Monday, July 13, 2015


During our recent trip to see Dave's grandfather, he gave us a demonstration on the telegraph, and told stories about his days on the railroad.  That led to a discussion of the many advances in technology that his generation has seen.  That discussion, in turn, led to an examination of the advancements during our lifetime.  What have been the biggest and best inventions of the last five-and-a-half decades? I canvassed a few friends and here's what we came up with:

Telephones:  We have seen the progression from party lines to single lines to cordless phones.  How modern we thought we were when we were no longer tethered to a phone on the wall!  From there we went on to car phones - bag phones that only worked while plugged in to the car's power - and on to flip phones, which progressed into today's hand held phone/computer/camera/TV remote/calendar/address book/alarm clock combinations.

Television:  Black and white to color; antenna to cable to satellite; four networks to 500+ channels; VHS to DVD to DVR and On Demand. Not to mention HD and big screens!

Debit cards and on-line banking:  So much simpler than writing checks but, I have to admit, not nearly as challenging as playing "beat the check to the bank" like we used to.

Bar codes:  Anyone else remember the checker at the grocery store calling out the price as she rang up each item?  However, price tags on the product rather than on the shelf were a great loss.

Computers, microwaves, birth control pills, commercial jets, and a moon landing

The world has changed dramatically in the last fifty years.  But are these really the greatest inventions of our time?  I propose a second list of inventions that get less attention, but still change daily life.

Cordless power tools:  Makes bin building soooo much easier.

Bottled water:  

I loved this commercial from 1999.   Although I no longer care about the price per minute for my land-line long distance service, I have become a bottled water fan.  It's convenient and healthy - keeps me from drinking as much pop, and contains fewer impurities than our rural well water.

Serius XM radio:  When you live in an area where radio stations are few and far between, or where the topography makes for sketchy reception, sattelite radio is the bomb!  Besides, where else can you find a radio station devoted entirely to Broadway musicals?

Keyless entry:  Utopia for those prone to locking their keys in their car.  I now lock them in on purpose and avoid digging for them in my purse.

Pre-cooked bacon:  First off - BACON! and secondly - bacon in 15 seconds with no greasy mess to clean up.  Perfection.

Magic Eraser:  If Magic Eraser won't clean it, it's time for a new whatever-it-is-you're-cleaning.

What would you add to the list?  What products and services do you love that didn't exist before 1960?

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