My 7 year old daughter was playing with a toy Fisher Price dial telephone.


She asked “How does this work?”


I had to explain how we had to “dial” a phone.


Remember slide rules? (I still use a slide rule: they’re great when you want to have a custom lookup table:  especially a circular slide rule. While in a foreign country, I just set the slide rule to the currency exchange rate, and it’s a straight lookup to compare prices in local currency to US Dollars.)



Certain fancy toys could  “talk”, you actually pulled a string which had a ring at the end?


Spent flashbulbs for cameras? You’d take a picture and the disposable bulb would be all melted.


Remember the days when a customer at a cash register paid by credit card and the clerk did a manual lookup of the credit card number in a weekly published pamphlet listing bad credit card numbers?


What does “Carriage Return” mean? I blogged about that and “typewriters” here.


Gas stations used to wash the windshields and even give out plates and mugs to customers.


S&H Green Stamps? Collect a bookful and redeem for prizes.


What about the days of having a TV Antenna ? Or of having to actually stand up and walk across the room to change the channel on a TV ? (another blog on color TVs and their relationship with the IBM PC here.)


Computers actually had blinking lights to indicate the contents of registers. Watch an old movie with a computer in it and you might see blinking lights and spinning tape drives.


Keeping score while bowling ? Our local bowling ally is all “computerized”.


An actual person answered a ringing phone: no such thing as answering machines.


Any other examples come to mind?