Want to buy or sell something? Check the classifieds
  • The Fedora Lounge is supported in part by commission earning affiliate links sitewide. Please support us by using them. You may learn more here.

Vintage Things That Have Disappeared In Your Lifetime?

LizzieMaine

Bartender
Messages
33,055
Location
Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
Carlisle Blues said:
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

You overlook the fact that London's ideas were not widely accepted at all -- in fact, he was dismissed as a crackpot by the few businessmen of the time who heard of him as coming out out of the same "easy panacea" mold as Howard Scott. London was neither a social scientist nor a manufacturer, but a New York real-estate finagler with an exaggerated sense of his own brilliance, and whose magnum opus was in fact a twenty-page pamphlet, targeting the same kind of wooly-minded drugstore philosophers as went in for Technocracy. His views made no meaningful impact at all on the manufacturing processes of the day.

The philosophical ideas of planned obsolescence may have existed in abstract terms, in pamphlets written by theorists and backroom braintrusters, but the fact remains that they didn't dominate mainstream manufacturing until after World War 2, and they are far more dominant today than they were when they began to attract the notice of social critics in the mid-fifties.

So far as demand goes, people want what they're told to want. If you don't care for Vance Packard -- who I think was one of the most prescient authors of the 20th century -- look up the social critic Benjamin R. Barber, who offers an even more blistering assessment of the situation as it exists today.
 

Carlisle Blues

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,154
Location
Beautiful Horse Country
LizzieMaine said:
You overlook the fact that London's ideas were not widely accepted at all -- in fact, he was dismissed as a crackpot by the few businessmen of the time who heard of him as coming out out of the same "easy panacea" mold as Howard Scott. London was neither a social scientist nor a manufacturer, but a New York real-estate finagler with an exaggerated sense of his own brilliance, and whose magnum opus was in fact a twenty-page pamphlet, targeting the same kind of wooly-minded drugstore philosophers as went in for Technocracy. His views made no meaningful impact at all on the manufacturing processes of the day.

The philosophical ideas of planned obsolescence may have existed in abstract terms, in pamphlets written by theorists and backroom braintrusters, but the fact remains that they didn't dominate mainstream manufacturing until after World War 2, and they are far more dominant today than they were when they began to attract the notice of social critics in the mid-fifties.

So far as demand goes, people want what they're told to want. If you don't care for Vance Packard -- who I think was one of the most prescient authors of the 20th century -- look up the social critic Benjamin R. Barber, who offers an even more blistering assessment of the situation as it exists today.

Hardly, his was not an original idea at all. London was referenced to prove the point a treatise on the topic was published in 1932. According to my research it was in practice during the 1920'a and 1930's.

The term may have been popularized in the 1950's but the theory of Planned Obsolescence was adopted and used decades before. [huh]
 

dhermann1

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,154
Location
Da Bronx, NY, USA
Innnnnnteresting discussion. I have no useful input, other than to suggest that planned obsolescence might have gotten a toehold in certain more marginal industries, and really blossomed after the war. More data!
 

Carlisle Blues

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,154
Location
Beautiful Horse Country
dhermann1 said:
Innnnnnteresting discussion. I have no useful input, other than to suggest that planned obsolescence might have gotten a toehold in certain more marginal industries, and really blossomed after the war. More data!


This is an example of how transpotation was effected by planned obsolescence:

The “dandy horse” or “swift‐walker,” powered by its rider pushing against the ground, gained popularity in East Coast cities around 1819 but was soon banned from sidewalks as dangerous to pedestrians. Pedal power was introduced to the United States at the 1868 New York Athletic Games in the form of the French‐developed “velocipede,” with a metal frame, rubber tires, and front‐wheel pedals. It, too, enjoyed a brief vogue but was then banned from many roads. The Bostonian Albert Pope introduced steel frames; brakes; and, by the 1880s, front wheels up to six feet high. “High wheelers” were thus faster than their ancestors and even more dependent on pavement. Approximately 100,000 were on the road in 1887.

