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35 Ordinary Things That Look Completely Different Years Later

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If you were born in the eighties or earlier, you’ll know first-hand how immensely the world has changed in just a few short decades. The inventions of the past, which seemed so new, modern and exciting at the time, are today almost laughable.

With new developments cropping up at a rate that we can’t keep up with, it’s easy to forget how things looked and worked in the past. We’ve put together a compilation of 35 ordinary things that look completely different today than before.

1. Cosmetology

If you’ve ever had any sort of cosmetic procedure today, the treatment was probably fairly relaxing and not painful in the slightest. Looking back at some of the tools and devices that were used in the last century is, quite frankly, terrifying. But these weren’t torture devices – though they give a whole new meaning to “enduring anything to look good”.

Savehttps://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A4%D0%B0%D0%B9%D0%BB:Facial_mask.jpg
Source: Wikipedia

2. Cars

100 years ago, even owning a car was considered a luxury. In the very early 1900s, the first “fancy” car was released by Henry Ford, even though mandatory driving tests and training wasn’t a thing throughout the US until decades later.

Savehttps://www.pexels.com/photo/photography-of-blue-wagon-audi-1035108/
Source: Wikipedia, Pexels

3. Refrigerators

Trying to imagine a life without refrigerators is nearly impossible, yet it wasn’t until the early 1900s that they were being manufactured for widespread use. The early refrigerators were much smaller, and much more basic, than the refrigerators of today.

Savehttps://www.pexels.com/photo/silver-side-by-side-refrigerator-3637728/
Source: Wikipedia, Pexels

4. Pens

Pens were once more hassle than they were worth. We’ve actually been writing with “pens” since the days of the Ancient Egyptians, who used reed brushes to do the job. The first “modern” pens contained ink cartridges that needed to be refilled, whereas nowadays, a standard pen is simply thrown in the trash after running out of ink.

Savehttps://www.pexels.com/photo/pen-silver-steel-tool-1025585/
Source: Wikipedia, Pexels

5. Chickens

Our chickens of the past tended to be smaller and skinnier, especially their heads and legs. This was because of their breeding conditions, as well as the nutrition they were given access to. Chickens today are much larger, owing to the steroids and hormones in their diets and their better living conditions.

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Source: Tsekhmister/depositphotos

6. Telephone

Many of us don’t even have a landline telephone anymore, not when mobile phones are portable, smaller and much easier to use. The first telephone was invented in 1876, and had two separate pieces: one for speaking and one for listening. Calling someone was one big fuss of switchboards and connections and waiting patiently for your recipient to come on the line. Now we need only type in a person’s name and give them a call at the touch of a button.

Savehttps://www.pexels.com/photo/positive-office-worker-talking-on-mobile-phone-sitting-at-desk-4491496/
Source: Wikipedia, Pexels

7. Children’s toys

What’s pretty fascinating is that there are records of children and babies having toys that go way back into Ancient Greece. The toys we’re familiar with now are made from plastic, wood and soft fabrics, and are usually brightly colored and visually stimulating. The earliest toy ever found, from a tomb dating 950–900 BCE, appears to be made from some sort of dark wood or metal.

Savehttps://www.pexels.com/photo/child-holding-brown-and-green-wooden-animal-toys-3661264/
Source: Wikipedia, Pexels

8. Cinema

Not so long ago, the idea of being able to watch a movie from your own TV screen at home, often without even paying exclusively for the privilege, would have been unimaginable. The first ever movies of the past were screened only on occasion, were made in a single shot, and weren’t often accompanied by sound.

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Source: The Cameraman / MGM, The Wolf of Wall Street / Рaramount Pictures

9. Music playing devices

Many of us today don’t think much about our mobile phones and their ability to play whatever song we’d like at the touch of a button. But looking back in time at the gramophone makes us realize just how simple life is today. Gramophones looked a bit like tubas, and they certainly weren’t portable. Far from having unlimited access to millions of songs, you could only play the physical records that you owned on them.

