10+ Common Things That Became Unrecognizable With Time

year ago

Lots and lots of modern-day inventions make our lives much easier than they used to be in the past. We can sometimes forget about that and take these conveniences for granted. That’s why it’s useful to look at the same items or their analogs from the past and practice gratitude for technological progress.

1. Watermelon

Watermelon domestication started over 5,000 years ago. And unfortunately, the first fruits were not very appetizing and tasted either bitter or bland. However, at some point, some good ancient farmers thought, “Hey, let’s grow more of these!”

First of all, these farmers lived in very hot climates and used the fruit mostly as a source of water. Then they would cultivate it for its edible seeds — that very part nobody wants in modern watermelons. Over thousands of years, different selections changed the way the fruit looked and tasted completely. And today, 100 million tons of watermelon are grown annually around the world.

2. Bag closure

It’s not the zipper in a modern sense, but still a fastener for a purse or small handbag. It consists of an expandable frame with loops, stretching when you open your purse and shrinking when you close it.

3. Air travel

The term ’’jet set’’ comes from the 1950s, when jet passenger service catered primarily to the wealthy.

4. Roller skates

The first mention of roller skates was in the 1700s, but they looked quite different than those we use today. Ice skating was the widespread method to travel through frozen canals in winter in the Netherlands. But one day, one unknown inventor nailed wooden spools to strips of wood and attached them to his shoes to do the same thing in summer.

The most common design appeared in the 1970s when 2 hockey players found an antique pair of roller skates. They attached wheels to ice hockey boots and added a rubber toe as a brake. The new design allowed them to practice hockey in the summer, and then it became mainstream.

5. Soap saver cage

Small scraps of soap were put in the cage and shook under hot running water when people did dishes by hand. The soap saver was swished through the dishwater to made suds. Great for washing the dishes, hand washing delicates, or even bubble baths.

6. Computers

Fun fact: the first mechanical computer was invented between 1833 and 1871, becoming the first device that resembles the computer we know today.

7. Washing machine

When searching for the history of these machines, we had no idea that the crank-operated machines that were used in the 1940s were actually washing machines. Now we’ve switched to automatic washing machines that offer a lot of different options.

8. The telephone

The first telephone patent was granted to Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. Back then, at the very least, it was an “apparatus for transmitting vocal or other sounds telegraphically.” But it looked and functioned in a very different way than today’s phones of all shapes and sizes.

For instance, before the invention of the telephone switchboard, telephones were connected directly to each other, so it was useful primarily for connecting a home to the owner’s business. “Mere people” still used the telegraph to communicate.

9. Vending machines

Illustrated London News Ltd/Mary Evans Picture Library/East News, © Mahathir Mohd Yasin/Shutterstock.com

Vending machines have been around longer than we think. The first one was invented in 1884 by William Henry Fruen in Minneapolis, US.

10. Calculators

Old calculators had basic operating principles, and aside from adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing numbers, there wasn’t much to do. Right now, a large choice of functions is available on modern calculators.

11. Hair curling

People have been on a quest for the perfect curls for a long time. In ancient times, they used to wrap their hair around wooden sticks. The extreme heat of the desert sun did the rest of the work. Then, in the seventeenth century, they started to use clay or wooden rollers, but this was mostly for the wigs that were popular at the time.

Only in the nineteenth century did rollers start to resemble the modern ones we know of today. They were made from metal and were left in place for the whole night to achieve the desired result. Then, in the 1900s, the first model of a hair curling machine appeared, but not many women could afford it. Finally, in 1930, electrically powered hair rollers as we know them today were invented.

12. Hygiene products

During ancient times, many different materials were used to clean up bowel movements. These included water, leaves, grass, animal furs, seashells, and even stones.

What other stories behind popular objects do you know? Do you have any antiques or original models of such items today?


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