The Technology of the Past


An old school Italian's take on yesterday's innovations.

The following article was written by Tony Traficante, a Contributing Editor for ISDA

We live in a futuristic world of high-tech gadgets. Computers, iPads, driverless autos, gizmos that think for themselves and talk to you, trips to the moon, and well you get the point. Some will adapt; some will have considered them evil; others will wait until dragged to the trough, then some people shall remain blissfully challenged.

Our parents lived in a simple world where technological advances kept in step with them. They accepted new equipment, if affordable, one gadget at a time. We forgot about many of the innovations our parents went through, thinking they came with Adam and Eve. But to refresh your memory, here are a few tech changes of those times; maybe you might read about them.

At breakfast, the first toaster was a simple but efficient device. Placed on a burner, it toasted up tp four slices of thick homemade Italian bread, at a time. By manually turning the bread slices, the toaster did a decent job. The only problem about this item: it had to be under constant surveillance to ensure the bread didn’t jump out at you!

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Also, in the kitchen, was the latest stove mode, complete with two ovens, four burners and a ledge for condiments. Sitting on the back side of one of the burners, one might find a container of rendered fat, ready for any frying need.

Not many folks had electric, or gas refrigerators. Instead, more families depended on the ‘ice-box’ and delivery of 25-pound blocks of ice for refrigeration. Not a bad looking piece of furniture.

What a delight when the new washing machines arrived. Gone were the old scrub boards and tubs…along with bruised knuckles. The new machines were partially automated. The agitator operated by electricity, but the wringer was hand-cranked. The washtubs were filled by hoses connected to spigots.

Not many homes had the newfangled mechanical dryers, but no matter, Moms preferred drying the wash “alfresco.” What a site it was in the winter, when you went to rescue a bed sheet off the line only to find it was stiff as a board! Try folding them, babies!

Wash-and-wear clothing hardly existed then. Almost everything that was laundered had to be ironed — even underwear! The “mangle” ironing device came along to replace the old-fashioned handheld irons. It didn’t survive. Way too complicated, and expensive!

Dads didn’t escape the age of technology but they were slower to accept new changes. As new tools and equipment came along, some men stubbornly refused to acknowledge “them thar blasted lectric thangs.” If they had their way, they would still be cranking their Model “T’s.”

Here’s to the greatest new advancement, ever — indoor plumbing. Among other things, it ended those frigid trips to the outdoor “bachaus,” to the warmth of the indoors! Moreover, gone were the skeeved, malodorous chamber pots.

Finally, to the joy of all teens, the new and improved home telephone arrived; try carrying one of those in your pocket. Wouldn’t be half bad, if you could text with them. Not all families owned one. Even if you did, you shared the line, with others. So, how did that go? “Hey, get off the ‘#%&!’ line, I’m talking!”

“Although I like my new telephone, my computer works fine, my calculator is perfect, but Lord, I miss my mind!”

⁓Author Unknown⁓

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