Technology

The gadgets and machines of the past 150 years
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From homes to farms to mines - to the moon. These are the everyday gadgets, utensils, and machines that we've used in daily life plus their inventors and the people who used them.

I know of at least one Boomer (me) who still has trouble remembering that you don't have to go to the library or find an encyclopedia to get answers to your questions. We no longer need to go down to the river, or turn a crank, to wash our clothes. We don't have to hang our laundry on the line to dry it. We don't have to walk 2 miles to school, carry groceries home, or spend days to travel to see relatives. We don't have to peer at a small, blurry, black and white television screen, listen to the radio and imagine our favorite characters, or churn butter. We don't need CDs or records to listen to a music; memorize a phone number; peer at the small print in a phone book; do arithmetic in our heads; look at clock hands; keep boxes of photos; figure out the VCR; cut articles out of the newspaper; use a phone booth; write a letter; or keep our old checks. Even in the past 2 decades life has changed for most of us - due to technology.

In the past 50 years, these are just some of the technologies that have changed our lives:
  • TV remote controls - leading to remotes for almost everything.
  • Jet airliners - making travel faster, cheaper, and (sometimes) more comfortable.
  • Microwave ovens - making heating and cooking easier and faster.
  • Cordless tools - no longer tethered to an outlet!
  • Communications satellites - allowing the world to connect.
  • The calculator - well, you know!
  • The LED - used in almost everything.
  • The ATM - just get your bank business done and you're out.
  • The computer and the mouse - and email and computer games!
  • The internet - how you can read this.
  • Cordless phones . . . and then the cellphone!
  • GPS

There have always been people who fear new technology and those who embrace it. When electricity was first introduced, people were scared of being electrocuted in their own homes! And yet, we adapt and thrive. These are the photos of how we used to do things and of new technologies (at the time) that changed our lives. Such changes in such a short span of human history!
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A photo of Fae Smith
Added Jun 10, 2015 by: Earl Harbeson
Earl Harbeson
122 favorites
A photo of Lilian Catherine (Rae) Aitchison
People in this photo:
Nov 10, 1893 - Sep 20, 1987
Added Dec 9, 2014 by: Sue Aitchison-windeler
Albert William Webb with his steamroller: Albert was the husband of my great aunt Eva Wass. There was a cab on the back which they lived in while he was working on the roads, Eva travelled with him and their son William was nearly born in the cab until a kind person took pity on Eva and took her into her house to give birth. I believe Albert was one of the workers to tarmac the A1. Albert was born in Worcestershire and Eva was born in Ripon in the West Riding of Yorkshire.
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
Added Sep 20, 2014 by: Mandy Wass
Mandy Wass
13 favorites
A photo of Pascual Martel Jr.
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
Added Aug 24, 2014 by: Teresa Tejada
Teresa Tejada
7 favorites
A photo of Fay Patricia (Hope) Byrnes
People in this photo:
Added Jul 25, 2014 by: Marie Jones
Marie Jones
65 favorites
Dorothy Harris' Aunts: Typical wash day, about 1905-10...not sure who is who in photo.
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
Added Apr 2, 2014 by: Paul Harris
Paul Harris
10 favorites
My Aunt June Hickey (Lilly's - Lillian Maude Smith's granddaughter) used to love to churn butter, which is what she is doing in this photo taken in Saskatchewan, Canada
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
Added Jan 19, 2014 by: Jacqueline Read
Jacqueline Read
10 favorites
A photo of Nicholas J Keller
People in this photo:
Dec 15, 1942 - May 18, 1998
Added May 22, 2013 by: Dana Keller
Dana Keller
10 favorites
Taken by Harry W. Van Noy, at the Edison Estate. Thomas Alva Edison (1847 - 1931) was a well-known inventor and perhaps even a better businessman. He had 1,093 patents in the United States and many patents in Europe. But he not only had patents, he focused on mass production of his inventions and bringing them to the population at large (the light bulb, phonograph, and movie camera, for instance). His most famous quote is "Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration." And he certainly proved that!
People in this photo:
Feb 11, 1847 - Oct 18, 1931
Frances Crawford, Lakeland Florida, USA. 1938
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
Added Jan 3, 2013 by: Jennifer Rudd
Jennifer Rudd
1.34k+ favorites
Elizabeth Persons, Lakeland Florida, USA. 1939
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
Norman Kuegler, Athens Ohio, USA. 1938
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
This is a photo of the first "automatic vote recorder" designed by Thomas Alva Edison. The machine was the first invention that Edison patented and was intended to speed up the counting of votes in Congress. However, his design was rejected because politicians often used a slow vote to delay or halt the progress of a new piece of legislation. He was issued the patent on June 1, 1869.
People in this photo:
Feb 11, 1847 - Oct 18, 1931
Added Aug 28 by: Kathy Pinna
Kathy Pinna
24.3k+ favorites
Virginia E. Hale was born January 16, 1911 and died January 5, 1993 in Ohio. She was married to Virgle C. Hale.