Savehttps://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-in-black-crew-neck-t-shirt-wearing-white-headphones-3767420/
Source: Wikipedia, Pexels

10. Touchscreen devices

Bet you never knew that touchscreen has actually been around since the 1970s. Of course, it looked very different back then, but even with a much lower accuracy, you could still carry out basic actions by touching various parts of a screen. Back when it was more widely introduced, touchscreen was much more commonly found in the medical sector, whereas now, we couldn’t imagine life without it.

Savehttps://pixabay.com/ru/%D1%81%D0%BC%D0%B0%D1%80%D1%82%D1%84%D0%BE%D0%BD-%D0%BC%D0%BE%D0%B1%D0%B8%D0%BB%D1%8C%D0%BD%D1%8B%D0%B9-%D1%82%D0%B5%D0%BB%D0%B5%D1%84%D0%BE%D0%BD-1894723/
Source: Reddit, Pixabay

11. Bicycle

The bicycle concept hasn’t changed much since it first came around, but we have to question why the original design was so bizarelly high off the ground. Getting onto the bicycle in the first place would have been a nightmare – and there doesn’t seem to be a clear way of stopping safely. Thank goodness for the much friendlier bicycles of today.

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https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-riding-bicycle-on-city-street-310983/
Source: Wikipedia, Pexels

12. Sewing machines

100 years ago, the idea of a sewing machine being portable and lightweight seemed impossible. The first sewing machines were connected to their own table, and had pedals for controlling speed on the floor. Nowadays, sewing machines come in all shapes and sizes, but tend to be light and compact enough to easily move from one place to another.

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https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-sewing-2249290/
Source: Wikipedia, Pexels

13. Razors

While we definitely weren’t as clever as cavepeople, we still needed to cut our hair. According to some cave art, it seems the first “razors” were made from sharpened animal teeth and shells, though these were later abandoned in favor of knives. Whether you love or loathe shaving, you have to admit, we’ve got it a lot easier today.

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https://pixabay.com/ru/%D0%B1%D1%80%D0%B8%D1%82%D0%B2%D0%B0-%D0%B1%D1%8B%D1%82%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%B0%D1%8F-%D1%82%D0%B5%D1%85%D0%BD%D0%B8%D0%BA%D0%B0-8309/
Source: Wikipedia, Pixabay

14. Washing machines

It really wasn’t so long ago that we had to wash our clothes by hand, so when the first washing machines were invented, thousands of women across the country probably rejoiced. The first washing machines of the 19th century ran by steam power, and someone without much history knowledge would never guess what they are.

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https://www.pexels.com/photo/grayscale-photography-of-front-load-washers-2347642/
Source: Wikipedia, Pexels

15. Laptops

The idea of having a portable computer that didn’t need to be connected up to a large unit was once almost unthinkable. The earliest laptops looked more like giant calculators with tiny screens. They were very heavy, at more than 20 pounds, so you couldn’t exactly slip them in your purse like you can with some smaller models today.

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https://pixabay.com/ru/mac-%D1%84%D1%80%D0%B8%D0%BB%D0%B0%D0%BD%D1%81%D0%B5%D1%80-macintosh-macbook-459196/
Source: Wikipedia, Pixabay

16. Vacuum cleaner

If you used to be scared of vacuum cleaners as a child, look away now – the first vacuum cleaners were pretty terrifying in design. Not only that, but they look clunky and extremely heavy to operate. While the design of vacuum cleaners is still fairly similar today, they’re now much more lightweight and easy to use. We even have robot vacuums that we can set to do the hard work for us.

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https://www.pexels.com/photo/round-robot-vacuum-844874/
Source: Wikipedia, Pexels

17. Hard drives

We still use hard disk drives to store our data today, but they’ve changed immensely over the past few decades. Remember floppy disks? They used to be a really popular form of storage, though they could only store a limited number of images or files. The hard drives of today can store thousands and thousands of items.

