Blast from the Past: Five Pieces of Retro Tech
At the rate technology is developing, it can be easy to overlook how much things have changed in such a short period of time. It might be difficult to imagine a day without smart phones, tablets or even the internet, but the tech that the previous generations grew up with (and may still use!) will most likely be unrecognisable against what's popular today.
Time to get nostalgic...
Seiko-Epson TV Watch
As far as wearable tech went in the '80s, the Seiko TV Watch was about as good as it got. Released in 1982, it featured a liquid crystal display set in a standard digital watch, which could supposedly stream live television. But unfortunately, due to the lack of backlight on the dinky 1.2-inch blue LCD display, the poor image definition made it almost impossible to watch. Still, it did grant Seiko the title of 'world's first TV wristwatch'.
These days, vacuum cleaners are light, agile machines that require very little effort to get the job done - some don't even need pushing around and can robotically guide themselves around the home! But go back sixty years or-so and it was quite a different story. The Hoover Junior was introduced by Hoover Limited in the 1930s and was a bulky, upright cleaner largely constructed from metal, with a removable fabric dust bag which needed cleaning out and replacing once full. With its weight and cumbersome build, pushing this around the home made for a tiring task. But nevertheless, this was a hard-wearing device which saw many users through some reliable years of cleaning.
Computers today are continually getting slimmer, faster, sharper and sleeker, but a mere thirty years ago the Commodore 64 would have been the trendiest thing going. Introduced in 1982 by Commodore International, this 8-bit machine was many households' first computer, and still ranks today as the highest-selling single computer model of all time. Its 64k of memory, ability to display sixteen colours and smoothly scroll graphics were revolutionary of the time, but excitement was undeniably dampened by its painfully slow loading times of up to 30 minutes a time!
Credit: Daily Herald Archive
Once a luxury item only found in homes of the wealthy upper class, now an appliance that few kitchens go without, the dishwasher has come a long way over the past seventy years. The Colston dishwasher pictured was first released in the 1960s and would have set you back 85 guineas. It operated by a single rotating spin tube located in the middle of the device and was gravity draining. But whilst the compact 17"-deep design meant it could sit comfortably on the kitchen countertop, it couldn't hold much more than a couple of cups and saucers, leaving larger and more heavily soiled items such as pots and pans to be done by hand.
Before the days of iPods, making music portable was a challenge which Sony first solved in 1979 when they released their first Walkman cassette player. But unlike the neat, lightweight build of today's mp3 players, this boxy device also required users to carry cassette tapes and spare AA batteries alongside separately, and the tape to be flipped and reinserted halfway through! But, as the world's first low-cost portable stereo, there's no surprise that this was one of Sony's best-selling products to date.
Now that we've looked back in time, it's time to look ahead to the tech of tomorrow. To find out which products you should be looking out for in 2015 click here.
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