Imagine getting paid to think up the wildest retro-futuristic space-age inventions. Back in the ’50s-’60s, that’s what commercial artist Arthur Radebaugh got to do.
Vintage inventions & discoveries
The Picturephone, an electronic moving picture device that debuted in the late 60s, let you video chat long before the internet, and way before Zoom, Google Meet, Facetime et al.
Do you recall playing with vintage clicker and Clacker toys trend of the early 60s and 70s. Inexpensive and fun hard plastic balls on strings, their popularity spread like wildfire over the course of just a few years.
Want to know how to make an old rotary phone work? Here’s your handy guide, straight from the 50s!
Starting when vintage portable radios were finally small enough to be carried in the 1950s, through when they got almost too big to carry in the ’80s, here’s a little sound history of AM & FM radios from the days of transistors onward.
The old Apple QuickTake digital camera was in stores from 1994 to 1997. There were three models – the 100, 150 and 200 – and offered a 640×480 image resolution.
Remember how yummy baby aspirin tasted? Flashback to those fever dreams of yore with this collection of everything vintage baby aspirin.
When vintage Instamatic cameras were introduced in the 60s, they came along with the invention of the quick-load film cartridge – and both were so affordable and easy to use that they were instantly successful. Flash back here!
Although penicillin was discovered in 1928 by Alexander Fleming, real research and production started in earnest in mid-1941, thanks to World War II.
The history of fitted sheets: A revolution in bed-making A lot of people may be surprised to know that fitted sheets — ones that weren’t
Cash register history goes back to the Victorian era, and were used to both streamline accounting, and to keep cashiers from stealing money. Find out more here!
It was on that memorable day in telephone history – June 2, 1875 – when Bell and Watson were testing a number of transmitters, connected by a single wire to a corresponding set of vibrating reed receivers, that the first sounds were transmitted electrically.
With better quality than fixed-lens Instamatic-style cameras, but far less complicated than standard SLR cameras, these vintage point-and-shoot 35mm cameras were just what people were looking for in the ’80s.
Retro air-pop popcorn makers like these were super popular in the ’70s and ’80s, because they made it so easy to make a big batch of perfectly puffed popcorn. Here’s a look back!
The Humpty Dumpty pinball machine was released in 1947, and was the first machine to include flippers the player could move, which required more skill – and that ushered in a whole new era of vintage pinball machines.
Look back at the biggest news in the universe on July 20, 1969 – the day we first landed on the lunar surface, walked on the moon, then went for a drive.
This new, revolutionary wall-mounted refrigerator and freezer that hangs from the wall is a completely new and advanced concept of modern living. Truly, it is the most convenient and magnificent refrigerator-freezer ever produced!
If you need a book, you used to need to look for the most important item in the library — the vintage card catalog.
Did Coca-Cola once have cocaine in it? Amazingly, yes. Originally marketed as a health drink when it debuted in the 1880s, Coca-Cola was said to cure everything from a migraine (aka “sick headache”) to physical exhaustion to depression.
These vintage selfies, several of which date back to the 1800s, prove that the desire to capture our own images has been around for a long time. Here’s how people took self-portraits with old cameras long ago!
ternational long-distance phone calls for ‘only’ $12 for the first three minutes? And this old ad said that price was low. See more about what it took to dial abroad back in the sixties here!
To help you remember the heyday of the Xerox, check out some vintage copy machines here – and be grateful that email and scanners have made running a business nowadays so much simpler.
Who invented television? Unfortunately for anyone looking for a quick answer, the first TV sets weren’t made by one single person — there were several inventors who were incredibly important to its creation and evolution. Here’s a look!
When you look back at how people talked about and used computers in the 1960s, it’s easy to get a feel for how exciting the technological advances were at the time. It was a whole new wild frontier.
Here’s the original press release that a small company called Apple released back in 1984, announcing the launch of their new Macintosh personal computer – the first mass-market PC with both a graphical user interface and a mouse.
Check out some of the vintage Cessna propeller planes you could buy back in the fifties, sixties and seventies. They were popular for business use, but were also owned by celebrities and hobbyists.
Find out about the famous B-17 Flying Fortress planes from WWII – how they were invented, built, tested and used – and what happened to them after the war was finally over.
United States astronauts who go to the moon may wear headgear designed and produced by a ladies’ milliner.
Back in 1920, lots of people – including media and leading scientists – thought there was an active society on Mars, and that the Martians wanted to talk to us. Find out why they believe that here.
When the old Victrola record players were first introduced, those turntables were some cutting-edge tech. Here’s a look at the history of the famous Victor Talking Machines!
These vintage personal computers from the ’80s weren’t just expensive, but some had hard drives so small that just one of these old PC ad images would have maxed them out.
The 1970s personal computer revolution began as those ingenious devices that put men on the moon, revolutionized science, and perplexed millions were finding their way into the home.
Edward Jenner, the discoverer of vaccination – including the smallpox vaccine – and one of the greatest benefactors of the human race, performed his first test experiment in 1796.
The dance music of the Edison Phonograph is irresistible. It offers the most fascinating waltzes and spirited two-steps of the world’s, great composers as well as the popular dance music of the hour.
Vintage IBM electric typewriters from the ’60s, like the Executive and the Selectric, were marketed to help executives – and secretaries – manage an increasing business workload at a time when more and more white collar jobs were being created.
What was vintage ’80s tech like? The Good Guys were a big consumer electronics specialty retailer selling brand-name audio and video gear. See the hottest retro TVs, stereos and more from 1987!
Whether plain or fancy, antique kerosene lamps like these were more than home decor – they made it possible for people to work and play late into the night. Find out more here!
When these vintage Zenith ‘Space Command’ TV remote controls first came out, they were revolutionary tech – and everyone wanted one.
Here’s a little guide from the thirties to teach people how to make art using their vintage manual typewriters – pretty much old-fashioned ascii art and old-school smileys!
Samuel Colt, the millionaire inventor of the famous Colt revolver, died when he was just 47 years old. Here’s a look back at the original obituary for one of the wealthiest men in America before the Civil War.
What’s the history of golf balls? The first ones were made of leather of untanned bull’s hide – but golf balls have changed a lot over the years. Here’s a look!
These retro cash registers were big news because they showed the prices, item types, total purchased, tax (if any), money or check given checker, and exact change due.
Winchester rifles for all kinds of hunting (1905) Winchester rifles are not the choice of any one special class, but of all intelligent sportsmen who go to the
Lennie’s Story: How Hub Prodigy, Bernstein, became “Nation’s No. 1 Musician.” What kind of man, husband and father is Boston’s musical genius, Leonard Bernstein? When
When color TV was first invented, people wondered if you could convert a black & white TV to color, and which shows would appear in color – and when. Here are some of the answers they were given.
The measles vaccine was invented because it was a common but dangerous disease that could cause inflammation of the brain – and could also be fatal.
Known as the speaking clock or POPCORN, calling the phone company for the time was a handy service helped people reset clocks years ago.
Inventor Thomas Edison’s mansion home in New Jersey housed both new inventions and priceless antiques – and was where his children were born, and where he died.
Imagine being able to call someone when you *weren’t at home*! It was a big deal back in the day. See the history of vintage payphones & phonebooths here!
For years, curious kids have loved experimenting with vintage chemistry sets and science kits like these with countless things to explore!
Back in 1961, a little 37-pound chimpanzee named Ham helped pave the way for human astronauts to launch into space.
If you grew up in the age of film, you will know the excitement that came from vintage instant cameras, like these ones from Polaroid and Kodak.