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https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%96%D1%91%D1%81%D1%82%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%B9_%D0%B4%D0%B8%D1%81%D0%BA#/media/File:Laptop-hard-drive-exposed.jpg
Source: Wikipedia

18. Showers

Taking a shower was never much fun several decades ago, and many of us will remember the disappointment of running out of hot water and having to wash in the cold. Old-fashioned showers were pretty basic, and they’re gradually being phased out in favor of built-in shower units.

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https://pxhere.com/en/photo/937920
Source: Wikimedia Commons, Pxhere

19. Playgrounds

Someone take us back in time so we can experience the playgrounds of the past! They might look like deathtraps – and what a nightmare if your kid ended up stuck on top of one of the tall ladders – but to an adventurous child, they must have felt like a theme park. Our playgrounds of today are much more health and safety conscious.

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2009-04-21_Hampton_Forest_Apartment_Homes_playground.jpg
Source: Flickr, Wikimedia Commons

20. Dogs

Dog breeding has changed our favorite four-legged friends in many ways. There’s lots of money to be had in breeding dogs and selling puppies, and those who have made businesses out of the hobby have bred dogs to have the most appealing physical traits. Unfortunately, for some dogs, like the German shepherd, this breeding has led to an increase in health issues.

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https://www.forgottenbooks.com/en/readbook/DogsofAllNations_10020815#62
Source: Karoliina T, Dogs of All Nations

21. Fans

The fans of 100 years ago belong in the same category as old vacuums: “Creepy and never to be used again”. They look like they probably did the job just fine, but the thought of trapping a finger in the blade is enough to bring tears to the eyes. Modern fans don’t need a blade at all.

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Oscillating_Electric_Fan,_General_Electric,_Schenectady_NY,_c._1920_-_Franklin_Institue_-_DSC06678.JPG
Source: Flickr, Wikimedia Commons

22. Wedding attire

Fashion has come a long way since our grandparents’ childhood years. Way back when, wedding attire was frilly, lacy and a little garish, with plenty of OTT ruffles and bows. Nowadays, there’s much more available choice for brides-to-be, and we have the freedom to be a lot more flexible with our wedding fashion choices.

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Woods_Jensen_wedding_01.jpg
Source: Pixabay, Wikimedia Commons

23. Irons

The first ever “iron” was technically just an iron bar, and dates all the way back to Ancient Greece. We doubt it would have been very practical for ironing laundry like the irons of today. Our irons are much safer, for one thing. They’re also lighter, and much simpler to use.

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https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A4%D0%B0%D0%B9%D0%BB:B%C3%BCgeleisen_alt.jpg
Source: Pixabay, Wikipedia

24. Traffic lights

If there’s one thing we’re grateful for today, it’s properly working traffic lights. In the past, traffic lights were hardly accurate or helpful. In fact, the first traffic light ever invented, which was situated in London, exploded after only a month of use and badly injured a policeman. The traffic lights we’re familiar with today switch from red to amber to green to let us know when to stop and when to go.

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https://www.maxpixel.net/Traffic-Street-City-Traffic-Light-Road-Lights-1272251
Source: Wikimedia Commons, Max Pixel

25. Camouflage gear

Looking back at images of the first military camouflage, it’s easy to see how times have changed. Camouflage is a little less invasive nowadays, and comes in a variety of styles, patterns and colors depending on its country of use.

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lt._j.g._Jeffrey_Fasoli,_gunnery_officer_aboard_the_guided-missile_destroyer_USS_Mason_(DDG_87),_discusses_techniques_with_Chinese_sailors_aboard_the_People%27s_Liberation_Army_(Navy)_destroyer_Harbin.jpg
Source: Wikimedia

26. Grocery stores

Many of us can’t imagine living a small-town life, but before multi-national chain brands took over, our grocery stores used to be local family affairs. Produce tended to be local, too, or sourced from nearby towns and villages. There was less choice than we’re used to, but it was all fresh and cheap.

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https://pxhere.com/en/photo/898411
Source: Wikimedia Commons, Pxhere

27. Glasses

If you’re over the age of 50 and your were unfortunate to need glasses as a child, you can probably remember just how unpleasant they were. Glasses were more like goggles, and were heavy and uncomfortable to wear. Glasses can now be made with lens-thinning technology, thank goodness – and you can even ditch the glasses for contact lenses if you fancy.

