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.
Vintage science & classic technology
50s phones were more than just a means of communication — they were pretty household decorations!
Flash back a few decades to see the Kodak Instamatic camera – which defined amateur photography for a generation & inspired the digital photography of another!
The world of photography experienced a fascinating phenomenon in the late 20th century — the rise of disposable cameras.
Reel-to-reel tape recorders hit the commercial market in the 1940s — and their evolution was boosted by the financial support of none other than Bing Crosby, who saw great potential in the technology.
A rancher near the Roswell crash site sparked the UFO conspiracy theory when he saw flying discs that disappeared and reappeared. Before long, UFO-mania took over the country.
Looking back over the history of vintage camcorders showcases the incredible advancements in technology we have experienced over the years.
We’ve collected some popular vintage home movie cameras that paved the way for video and camcorder technology — and, eventually, the digital video revolution as we experience it today.
The incorporation of more advanced features into portable machines marked a new era of convenience and accessibility, and these compact and user-friendly manual typewriters became more versatile and efficient than ever before.
The 50s and 60s were the glory days for old drive-in movie theaters, when there were about 4000 such venues spread across the country. Take a look back!
Let’s take a dive into the nostalgic maze of the original Pac-Man game – plus see point values and scoring, plus home and arcade version of the OG and his family, including Ms and Baby Pac Man!
First flying in the 1960s, the famous Boeing 747 airplane was not only bigger and more powerful than any other plane, but was a major technological marvel. See the jets inside and out, and how they looked during construction!
Check out some old how-to info and classic ads from the early days of 1970s microwave ovens, with tips on how to use what is now the most basic of kitchen appliances!
This classic advice from the 1970s helped consumers choose and take care of audio cassette tapes.
Intellivision gaming systems from the 80s were supposed to be more realistic than anything else available at the time. You may be surprised to see (or remember) how simplistic and pixelated the games really were!
Living rooms changed entirely when these vintage console stereos came on the market – they were technology and furniture all in one!
Join us as we journey through futurism history, exploring predictions made about the future by those from the past!
These vintage touch-tone phones – featuring push buttons, speed and musical tones – represented a totally new signaling system, and opened the way to increased versatility in communications.
From the Pantheon to skyscrapers: Modern concrete rises through the ages Concrete is one of the most versatile construction and design products available — one
In the early 1950s, an atomic energy lab kit for kids hit the toy store shelves. The thing was *actually radioactive*. The set had real uranium ore, and children could conduct real scientific experiments. Here’s what they were like!
Back in the 1920s, footwear manufacturers and merchants decided that X-ray shoe fittings could bring in lots of customers – people who would be thrilled to let a recent scientific advance help them find the perfect shoe. There was just a little problem…
Anyone who lived through the great videotape format war of the late 1970s to early 1980s will never forget the big question: VHS or Beta? Here’s the Betamax side – the player that ultimately lost.
On the way to today’s super-simple, pregnancy test sticks that give results in minutes, women had to use these chemistry set-style vintage home pregnancy test kits, then wait hours for a result.
Old pregnancy test sticks like these were a huge step forward, and meant that millions of women finally had a way to find out they were pregnant without going to the doctor, and without having to do a more complicated liquid chemistry test.
The Kodak Disc camera was was lightweight, foolproof (with auto-exposure and built-in flash), affordable, and used a brand new kind of film cartridge… but it was only sold for six years.
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.
People were used to big records, but then the music industry wanted everyone to adopt a new format and a new size, and came out with 45 RPM record players and 7″ vinyl records with a big hole in the middle.
For years, curious kids have loved experimenting with vintage chemistry sets and science kits like these with countless things to explore!
Imagine getting paid to think up the wildest retro-futuristic space-age inventions. Back in the 50s and 60s, that’s what commercial artist Arthur Radebaugh got to do.
The insights and inventions of Dr George Washington Carver – which he gave freely to the world – revolutionized the South, and helped millions out of poverty.
The old VTech PreComputer 1000 from the 80s was a small 3-in-1 computer ‘teacher’ that helped kids learn touch typing and basic computer programming – plus had a 3500-word dictionary, and knew more than 1000 facts
Disneyland’s old Carousel of Progress from the ’60s was a huge model of a city of soaring spires. Automated highways. Open green spaces. Nuclear power. Take a look back!
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.
Want to know how to make an old rotary phone work? Here’s your handy guide, straight from the 50s!
These vintage Princess phones were enormously popular in the sixties, with their compact style and backlit dial. Here’s a look back!
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.
Although penicillin was discovered in 1928 by Alexander Fleming, real research and production started in earnest in mid-1941, thanks to World War II.
Olc 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.
If you remember the old ‘Reach out – reach out and touch someone’ long distance ad jingle, you probably just sang those words in your head! Look back at some of these vintage TV commercials, and find out how the ditty came together here!
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.
If you lived through the seventies and eighties, you can probably immediately remember the sound that these vintage dot matrix printers used to make. See and hear them again here!
On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 took off for the moon – a historic mission for Americans, and for people all around the globe. See vintage newspaper headlines from that day here!
Old-fashioned dentistry in the early 1900s had come a long way since the Wild West days, but, compared to what we have available in the 21st century, it might as well have been the Dark Ages. Take a look!
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.
