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Everyday Items that Used to Cost a Fortune!

Updated on August 19, 2011

Just think, 10 - 20 years ago it would be almost impossible for the average person to own a cell phone, computer or large screen T.V.; not because they weren't out there but because they used to cost a fortune.

Only the tech savvy enthusiasts and business people were picking up these super expensive items but it's their adoption of the gadgets and technologies (along with cheaper production methods) that have lead these items to become part of our everyday lives.

Let's take a look back at some of the items you wouldn't have been able to afford but wouldn't think for a second about not owning today ...

The Personal Computer

In the 50's, computers would take up entire rooms and could only do a fraction of the calculations what your current cell phone can do today. In fact, your cell phone, today, is exponentially more powerful than computers throughout most of the history of computing.

Computers, in the early years, were extremely expensive and were generally only owned by large businesses but it took until the 80's and a group of hackers to really bring personal computing to the mainstream.

Based on inflation, a computer from the 1950's would have cost millions of dollars. Even personal computers from the 1980's would be in the thousands based on today's pricing.

Today, you can purchase a used computer for less than $100 online or pick up a new one for as little as $200 that still outguns what people were using just 10 years ago. Imagine how far we've come!

Interested in learning more? Read this great guide to the history of computers.

Cell Phones

Cell Phones got started in the 1970's and cost thousands of dollars which is incredible since you can now purchase a high end smart phone for $300 or get one free with signing up for a contract.

The old cell phones (such as the one in the picture) were large and clunky. The average person certainly wasn't owning a cell phone in those days - it was mostly for business people and people with quite a bit of money to spend.

Today, nearly everyone has a cell phone; they're shaping the way we interact as a society and has bridged the gap between the world through their integration of the web, texting and phone service.

If interested, take a look at this short history of cell phones.

Big Screen TV's

Can you think back to when you watched TV or movies on a screen that was only the size of a toaster? I certainly can't but early TV's were barely the size of a basketball - today, the average big screen TV spans across half the wall and is as thin as your arm (or less!).

Big screen TV's used to cost a fortune. Personally, I remember that my family's "big" 32' screen cost in the thousand dollars when it first came out but as technology goes - everything gets cheaper, bigger and faster in time. Today, you can purchase a 32' TV for a few hundred bucks or go big time with 52' (or more) for less than a thousand.

Just imagine what it would be like to watch the game on the TV's during the 50's; you'd be squinting the entire time!

Want to know more about TV? Check out this history guide here.

Look How Far We've Come

Just imagine how far we've come in the last few decades. Our cell phones are infinitely more powerful than early computers. Our computers are connected to a global network. Our TV's take up half of the walls and cost nearly nothing compared to what it did just a decade ago.

Technology is always moving forward. We'll look back to today and laugh at how 'expensive' our items were and how 'slow' our computers and cell phones ran just like we did with everything from a few decades ago.

Technology shapes our lives. The early adopters help pave the way for the future of our society, in a lot of ways.

We're will we be in 10 years? Even that's hard to say.


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