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:DKNY_Glasses.JPG
Source: Wikimedia Commons

28. Video games

It wasn’t until 1940 that the basic concept of a video game was invented. Many of us will remember the basic graphics and temperamental functions of the video games of our childhood, and there’s no arguing with the fact that the computer game technology of today is almost unrecognizable in comparison. Now, video games are incredibly realistic and clever.

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https://brightside.me/wonder-curiosities/15-familiar-things-that-have-changed-immensely-with-time-509560/kojimaproductions.jp
Source: Max Payne / remedygames, Death Stranding / kojimaproductions

29. Lamps

Just a few decades ago, lighting was nowhere near as high-quality as it is today, and an overhead light in the center of a room was often not enough to adequately light up the whole space. That’s why lamps were used much more frequently than they are nowadays. Of course, lamps still exist today, but they’re much more modern-looking.

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https://www.flickr.com/photos/georigami/42257427795
Source: Wikimedia Commons, Flickr

30. Strollers

Babies of the past used to ride in style – their strollers were known as “baby carriages”, and they certainly looked the part. It was common for a baby carriage to have all the bling of a queen’s coach, while the strollers of today are much more understated and practical.

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Teutonia_Kinderwagen_als_Karre.jpg?uselang=ru
Source: Wikipedia

31. Cash registers

If you’ve ever worked behind a cash register, you’ll know that the job takes a while to pick up. Now check out the cash registers of the past – you’ll be glad you didn’t have to work on those. Not long into the future, we might not need cash registers at all. Instead, we’ll use touch-screen self-scanners that do the math for us and allow us to quickly and simply pay by card.

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https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-black-flat-screen-monitor-811103/
Source: Wikimedia Commons, Pexels

32. Swimsuits

The first swimsuit looked absolutely nothing like the modern bikini. It was a full get-up, with a bonnet, shoes, and plenty of frills and lace. It wasn’t until the 1940s that swimwear started to look even remotely familiar – though styles have changed massively over the years.

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https://pixabay.com/ru/%D0%B1%D0%B8%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%BD%D0%B8-%D0%B6%D0%B5%D0%BD%D1%89%D0%B8%D0%BD%D0%B0-%D1%81%D0%B5%D0%BA%D1%81%D0%B8-%D0%B6%D0%B5%D0%BD%D1%89%D0%B8%D0%BD%D1%8B-918550/
Source: Wikimedia, Pixabay

33. USB Storage

Way back when, if you wanted storage space, you needed physical space. USB drives didn’t come small, and they didn’t fit that much data on, either. Nowadays, some of our USB storage devices are capable of holding hundreds of GB of storage.

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https://pixabay.com/ru/%D0%BC%D0%B8%D0%BA%D1%80%D0%BE-sd-%D0%BA%D0%B0%D1%80%D1%82%D1%8B-%D0%BA%D0%BE%D0%BC%D0%BF%D0%B0%D0%BA%D1%82%D0%BD%D1%8B%D1%85-%D0%B4%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%BD%D1%8B%D1%85-72141/
Source: rravaganza / livejournal, pixabay

34. Coffee makers

Unsurprisingly, back when technology was only just getting a little more advanced, coffee makers weren’t even considered as a thing. People would just boil their kettles and make coffee “the old fashioned way” (though lots of us still make coffee like that today). Coffee makers were introduced in their most basic form in the early 1900s, but they were nowhere near as clever as they are today.

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Keurig_Coffee_Machine.jpg
Source: Wikimedia Commons

35. Bananas

Okay, you won’t be anywhere near old enough to remember a banana of the past – unless you happen to have been alive 7,000 years ago, when the first bananas were thought to be cultivated. The bananas we know today look nothing like the round fruits of the long-ago past, and the species was eventually crossed with another to produce the fruit we know today.

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https://depositphotos.com/11819330/stock-photo-ripe-yellow-bitten-banana-isolated.html
Source: Warut Roonguthai, depositphotos

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