Advances in bicycle technology in the golden age contributed, ironically, to the machine's decline. Techniques pioneered by bike manufacturers such as the assembly line, planned obsolescence, and marketing incentives were readily adopted by the automotive industry. Bicycle organizations, notably the League of American Wheelmen (now Bicyclists), founded in 1880, supported the “good roads” movement that quite literally paved the way for automobiles. Responding to the bicycle craze, New York City passed the nation's first comprehensive traffic code in 1897, requiring, for example, that cyclists use hand signals; by 1909, partly because of stricter regulations, cyclists had almost disappeared from roadways and the automobile's “golden age” was under way. ( Bicycles and Bicycling The Oxford Companion to United States History | 2001 | Paul S. Boyer)

There is no better mouse trap here. Just some smart marketing and a catchy phrase to launch a book and promote an existing idea as new thereby duping the masses.
 

LizzieMaine

Bartender
Messages
33,055
Location
Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
Carlisle Blues said:
This is an example of how transpotation was effected by planned obsolescence:

The “dandy horse” or “swift‐walker,” powered by its rider pushing against the ground, gained popularity in East Coast cities around 1819 but was soon banned from sidewalks as dangerous to pedestrians. Pedal power was introduced to the United States at the 1868 New York Athletic Games in the form of the French‐developed “velocipede,” with a metal frame, rubber tires, and front‐wheel pedals. It, too, enjoyed a brief vogue but was then banned from many roads. The Bostonian Albert Pope introduced steel frames; brakes; and, by the 1880s, front wheels up to six feet high. “High wheelers” were thus faster than their ancestors and even more dependent on pavement. Approximately 100,000 were on the road in 1887.

Advances in bicycle technology in the golden age contributed, ironically, to the machine's decline. Techniques pioneered by bike manufacturers such as the assembly line, planned obsolescence, and marketing incentives were readily adopted by the automotive industry. Bicycle organizations, notably the League of American Wheelmen (now Bicyclists), founded in 1880, supported the “good roads” movement that quite literally paved the way for automobiles. Responding to the bicycle craze, New York City passed the nation's first comprehensive traffic code in 1897, requiring, for example, that cyclists use hand signals; by 1909, partly because of stricter regulations, cyclists had almost disappeared from roadways and the automobile's “golden age” was under way. ( Bicycles and Bicycling The Oxford Companion to United States History | 2001 | Paul S. Boyer)

There is no better mouse trap here. Just some smart marketing and a catchy phrase to launch a book and promote an existing idea as new thereby duping the masses.


Nope, don't buy it. The postwar use of the term refers to the engineering of goods to a deliberately limited lifespan, and I'd be very interested in seeing some specific pre-WW2 examples of this in the mass marketplace. If, in keeping with the above quote, you can show me a single specific example of a prewar bicycle where this was the case, you'll win your point. Otherwise, you're just Googling in the dark.

Now, an example that *could* be considered as valid would be the emphasis on *disposable* products -- King Gillette and the safety razor blade being a good example of someone well before WW2 who came up with the idea of selling a product designed to wear out and be thrown away. But this is a far cry from employing similar principles in the manufacture of durable goods -- which is a primary element of "planned obsolescence" as it's understood today -- and you'll Google yourself silly trying to find specific examples of it that pre-date the early/mid-fifties.

And meanwhile, my 1946 Westfield bike keeps rolling and rolling and rolling along, as it will long after the titanium frames and spot-welded forks have returned to the dust.
 

Carlisle Blues

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,154
Location
Beautiful Horse Country
LizzieMaine said:
Nope, don't buy it. The postwar use of the term refers to the engineering of goods to a deliberately limited lifespan, and I'd be very interested in seeing some specific pre-WW2 examples of this in the mass marketplace. If, in keeping with the above quote, you can show me a single specific example of a prewar bicycle where this was the case, you'll win your point. Otherwise, you're just Googling in the dark.

Now, an example that *could* be considered as valid would be the emphasis on *disposable* products -- King Gillette and the safety razor blade being a good example of someone well before WW2 who came up with the idea of selling a product designed to wear out and be thrown away. But this is a far cry from employing similar principles in the manufacture of durable goods -- which is a primary element of "planned obsolescence" as it's understood today -- and you'll Google yourself silly trying to find specific examples of it that pre-date the early/mid-fifties.

And meanwhile, my 1946 Westfield bike keeps rolling and rolling and rolling along, as it will long after the titanium frames and spot-welded forks have returned to the dust.