People in this photo:
Jan 16, 1911 - Jan 5, 1993
Added Aug 2 by: Jennifer Ridner
Jennifer Ridner
148 favorites
Bill was a quiet & shy child who was mostly interested in reading. He attended public school until his parents sent him to the private Lakeside School in Seattle Washington where he was introduced to computer programming and met Paul Allen, his later partner in founding Microsoft.
People in this photo:
Oct 28, 1955 - Unknown
Added Nov 5, 2019 by: Daniel Pinna
Daniel Pinna
4.94k+ favorites
Bill Hewlett-Packard turns the first shovel of soil at 201 S Market Street during the ground breaking ceremony for the San Jose Tech Museum in 1996. Originally called the Technology Center of Silicon Valley located on West San Carlos in 1990, the museum renamed itself the Tech Museum of Innovation in 1991, and just recently again in 2019 as the Interactive Tech Museum.
Added Oct 18, 2019 by: Daniel Pinna
Daniel Pinna
4.94k+ favorites
A photo of Elizabeth (Morrissey) Waeltz
People in this photo:
Added Apr 29, 2019 by: Kyle Waeltz
Kyle Waeltz
8 favorites
A photo of Robert Howard's sons Larry and Richard.
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
Added Apr 17, 2019 by: Amanda S. Stevenson
Amanda S. Stevenson
10.3k+ favorites
Topics:
A photo of a machine operated by Henry Thomas Drewry.
Added Mar 13, 2019 by: Victoria Davis
Victoria Davis
32 favorites
A photo of a steam shovel operated by Henry Thomas Drewry.
People in this photo:
Jan 16, 1855 - Mar 15, 1942
Added Mar 13, 2019 by: Victoria Davis
Victoria Davis
32 favorites
Steam shovel operated by Henry Thomas Drewry.
People in this photo:
Jan 16, 1855 - Mar 15, 1942
Added Mar 13, 2019 by: Victoria Davis
Victoria Davis
32 favorites
This is Walter Ransom Gail Baker, Watching television in 1938, as vice-president of General Electric. He is watching one of the first televisions. The cathode ray tube was so long that it was mounted vertically, and the image was viewed in a mirror reflection.
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
Added Jan 28, 2019 by: Gaye Thomas
Gaye Thomas
344 favorites
A photo of Roy Bigcrane, Flowing Waters
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
Added Jul 20, 2018 by: Richard Jackson
Richard Jackson
25 favorites
Topics:
This photo is of the tv room, one of Elvis Presley’s favorite rooms in Graceland. Elvis was an early adopter of technology and in fact had TVs in just about every room. This room had three in one location because Elvis found out the President watched three news networks at one time and Elvis wanted the same.
People in this photo:
Jan 8, 1935 - Aug 16, 1977
Added Jul 1, 2018 by: Daniel Pinna
Daniel Pinna
4.94k+ favorites
A photo of Stephen Hawking and Jane Wilde on their wedding day, 1965. Stephen was 23, Jane was 21. They met at college - Stephen had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - ALS - but despite the risks they decided to marry. They were married for 30 years and had 3 children. They divorced in 1995 and Stephen soon remarried and divorced again in 2006. In the intellectual field, Stephen was a shining star. He was a theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge. Widely honored as one of the most brilliant intellects of all time, he wrote the book "A Brief History in Time" - explaining physics concepts in a way that the general public could understand. His explorations into and theories about cosmology were groundbreaking. He also appeared several times on the tv show "The Big Bang Theory"! Jane remarried in 1997, earned a PhD in medieval Spanish poetry in April 1981, and survived her first husband. Stephen - according to his family - "died peacefully" at his home in England in the early morning hours of "Pi Day" - March 14, 2018.
People in this photo:
Jan 8, 1942 - Mar 14, 2018
A photo of the founders of Intel in 1968 - the year that Intel was formed. Gordon Moore, Robert Noyce and Andy Grove
People in this photo:
1929 - Unknown
Added Jan 17, 2018 by: Kathy Pinna
Kathy Pinna
24.3k+ favorites
A photo of Elbert Julian
People in this photo:
Nov 16, 1913 - May 1983
Added Dec 18, 2017 by: Mike Trusty
Mike Trusty
2 favorites
Topics:
A photo for that new convenience - the electric stove! A standalone unit, it was the newest thing for the home when it was introduced.
Added Oct 4, 2017 by: Kathy Pinna
Kathy Pinna
24.3k+ favorites
A photo of the G.E. Monitor Top refrigerator from the 1930's. It was advertised as being a little bigger than a hat box - an appeal to women. Today, that wouldn't be a selling point at all. The bigger, the better!
