1. ROTARY DIAL PHONE
I grew up in a house with a rotary dial phone. It was a neat experience dialing a number and having the dial make a click click click sound as it snapped back. First introduced in 1904, it didn't enter the Bell Telephone System in the United States until 1919. It was replaced by the touch tone phone which first appeared at the World's Fair in 1964.
2. MANUAL TYPEWRITER
I first used a typewriter in typing class in high school. I was so pleased with myself when I reached 40 words a minute. We used an eraser which looked like a pencil to get rid of mistakes (or liquid paper). Canadian author Pierre Berton typed all of his manuscripts on a typewriter. By the 1990's, however, many people were using computers.
3. COFFEE PERCOLATOR
My in-laws used to buy fresh coffee beans, grind them with a coffee grinder, and pour them into a percolator to make coffee. It was a timely process but they swore that it made a better cup of coffee.
4. FLASH CUBE
My first camera had a flash cube. It was a little square black number which required a flash cube that was bigger than the camera. While it was a bit noisy, it took decent pictures.
5. RECORD PLAYER
In an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond called "Jazz Records", Frank is very upset because his son Robert accidentally destroyed all of his records as a child. Raymond thinks he will solve the problem by buying his father the same jazz albums, but on CD. Frank, however, is not happy with the CDs; he wants his records. Robert searches for the albums at a garage sale and gives them to Frank for Christmas. Frank is thrilled! He sits by the record player listening to the records, like bacon sizzling in a frying pan.
6. GAS STATION BELL
In the old full serve stations, a hose used to be stretched across the driveway of the station and when a car drove over it, it dinged, alerting the attendant that he had a customer. Most of us liked the convenience of full service. But my Dad, ever protective of his vehicles, used to jump out and serve himself before the attendant had a chance to do so.
7. TV STATION SIGN OFF
At 2 am, an announcer we come on to say "We now conclude our broadcast day.." This would be followed by a reading from "High Flight", the playing of the National Anthem and then a long beeeeeep which signified a test pattern. I also remember NBC announcing "It's 11 o'clock. Do you know where your children are?"
8. CASH REGISTER
Push button cash registers were slow. But once a cashier got into a rhythm, she could go pretty fast. I used a cash register as a teenager at Baskin Robbins. However, that model had flat rather than round buttons.
9. FILM PROJECTOR
I had a history teacher in Grade 7 and 8 who used to show a film every day. He would write the following information on the blackboard for us to copy down: Title, Number of Minutes, Colour or Black & White. Many of the films were still in black and white. Rob's Dad had a movie projector which he used to watch home movies. Rob's stepmother said that it sounded like a plane about to take off if was so loud.
10. TV CHANNEL SELECTOR
I remember standing up, walking over to the TV and turning the giant dial to change the channel. Once clickers arrived, it seemed like the men in the household often controlled them. In our house, my Dad would stretch out on the couch after dinner to watch the McNeil Lehrer Newshour. Inevitablly, he would doze off. We would try to sneak the clicker out of his hands, and he would open his eyes and announce: "I was watching that."