From pagers to floppy disks, these images are sure to confuse today’s kids.
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Gideon Mendel/Corbis via Getty Images
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Scott Beale/Smiling Squid/Flickr
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standalone GPS units
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SAMANTHA SIN/AFP via Getty Images
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Ross Land/Getty Images
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Ari Mintz/Newsday RM via Getty Images
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Viviane Moos/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
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dot matrix printers
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cathode ray tube televisions
Brandt Luke Zorn/Solomon203/Wikimedia Commons (photomontage illustration)
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Ricardo Funari/Brazil Photos/LightRocket via Getty Images
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George Karger/Getty Images
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With technology advancing every second the world turns, the lifespan of certain devices ends up being quite short. Some of these once groundbreaking objects were barely a decade old when we introduced their modern replacements. However, these pieces of old technology still hold a special place in the collective memory of society.
Some of us may remember people who eagerly bought stand-alone GPS units for their cars in the late 1980s. And by the late 1990s, anyone who was anyone seemed to have a PalmPilot device. But perhaps one of the most shocking recent additions to the dead list is Apple’s famous iPod.
After the release of the iPod in 2001, it was almost impossible to imagine anything topping it. And yet it happened, just six short years later, with the first iPhone. Now, according to Apple, even the most advanced version of the iPod touch has gone to that great charging station in the sky.
Not surprisingly, many of these technologies were made obsolete by the same device: the modern smartphone. In fact, some estimate that the smartphone can replace up to 50 devices, both analog and digital.
All that said, just because newer technology is available doesn’t automatically make older technology undesirable or undesirable. Just ask the many vintage tech collectors who scour eBay for that old VHS copy of Hallowe’en you just shot According to rant on screensome people are willing to pay hundreds or even thousands for certain rare VHS tapes.
And the humble VHS tape is far from the only piece of old technology that is still in high demand in the online marketplace today. Vintage typewriters, vintage cameras, and vintage media players are just a few other examples of devices that are still considered valuable by many collectors.
But another reason to reconsider throwing away old electronics is the impact this type of trash has on the environment. According to the world countsE-waste makes up about 70 percent of our overall toxic waste, and about 85 percent of that e-waste ends up in landfills and incinerators, where it often pollutes the surrounding land, water, and air.
As amazing as it is to see how far we’ve come with technology, it’s worth keeping in mind that some devices we use today may also be outdated in the future. After all, as long as there are people, there will be progress. In turn, there will be extinct technology. Alas, for every device we believe to be at the absolute peak of its mechanical function, there is another technological marvel ahead waiting to replace it.
After looking at these photos of ancient technology, delve into the little-known story of who invented the Internet. Then take a look at the world’s oldest computer and its fascinating origins.