Two big questions that have emerged over the years: Did George Washington have wooden false teeth? Did George Washington’s dentures include actual human teeth that came from slaves? Find out here!
What do your dreams mean? How much significance should you give to the symbols in your dreamscapes? See what Sigmund Freud, famously known as the father of psychoanalysis, had to suggest back in 1916.
For years, electricity was produced by burning coal because few options existed? Peruse these vintage ads to see how the pro-fission profession once professed their preference for the promotion of nuclear power.
Years ago, old-fashioned clock radios like these were on pretty much every bedside table around America, both lulling us to sleep with music and radio shows, and getting us up for work in the morning.
The basic concept hasn’t changed much in 100 years, but vintage Erector Sets like these are still popular, still inspiring creativity, and still being used to build everything from mini roller coasters to motorized robots.
Ad Astra… to the stars! John Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth, and he did it on the Mercury spacecraft named Friendship 7, on February 20, 1962. Here’s how it went.
Here, see what experts then were saying a century ago about how the height of women has changed over the years. They suggested that women were indeed growing taller – and modern data backs that up.
In the 1960s, Douglas was one of the biggest airplane manufacturers in America. Their DC-9, which first flew in 1965, was built to service both large and small airports, setting it apart from other planes of the era.
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.
The AMSTRAD Word Processor was compact… for the time! One box held the whole shebang – the monitor, keyboard and printer, plus word processing software.
The demand for ’60s computer programmers was huge as business, industry, science, education and government all raced to reap the benefits of new technology. Here’s a look!
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.
Here are some of the vintage Beechcraft propeller airplanes some people were buying back in the sixties and seventies. As these ads reflect, these small planes were most commonly used by corporate executives,
“A frightened, crying child’s ability to dial 0 for the operator in case of emergency could save a life. Your child’s life. Maybe yours.”
In the ’70s, there were millions of people using Vintage CB radios – having a world of conversations and learning about the important reasons to keep citizens’ band radio active.
If you could go back in time, these are the vintage ’80s home stereo systems – turntables, cassette decks, stereos, TVs and VCRs – you probably would have seen. But if you go back, don’t spoil the surprise! We thought we were cool.
United States astronauts who go to the moon may wear headgear designed and produced by a ladies’ milliner.
When Founding Father Benjamin Franklin died in 1790, newspapers published an account of Franklin’s last illness and death, his obituary, and even the epitaph he wrote for himself.
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 980s personal computers 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.
Here’s how to choose a turntable that will make your vintage vinyl records come alive, based on all the retro tips on what really made a difference back in the day.
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!
When these vintage Zenith ‘Space Command’ TV remote controls first came out, they were revolutionary tech – and everyone wanted one.
Far out! Check out these vintage portable radios – like the Panasonic Toot-A-Loop and others from the seventies that came in crazy shapes and colors.
Even astronomers were wondering if Halley Comet in 1910 would live up to the spectacular sky shows it had given on its previous 75-year cycles. They weren’t disappointed.
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.
Even back when telephones had rotary dials, advances were made in these old office telephone systems that worked like mini-switchboards. See some here!
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!
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.
Nikola Tesla’s life story is notable, as he saw the world of the covered wagon turn into today’s world of electricity & electronics – and he was a big part of how that happened.
Kodak Brownie cameras revolutionized the way we took photos in the early 20th century, and suddenly made photography a popular hobby.
Albert Einstein was a man whose life, philosophies, discoveries and theories changed the way we looked at the world, and at life itself. Find out about him here.
Predictions of the future from the early 1900s included the idea that a subway shuttle across New York City would be replaced with a moving sidewalk built in three sections, one of which would offer seating.
While demonstrating a prototype of the Boeing 707 passenger jet, the pilot decided to show just how remarkable the plane was… and flew it upside down. Twice.
The classic Nintendo Entertainment System came with a robot, a light-sensing video gun, ‘true-to-life’ graphics and a library of games. Here’s a look!
In 1967, a flash fire killed the prime crew of the Apollo 1/Saturn 204 mission. Astronauts Virgil I. Grissom, Edward H. White II, and Roger B. Chaffee lost their lives.
Watches are popular gift items, and as many as seven out of every 10 digital watches are bought by customers as gifts for someone else. Prices begin as low as about $10 and run up into the hundreds of dollars for either of two different types of digital watches.
Back in the late ’80s we were happy for some of the first laptop computers, despite being big and heavy with tiny hard drives and huge price tags.
It’s not just today’s kids – the metric system has actually been ignored by people for more than two hundred years. But why isn’t it catching on, and what has been done to promote it? Here’s a look back.
Clyde Tombaugh, a Kansas farmer, loved astronomy, and cemented his name in history by discovering Pluto. Here’s how he found it.
Nikola Tesla filed a US Patent for his improvements on Ben Franklin’s almost 200-year-old lightning rod design.
Find out how X-rays were discovered, see the earliest X-rays, learn where the name came from, and meet Wilhelm Röntgen – the man behind the innovation.
Here’s a classic timesaving, money-saving dictating machine – the vintage Dictaphone Time-Master – plus other old dictation devices.
Jack Swigert, the emergency substitute member of the Apollo 13 crew, is a swinging bachelor with a playboy-type pad — but he would rather fly than play.