Added Oct 4, 2017 by: Kathy Pinna
Kathy Pinna
24.3k+ favorites
I’ve “rescued” an old photograph identified as that of Benjamin E. MEREDITH which was taken at the Taber Studio in San Francisco, CA and dated August 1882. Benjamin is listed as 18 years old at the time. Someone has also written “Wire Chief, Tucson, Arizona to Las Vegas, New Mexico” and “Manager Deming, New Mexico Local Office of Western Telegraph Company” on the back of the photograph. I’m hoping to locate someone from this MEREDITH Family so that this wonderful old photograph can be returned to the care of his family. If you are a member of this family, or you know someone who might be, please contact me. Thanks, Shelley
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
Added Jul 23, 2017 by: Shelley Cardiel
Shelley Cardiel
605 favorites
A photo of Alva Kyle Phillips
People in this photo:
Nov 15, 1910 - Jan 9, 1975
Added Jul 1, 2017 by: Debra Bays
Debra Bays
17 favorites
Topics:
Thomas Milsom is in this photo. Sorry, I do not have anymore details.
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
Added Jan 22, 2017 by: Brenda Rosser
Brenda Rosser
52 favorites
Topics:
A photo of the computing staff at Harvard University's astronomy department in the late 1800's. Edward Pickerig (far left) thought that women were "better suited to such repetitive drudgery" as computing numbers. He hired his maid, Williamina Fleming to supervise the work. She later became the preeminent woman astronomer in the U.S.
People in this photo:
Jul 19, 1846 - Feb 3, 1919
Added Jan 12, 2017 by: Kathy Pinna
Kathy Pinna
24.3k+ favorites
A photo of Mary (Winston) Jackson, a mathematician and engineer at NASA.
People in this photo:
Apr 9, 1921 - Feb 11, 2005
Added Jan 12, 2017 by: Kathy Pinna
Kathy Pinna
24.3k+ favorites
A photo of Mabel Roy Mouton who was Assistant Chief of Research Programs at NASA's Trajectory and Geodynamics Division in the 1960s.
People in this photo:
1929 - Jun 25, 1990
Added Jan 12, 2017 by: Kathy Pinna
Kathy Pinna
24.3k+ favorites
A photo of Katherine Johnson who worked for NASA and was responsible for computing the trajectories, launch windows, and emergency back-up return paths for many flights. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.
People in this photo:
Aug 26, 1918 - Unknown
Added Jan 12, 2017 by: Kathy Pinna
Kathy Pinna
24.3k+ favorites
A photo of Dorothy Vaughan. Dorothy was the acting head of the West Area Computers at NACA (later NASA) and later became a computer programmer. She is featured in the 2016 film "Hidden Figures."
People in this photo:
Sep 20, 1910 - Nov 10, 2008
Added Jan 12, 2017 by: Kathy Pinna
Kathy Pinna
24.3k+ favorites
A photo of Jacqueline "Debbie" Jiler (Christie)
People in this photo:
A photo of a flu mask touted by Popular Science Magazine during the 1918 - 1920 pandemic. It has a hole for smoking - but not for exhaling the smoke. Popular Science was satirizing the use of masks, which they said were scientifically ineffective.
Added Sep 20, 2016 by: Kathy Pinna
Kathy Pinna
24.3k+ favorites
This young child is shown demonstrating two prosthetic legs in 1900.
My Grandfather, John Mort is the person to the left of the person on the pole. His brother, Billy is looking over his shoulder. Working on Telegraph Lines.
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
A photo of Edward W Prendergast and Albert Einstein
People in this photo:
Sep 27, 1898 - Jun 19, 1994
Added Aug 24, 2016 by: Leslie Ann Sweet
Leslie Ann Sweet
17 favorites
A photo of my 4th Great Aunt, Mary Elizabeth Cranston Choate (1833 - 1909) in one of her homes, in W. Somerville, MA - Intersection of Dresden Circle and Butter Avenue - Reading by the light of a Spermacetti oil Lamp.
People in this photo:
A photo of L. Edward Carter working on the linotype, 1952. He worked his way through school working in the University of Oklahoma Daily back shop.
People in this photo:
May 6, 1929 - Oct 22, 2005
Added Jun 3, 2016 by: Dana Christian
Dana Christian
61 favorites
Early-day Oklahoma Newspapermen in 1916.
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
A photo of Herbert Akerberg
People in this photo:
Jun 25, 1897 - Nov 6, 1964
Added Feb 28, 2016 by: William Neill
William Neill
10 favorites
A photo of Theodore Wilhelm Roos Farming
People in this photo:
Feb 4, 1891 - Jun 6, 1958
Added Jul 30, 2015 by: Barrett Young
Barrett Young
283 favorites
A photo of Grandma Molnar who was the most superb cook in the world! (At her coal stove)
Added Jul 13, 2015 by: David Molnar
David Molnar
34 favorites
Topics:
A photo of Evelyn D Lote (1924 - 2002)
People in this photo:
Apr 18, 1924 - Aug 20, 2002
Added Jul 5, 2015 by: Peggy Starnes
Peggy Starnes
12 favorites
Topics:
A photo of Harry G Maze
People in this photo:
Jun 11, 1933 - Jan 18, 2007
Added Feb 18, 2015 by: Ali Maze
Ali Maze
5 favorites
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