Walkman Turns 40 (And Other Vintage Gadgets You’ve Never Heard Of)
Once upon a time, digital downloads only existed in the imaginations of madmen. Long before the internet and the iPod, one gadget ruled the land of portable music players and it was called simply: the Walkman. It was July 1979, and the world had been waiting a long time for something this cutting-edge. Now, 40 years later, the Walkman is nothing more than a ghost from a bygone era.
How quickly today’s technological breakthroughs become tomorrow’s trash heap. So before you get too excited about the latest gadget, gizmo, or must-have app, remember these popular inventions that once dominated the world in the palm of our hands.
Photo: RyanJLane (Getty Images)
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The Brick Phone
The Motorola DynaTAC 8000X (aka the brick phone) was the first commercially available cell phone to hit the U.S. market back in 1983. With a price tag of $4,000, the phone offered 30 minutes of talk time and only took 10 hours to charge. Owning one of these shoeboxes showed the world that you were rich, popular, and super cool.
Also debuting in 1983 was the handheld video cassette recorder. Sleek (for the time) and affordable, the Camcorder became the go-to device for capturing dance recitals, talent shows, and test-runs of souped-up DeLoreans.
Electornic Pocket Organizer
The wizards at Sharp designed this personal organizer to help business tycoons and young professionals on the go keep their lives organized and on track. Incredibly limited in scope and difficult to use, proud owners of the Wizard OZ-570 could schedule appointments, type memos, and even save a person's phone number. It was truly a marvel of 20th century ingenuity.
Nintendo Power Glove
For only $79, young gamers in October of 1989 could get their hands inside the Power Glove. Though the device was completely inaccurate and difficult to use, thanks to an amazing marketing campaign (including a feature in the movie The Wizard), everyone wanted one. Amazingly, the Power Glove was discontinued the following year.
Back in the day, most phones plugged into the wall and had to be dialed using a circular finger board. Nines and zeroes took the longest to dial, so any of your friends who had a lot of nines and zeroes in their phone number often didn't get invited to the Taco Bell.
Starting in 1874 and continuing on for more than 100 years, if a letter needed to be written, it was written on a typewriter. The letters on the keyboard were daubed in ink and hammered onto the page with the press of a finger. These machines were loud, messy, and extremely romantic. Now the only people who use them are kindhearted hipsters claiming to write the next "great American novel."
When VHS took over the home movie market sometime in the mid '80s, people thought they would last forever. And while many still do have "coveted" VHS collections tucked away somewhere in the attic, the fleeting technology dominated for only a decade before the digital age came knocking.
Developed during WWII, the Walkie-talkie is a two-way radio transceiver used for sending and receiving messages via ultra-high-frequency airwaves over short distances. Because the technology uses Earth's natural frequency range, the device is highly reliable. But it can't send selfies, so it's pretty much useless.
The Watchman did for movies what the Walkman did for music. Now people could finally watch The Shinning on a 2 1/2-inch display while taking a shit in the woods. Fun.