The “safety” bicycle, first manufactured in the United States by Pope in 1889, featured same‐sized wheels, the rear one connected to pedals under the rider by a chain; ball bearings; and pneumatic tires (invented by the Scotsman John Dunlop). These bikes could move twice as fast as a horse and carriage and were relatively affordable. More than four million Americans owned safeties by 1896, making the 1890s bicycling's golden age. So pervasive was the 1890s craze that the government opened a separate patent office just for bicycle‐related innovations. Bike manufacturers, repairers, and accessory‐makers thrived.

Products are made to break down and be repaired as old as time or another way to put it planned obsolescence. :)
 
I'm gonna argue a little here--components of a larger machine designed to be replaced periodically for routine maintenance is one thing, the whole machine designed to be junked after X years or Y miles (at least, in the general-consumer market; aviation's a different story) is a whole 'nother ball of wax.
 

LizzieMaine

Bartender
Messages
33,055
Location
Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
Carlisle Blues said:
The “safety” bicycle, first manufactured in the United States by Pope in 1889, featured same‐sized wheels, the rear one connected to pedals under the rider by a chain; ball bearings; and pneumatic tires (invented by the Scotsman John Dunlop). These bikes could move twice as fast as a horse and carriage and were relatively affordable. More than four million Americans owned safeties by 1896, making the 1890s bicycling's golden age. So pervasive was the 1890s craze that the government opened a separate patent office just for bicycle‐related innovations. Bike manufacturers, repairers, and accessory‐makers thrived.

Products are made to break down and be repaired as old as time or another way to put it planned obsolescence. :)

Uh, no. That's not "another way to put it." Products that break down due to complexity but which are engineered to be repaired and kept in use are hardly examples of planned obsolescence. A proper example would be a bicycle with a flimsy spot-welded frame that breaks in two due to metal fatigue after a specifically-engineered period of time, and you won't find that on any Golden Era bike.

Another example would be electronics -- my old RCA tv set no doubt saw many visits from the repairman before it came to me, but it was designed to be easily serviced -- so that when components failed it could be repaired and kept in use indefinitely. A modern television set is built in exactly the opposite way -- to *discourage* ease of servicing and to make such repair as inconvenient and costly as possible so that the consumer becomes frustrated and has to buy a new one. *That* is "planned obsolescence," and it simply wasn't the way things were done.

And meanwhile my '45 Kelvinator keeps cheerfully humming away.
 

Carlisle Blues

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,154
Location
Beautiful Horse Country
LizzieMaine said:
Uh, no. That's not "another way to put it." Products that break down due to complexity but which are engineered to be repaired and kept in use are hardly examples of planned obsolescence. A proper example would be a bicycle with a flimsy spot-welded frame that breaks in two due to metal fatigue after a specifically-engineered period of time, and you won't find that on any Golden Era bike.

Another example would be electronics -- my old RCA tv set no doubt saw many visits from the repairman before it came to me, but it was designed to be easily serviced -- so that when components failed it could be repaired and kept in use indefinitely. A modern television set is built in exactly the opposite way -- to *discourage* ease of servicing and to make such repair as inconvenient and costly as possible so that the consumer becomes frustrated and has to buy a new one. *That* is "planned obsolescence," and it simply wasn't the way things were done.

And meanwhile my '45 Kelvinator keeps cheerfully humming away.


No; what you are attempting to so is obfuscate the reality of the manufacturing business. Things are not built to last forever. I have given more than enough references and cited the example you asked for. It is ok to cling on to an ideal that has been disproved; that of course is your choice.

However, while doing do not look to the independent authorities I have cited.

Lizzie the concept of planned obsolescence has been around as long as there have been people who manufacture goods. Repeat sales keep a company in business. :p :p :p
 

LizzieMaine

Bartender
Messages
33,055
Location
Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
Carlisle Blues said:
No; what you are attempting to so is obfuscate the reality of the manufacturing business. Things are not built to last forever. I have given more than enough references and cited the example you asked for. It is ok to cling on to an ideal that has been disproved; that of course is your choice.

However, while doing do not look to the independent authorities I have cited.

