the image of a person, usually a man, with a sandwich board, is a popular one. Someone (or more than one) outside of that shop, with an effectively rendered sign, and the willingness to talk to people using facts, can make a difference.

People need to do things like that today when the situation warrants, such as in the dishonest ham story. If enough people are turned away by a person who has been through a situation such as Lord described, the business owner will react in one way or another.

The problem is that today's consumers generally cant be bothered, living in our 'convenience' society.
 

MsStabby

One of the Regulars
Messages
100
Location
Yosemite-ish
Carlisle Blues said:
...the consumer put us there. If we did not want to get it on the "cheap" we would not buy. Yes it is really that simple...

But sometimes it depends. Some citizens simply "want" to get things cheap, in order to amass more and more and more, others simply "need" to get things cheap, because on the whole middle and working class wages in the US have statistically stagnated since the 1970's, even including the rise of the two-income household. At the same time, corporate profit and the income of those citizens in the corporate class have increased exponentially.

As with all phenomenon, trends are rarely simple and one-sided.

One could argue that a "vintage thing" that has disappeared in our lifetime is the living salary that could support a family without necessitating living on debt. The illusions of the 1950's are unlikely to return.
 

LizzieMaine

Bartender
Messages
33,055
Location
Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
Perhaps one way to consider the issue is to examine a typical "cheap" consumer product of the vintage era and stack it up against the equivalent today. My TV set is an RCA Victor model 17-S-450, built in 1954, just at the very start of the acknowledged "planned obsolescence" era (as a Wikipedia reference to that topic will indicate). It's RCA's "entry level" set for that season -- it retailed for $149.50 delivered, and was the cheapest model they offered that year.

The set is solidly constructed thruout. The cabinet is made of stamped, enameled steel, and the chassis is cadmium-plated stamped steel. All wiring is done point to point with stranded copper wire, and all connections are hand-soldered. Aside from the replacement of dried-out paper capacitors, and a renewed picture tube, all other components of the set are as they were when it was built. It still works as it did when it left the factory -- and it's worked with only minor repairs needed in the twenty-three years that I've owned it. When repairs *are* needed, I'm able to do them myself, for only the cost of a few inexpensive parts.

Compare this quality of workmanship to that of a cheap modern TV, such as you might find at your local Walmart. The cabinet, invariably, will be plastic. The electronics will be machine-assembled, dip-soldered printed circuits, and the other components will be miniaturized to the point where there's very little margin for safety or long life. The average life span of such a set might be five years, ten if you're lucky.

Just today at work I've been dealing with an extremely expensive piece of high end equipment -- a JVC broadcast-quality video monitor, bought in 2005, --that's died. Our tech specialist tells me there's no point in trying to get it fixed.

Judge the modern quality and workmanship for yourself. I could come up with plenty of other comparisions here -- my 1945 refrigerator I've owned for twenty-one years compared to the three modern units my mother has had to own over the same span, for example, but I think the point's safe. Anyone who regularly uses vintage manufactured goods compared to modern would likely reach the same conclusion.
 

Foofoogal

Banned
Messages
4,884
Location
Vintage Land
Amen.:eusa_clap

said it somewhere on here but we just bought a piece of junk Cub Cadet riding lawnmower. Mowed 2 times, the spindle broke. Honey didn't want to put in shop under warranty may I add. Took it apart and said wonder all spindles did not break as not one drop of oil or grease on any of them.
I am currently on a mission to buy every hammer, saw, and/or mechanical thingy bobby I can get my hands on. In a few years the kids will not even know such good products once existed.
I half agree with Carlisle. Yes, If we did not want to get it on the "cheap" we would not buy. but fact also is many people are in small towns where wallyworld is the only place to buy.
Silver lining in some of this for me as a dealer is some shop online.
 
Messages
11,579
Location
Covina, Califonia 91722
MsStabby said:
Others simply "need" to get things cheap, because on the whole middle and working class wages in the US have statistically stagnated since the 1970's, even including the rise of the two-income household. At the same time, corporate profit and the income of those citizens in the corporate class have increased exponentially.

This does not take into effect taxes, hidden taxes, and expenses that were not even considered in the 1950's. THe personal deduction has not kept pace with inflation. There was a time when there was no income tax and they actually ran the country.

One thing is that our parents and grandparents waited to get things, today few people wait when they can put it on credit. New house,new car,new big screen,new phone, new new new.

The amount of clothes most people have would have been inconceivable 50 years ago. Although this is in flux, the number of house holds with more than one TV, all these things are part of a version of consumerism that a large portion of the populace engage in. The number of people that are in a fight to have the latest "IT" items from cell phones to sneakers to clothes to what ever is telling and it shows in the debt level of many families.
 

dhermann1

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,154
Location
Da Bronx, NY, USA
Old TV's

Lizzie, that $149.00 in 1954 would be about equal to about $2,000 today. And as nice as the inside of the TV looks, I recall vividly that having the TV repairman come to your house (like a doctor!) was a way of life back then. Tubes burned out like nobody's business. The vertical hold would go bananas, or the horizintal, or both. Old TV's are nifty artifacts, but really a modern TV is an infinitely better value than the old ones were.
The fridge, on the other hand, I would imagine is like iron. But what about the insulation level and energy efficiency?
There has always been that price point where cheaper was a bad bargain and more expensive was a good one.
 

Carlisle Blues

My Mail is Forwarded Here
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3,154
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Beautiful Horse Country
LizzieMaine said:
.


Judge the modern quality and workmanship for yourself. I could come up with plenty of other comparisions here -- my 1945 refrigerator I've owned for twenty-one years compared to the three modern units my mother has had to own over the same span, for example, but I think the point's safe. Anyone who regularly uses vintage manufactured goods compared to modern would likely reach the same conclusion.


I am not arguing about quality I am arguing about choice.

I so not disagree on manufacturing points LizzieMaine. In fact I just bought an amplifier for my guitars..all tube non solid state..The design is what would be considered vintage and it is hand crafted. However, the price was at least quadruple what it would have cost as a solid state piece of junk. It was manufactured in 2009.

I was on a waiting list to get it and I was very happy to do so. However, my choice was to buy a product that will stand the test of time. I could have spent much much less money and the quality of the product would have been both inferior and less able to have as long a useful life.

The term stems from the period prior to 1920, when retail products were made with the purposeful intent to stand the test of time. These high quality products were sturdy; often hand machined piecework, and ultimately provided and excellent long term investment for the consumer.

In the 1920’s and 1930’s businesses began adopting the process of planned obsolescence to tackle this business killing issue. Ultimately this meant that the products consumers bought would not last as long because product parts were intentionally designed to wear out near or at the end of their planned lifespan. In other words if a company planned for a vehicle to last ten years then parts would begin to wear out after 10 years or the total number of miles driven for a statistically generated 10 year average.

As far as a reference point regarding “PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE” Wikipedia is not always a reliable source. My reference points are as follows: Ending the Depression Through Planned Obsolescence (1932) By Bernard London, The Journal of the Mental Environment https://www.adbusters.org/category/tags/obsolescence; Ecommerce – Planned Obsolescence http://pro-webs.net/blog/2009/09/16/ecommerce-planned-obsolescence/. and Ecommerce and Planned Obsolescence By Scott Lindsay
 

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