Apr 02, 2013

What's the oldest piece of technology that you still use?

We now live in an upgrade society - with smartphones that are obsolete within weeks, gone are the days where a piece of technology lasts more than 10 years.

What's the oldest piece of technology (it should at least run on batteries or electric power - furniture, utensils, clothing and hardware don't count) that you own? How old is it? Can it be upgraded? Why haven't you upgraded it?
I have a Hallicrafters Skyrider23 shortwave receiver made somewhere between 1938-1939.

I have AVO meter model40 from about 1940, still working well.

I have a Commodore 64c 8bit home computer from about 1985 and and Acorn Electron from the same period.
Just to let you know, the oldest piece of electronic techonology that I have is an Atwater Kent radio, built in 1896, 3 tube set, and it works. The second oldest is a RCV Victor Portable radio that takes two people to carry it. One carries the radio, the other carries the batteries - first built in 1901 - it also still works.
You seem to have you dates and facts more than a little messed up.

The Atwater Kent Manufacturing Co., founded by inventor Arthur Atwater Kent in the early 1920s (Born Dec 3, 1873, and died: 1949) Sold it's 'model 3925' radio in 1922.


Marconi (One of most well known, early radio pioneers) , on 17 December 1902 achieved the first transatlantic transmission.

The Fleming radio valve was not invented until 1919.

The first mass/commercial radio broadcasting did not happen until the early 1920's.

The RCA Victor Portable radio was NOT made or sold in 1901!! RCA, in 1929 the company purchased the Victor Talking Machine Company, creating RCA Victor.

Please get your fact right.

Since you did not ask for a specific piece of equipment or brand.... My business still uses the FAX machine over the PSTN (Public Service Telephone Network). It's the second oldest form of electronic communcations still in existance. The oldest was sent into oblivion a few years ago when Western Union sent its last telegraph. And you thought the telephone was the older? Nope. The fax machine, an adaptation of Morse's telegraph, was invented some 30 years BEFORE Alex Bell called for Watson on his telephone. Shortly after Bell's invention of the phone, Morse's telegraph was upgraded into Wireless and is still being used by countless Amatuer Radio operators worldwide.

I have a rotary dial telephone that I use when there is a power outage.  The ring just about sends the dog through the ceiling.

I still own a really old Macbook Pro. That's probably my oldest piece of technology, though I don't really use it these days. It still works fine though.

In the basement, where the electric meters (and ancient fuse boxes) are, overhead there's an oversize cermic socket with a string-pull switch, used only when reading meter or hunting for scraps of wood, holding a three-way Mazda-type bulb which probably burned out its 200 watt filament but still works on 100.  It was there when we moved in August 1979.  The heating system is a lot older than that.

Plus we have one of those lovely mono FM radios with the 4" speaker with a 5 lb. magnet on it made by KLH in the early 60's, still works beautifully; and our  big stereo, much newer, drives KLH speakers I bought just after they came out c. 1963 to go with a Scott kit I built then.  These KLH speakers sold for around $50 each, each box containing two of those 4" speakers with the huge magnets and the low-pass network with allowed great sound very inefficiently but very cheap first cost.

And how about a jar wrench, still as good as any, using rack-and-pinion.  It was a wedding present to my parents in 1934, or perhaps was my maternal grandmother's (she died in 1936.)


My Sharp microwave; simple and dependable.  The timer no longer causes the cooking to stop, but in a house with only adults, we can just open the door at the ding.  Bought in 1979.


My old Motorola Sidekick has, I think, Android 1.2 .


Once in a while, I still hook up my ColecoVision game console from 1983. Everything still works, which is amazing. The oldest thing I still use regularly is a 1st generation Bose Wave CD from the late 90s. I ordered it from an infomercial after a night out with friends in college - thanks beer. It cost around $500, which I could in no way afford at the time, but since I still use it and it still sounds good, I feel a lot better about it now than I did the morning after I ordered it. It often gets used as a killer speaker for my laptop when I watch movies, since I haven't bought a new CD is years.


I still have my original Atari 2600 system and a bunch of games - finding a TV that accepts the inputs can be an issue. I'd love to play an old ColecoVision - do you still have Donkey Kong?


Also, we have a Bose Wave CD player - but I think we got it in the 2000s, not the '90s, so i'm still trying to think of something that I still use from the '90s or '80s.


I have a Sony Trinitron (one of the flat screen CRT TVs) also from the late 90s that I use for vintage gaming systems to make it easier. The ColecoVision was pretty impressive at the time. Moving up from the 2600, it really did seem like it was "arcade quality." Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong, Jr., Zaxxon and Popeye were the games I still own that my friends and I mostly played. DK Jr is the one that has probably aged the best. Coleco had some kind of weird distribution agreement with Sega and Nintendo, so you get a small but above average library with the ColecoVision. If you like vintage games, you should check out some of the Angry Video Game Nerd videos. The Nerd videos are hilarious, but very profane and NSFW.  They are on YouTube and Cinemassacre.


My sewing machine. Purchased in 1995.


I'd have to argue with restricting to modern: how about wheel, wedge, screw (which combines them), metal alloys, etc.

If you insist on "moden", then incandescent light bulbs of the Edison derivation; not replaced because nobody seems to make affordable bulbs of 3-way with lumens as high as the 50-200-250 watts incandescents.


How old is the oldest light bulb in your house?


The question should be qualifid to 'still in use'...

My McIntosh tube am purchased in 1976

My turntable purchased in '79



My first (Spartus) alarm clock (circa 1984). Looks like this.

I haven't upgraded it because it still works.
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