Lizzie the concept of planned obsolescence has been around as long as there have been people who manufacture goods. Repeat sales keep a company in business. :p :p :p


Gee whiz, do you always sum up your cases with razzberries? Bad form, counselor.

If there's obfuscating going on, I don't think it's me that's doing it. All I've done is cite facts -- and I think those facts speak for themselves.

But, as you say, it's fine to cling to an ideal that's been disproved if you want. Meanwhile, my '37 Electrolux keeps sucking up the dustballs.
 

Phineas Lamour

Practically Family
Messages
611
Location
Crossville, Tennessee
In my lifetime

Some things that have disappeared in my life time. I just turned 30 today.
Pay phones
Vinyl albums, 8 track, cassette, CD soon too
Cigarette machines
Smoking in public
Betamax,VHS,Laser disk,now DVD

Is 30 years really that long?
 

Carlisle Blues

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,154
Location
Beautiful Horse Country
LizzieMaine said:
Gee whiz, do you always sum up your cases with razzberries? Bad form, counselor.

If there's obfuscating going on, I don't think it's me that's doing it. All I've done is cite facts -- and I think those facts speak for themselves.

But, as you say, it's fine to cling to an ideal that's been disproved if you want. Meanwhile, my '37 Electrolux keeps sucking up the dustballs.

Lizzie I so not even like rasberries....lol lol lol I do like to play marbles though.:p :p

I do not disagree with the manufacturing process of vintage merchandise. I will say it this way. I agree with you...:)

The issue I have been disputing the originality and use of the term "planned obsolescence". As well as it's use in the manufacturing model. Like I said the examples I provided you are clearly sufficient to counter your author's thesis. :)
 

ThesFlishThngs

One Too Many
Messages
1,007
Location
Oklahoma City
I would think so, Diamondback. Imagine our parents and/or grandparents accepting the idea of junking something just to replace it with this year's better, fancier, more expensive, must-have model? They never would have fallen for it.
A lot of us don't necessarily 'fall for it' either it, but sometimes one has little choice. A lot of it must also be tied into the ever expanding media, the tool used to convince people their lives aren't complete without items X,Y, and Z. With more radio, newspaper, magazine, then television advertising revenue, it only stands to reason there had to be more things to sell to us.
 

LizzieMaine

Bartender
Messages
33,055
Location
Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
ThesFlishThngs said:
I would think so, Diamondback. Imagine our parents and/or grandparents accepting the idea of junking something just to replace it with this year's better, fancier, more expensive, must-have model? They never would have fallen for it.
A lot of us don't necessarily 'fall for it' either it, but sometimes one has little choice. A lot of it must also be tied into the ever expanding media, the tool used to convince people their lives aren't complete without items X,Y, and Z. With more radio, newspaper, magazine, then television advertising revenue, it only stands to reason there had to be more things to sell to us.

Very good point. "Planned Obsolesence" as used by the Depression-era pamphleteer London was basically a proposal to tax people for using goods past a government-mandated "expiry date," an idea which had more in common with Aldous Huxley than the term as used from the fifties onward. When industrial designer Brooks Stevens began pushing the term around the middle of the decade, he intended it primarily as a psychological obsolescence -- the idea was to make consumers so obsessed with superficial styling changes and superfluous features that they'd willingly discard perfectly workable merchandise in order to have something newer. There had always been elements of this in auto design, for example, but it was being taken to increasingly ridiculous extremes by the end of the fifties. Couple that with "functional obsolesence" -- the deliberate engineering of goods to fail or be unrepairable after a specified lifespan -- and you've got the gist of what commentators in the late fifties and early sixties were so up in arms about.

Some companies, commendably, made a deliberate effort to distance themselves from this trend -- the most notable example being Volkswagen, which marketed the original Beetle as a repudiation of the whole concept of "planned obsolescence," making only gradual, functional improvements in the basic 1930s technology of its original design, and mocking the whole idea of annual model changes for the sake of model changes.
 
And then there's the whole issue of "when PO meets determined Gearhead", like a certain community I know who finds the idea of tearing vehicles as old as I am apart and reconditioning them into "better than new" great fun. Hint for extending unibody-vehicle lives: welding on some subframe connectors goes a long way...
 

Forum statistics

Threads
107,269
Messages
3,032,620
Members
52,727
Latest member
j2points
Top