What is a Landline Telephone?
Old gadgets vs New Gadgets
We are in the Twenty-First Century with new technology bursting onto the scene every day! Progress in technology was once said to double every two years, then it was changed to every eighteen months, it was actually referring to computer chips and transistors, but you could apply it to all technology. New technology gadgets appear on the scene every day. New hi-tech gadgets to help you do things faster, better, easier! Cool new gadgets you simply must have to keep up with your friends (no one keeps up with the Joneses anymore).
Well, since we are talking about all these new hi-tech gadgets, What is a Landline Telephone? Where are the many cool gadgets baby boomers grew up with? Better yet, exactly what are they?
What is a Landline Telephone?
A "Landline Telephone" is just what it's name implies. It is a telephone with a "landline", that is a chord hardwired to a box that is then connected to a wire leading to a pole and so on. Some people may still have landline's in their homes today. They were dependable and any home owner's first means of communicating with the outside world. Well, once upon a time anyway. Going way back those landlines were sometimes connected by partylines. That meant that more than on household shared the same line. You could pick up your phone and hear Mrs. Black talking about her son's new girlfriend. It worked the other way too, you could be on the phone having a very private talk and someone down the line would pick up!
Now we know cell phones have replaced landlines in many homes and in most teenagers hands. Some think of it as an outmoded technology while others think of it as a dependable form of communication without any 'dropped areas' or 'dead zones'. Newer landline phones no longer have rotary dials (like the one in the picture at the beginning of this hub) but have digital functions and abilities and though bases are true landlines, satellite phones can be used with the bases. The 'satellite' phones are not true landlines, but are plugged into an electrical outlet to keep their batteries charged. These base and satellite phones do away with having a phone jack in every room you want a phone.
The Telephone Stand
Speaking of landline telephones, just as we have adaptive furniture today, landline telephones were responsible for some forms of furniture. A telephone stand was nothing elaborate. Just a small space to sit and quickly chat. The telephone books were kept on a shelf in the stand in case you had to look up a phone number. The stand and it's chair were small because most telephone conversations were short.
So, after reading that about landline phones and telephone stands, what other 'gadgets' of the past did or didn't make it into the future?
Roller Skate Key
The picture to the right is a skate key. A skate key was used for your clamp-on roller skates to tighten the clamps that held your skates on. Two clamps in the front of the skates and a strap around your ankle and you were ready to roll! No roller blades or inline skates back in the day. Four wheeled, metal skates that needed the skate key to tighten them so they stayed on your feet. Some of you may have never seen a skate key but to kids in the fifties and sixties, you had a skate key on a string around your neck so it was always handy. Hours and hours were spent on your metal skates, just skating up and down the road with your friends.
Brand New Key
Records and Record Case
45 RPMs and Case
Speaking of friends, no self respecting teenager was without a record collection to share with his friends. There were no MP3 players or iTunes...vinyl was the way to go. When you heard a song you liked on the radio you'd run right out and buy that record. Once you got it home you'd put it in your record box, in it's own tabbed space to keep it clean and safe. Those records were played over and over on your phonograph.
Most of the record labels from the fifties and sixties are gone now. You can see in the picture, two of them were Big Top and Cadence. Anyone remember Del Shannon? He sang "Runaway" on the Big Top Label. The Everly Brothers and Chordettes were two of the many who were on the Cadence label.
A hand-turned rotary egg beater was first patented in 1859. It changed little over the years. You may have seen one though the electric mixer bumped it out of popularity between the 1920's and 30's. However, not everyone had an electric mixer in those days, and in the fifties even if they did, they still tended to use their hand egg beater to beat eggs!
Lots of new gadgets were being introduced in the kitchen in the fifties. Does anyone remember the electric frying pan? What a marvel. It was like having an extra burner without having to use your stove. They were made of stainless steel and had temperature controls. A three slice toaster appeared on the scene as well. Unheard of! Being able to toast more than two slices of bread at a time.
Other 1950s Gadgets and Inventions
A leak-proof ball point pen. Now that's innovation. Moving from a fountain pen to a ballpoint was pure genius, but a ball point pen that didn't leak! No more stains on the pockets of men's white shirts.
Most people were using push lawn mowers, not the gas powered we use today. It was in the 1950s that TVs started showing up in all homes. There were some ten to twelve inch TVs but in the fifties up to ninety percent of homes had a TV.
A man named Frank McNamara came up with the idea of credit cards. Can you imagine a world without a credit card? Passenger jets also came into being in the 1950s.
Many of you may not have heard of the transistor radio. This was a popular music provider that was invented in the 1950s. Teenagers carried around little transistor radios then, like teenagers carry around MP3 players today.
In 1959 John Hopps invented the Cardiac Pacemaker. The list goes on and on. The 1950s was certainly full of inventions and gadgets.
The past is always with us even in our new inventions. Whether its a landline telephone to a cell phone or a pacemaker that's still being used. Many things of the past are totally in the past and our memories and storytelling are what keep them alive not only for us but for future generations. Other inventions were so "before their time" they are still being used and have yet to be improved upon. And, no, I didn't walk uphill to school in a snowstorm.
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