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What’s the oldest gadget you still use regularly today?

on April 2, 2013 8:00 am

Oldest gadget

Let’s face it we live in a disposable age, phones have a desirable life span of less than 2 years, printer ink costs more than a new printer, things break within the first couple of years, and we just go and replace them.

A true Gadgeteer covets the latest and greatest, but in the “old days”,  things were built to last and last. I was thinking it’d be interesting to see what gadgets people still use from the “days of yore”.

Here’s my Gillette shell-pattern Pocket Edition razor from around 1914 . You can keep your 10 blade, battery-operated vibrating, sonic razor. There’s something special about shaving with an old double edge (DE) razor. The brush is a Kent KS7  from around 1949, and it’s made of catalin, an unstable, pre-plastic material. This brush started ivory white, but some reaction in the material has turned it this lovely butterscotch colour. I did have to replace the badger hair knot in it for looks, functionality, and hygiene.

What’s your oldest gadget that still sees use today ? Doesn’t have to be electronic, because believe it or not, there were days before electronics. :)

Comments

  1. 1
    Linda says:

    I still use my Palm m500! I still play Sudoku on it, look up addresses and phone numbers that aren’t programmed in my phone, and use it for an alarm. I loved reading ebooks on it and still wish I could get them from the library because it’s small and light and back-lit.

  2. 2
    Julie says:

    Great question Ian! :) I’ve been sitting here trying to think if I have a gadget that I use which is more than a couple years old. The only thing that comes to mind that I still carry around, but rarely use is my circa 2007 160gb iPod Classic.

  3. 3
    Ty says:

    My oldest is also a DE razor.

    I have a 1955 Gillette Super Speed Red Tip.

  4. 4
    Janet Cloninger says:

    As Ian can tell you, it turns out we are both members at the Badger & Blade website for devotees of antique shaving gear. My husband, Butch uses a Gillette Fat Boy razor that’s more than 50 years old, and my daughter and I both have Lady Gillettes that are older than 40 years old each. Other than that, my oldest gadget is my iPhone 5. ;)

  5. 5
    Larry Geisz says:

    I still use my old Sony CLIÉ, mainly for a couple of games and the addresses I have store on it…

  6. 6
    Eric says:

    The oldest gadget I still use is a 1938 Philco radio that I inherited from my grandparents. It has a beautiful wooden cabinet and a surprisingly smooth sound. I have it in my home office and like to listen when I’m working.

    This isn’t my actual radio, but looks just like it.
    http://p2.la-img.com/277/15577/5396802_1_l.jpg

  7. 7
    Mistermau says:

    My 1971 VW Karmann Ghia. Convertible. Yellow.

    It doesn’t get out much because carseats dont’ fit very well (at all) but when the opportunity arises…

  8. 8
    Ryan Chapman says:

    My current oldest regularly used gadget is probably a pair of computer speakers I bought at Walmart in around 2004. I’ve replaced them on my computer, but they were moved to the living room to provide sound to our ‘media PC’.

    They were ‘so cool’ back then because they included a sub-woofer (albeit, a 4 watt sub-woofer, but STILL cool)

  9. 9
    Ted Allen says:

    Our only television was purchased in 1984.

  10. 10
    Norm says:

    I don’t use it but I came across a hand powered sharpener for your razor blades. Maybe I’ll switch to your style razor and give it try. I’ve have been using a shaving brush for around 30 years.

  11. 11
    John says:

    I still use my grandfather’s pen knife I inherited when my Pop passed away. Still sharp, still beautiful, and still handy. (@ 75 years old)

    I also use a hand drill for drilling pilot holes, or use the screwdriver bits for quick household projects. (@ 50 years old)

  12. 12
    Brian Smith says:

    I have a Lufkin tape measure that I bought in 1972, also an Estwing hammer with a leather bound handle purchased in the same year for my first job. A brace and bit set that my grandfather owned is still used as is a Stanley manual drill. All have outlasted their newer counterparts time and time again.

  13. 13
    Donald Schoengold says:

    I have a pair (actually 3) of AR2ax speakers that I bought in the mid 60′s when I was i college. That makes them about 57 years old. They still sound great. Also does my 1957 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite (55 years old) count?

  14. 14
    Jake says:

    I would say my oldest gadget is am ancient Opinel knife I have. It is gorgeous. Electronics wise a 1997 Pioneer HiFi that is in use today. Even has Digital SPDIF to connect my PC to it!

  15. 15
    Yochanan says:

    My Palm Tungsten T3 purchased in 2004 still operates well (long battery life) and I use it mostly for looking up contacts. It has to be my oldest gadget.

  16. 16
    Tammy says:

    I still use a Zip drive which plays 100mb disks. The SCSI card is the same one I have been using since the late 1990′s and when I recently built my latest PC, I just hoped the card would be recognized. To my surprise, it was and the Zip drive is still going strong.

    I do believe I will give it up in the near future because what I backup on that drive, is getting harder and harder. I think its on its last leg and I will just get a stick which will hold much more. Its hard to give up an old gadget. Its like losing a good friend. pooh

  17. 17
    Andrew says:

    I regularly use fountain pens. My collection dates back to the early 1900′s. Fun to collect and use.

  18. 18

    This is a great post! I can’t even think of what I use that is that old anymore in the gadget world. I have stuff that I’m waiting to make into a new project such as 1) an iMac G3 that we found on someone’s lawn they were getting rid of 2) a 1954 automatic transmission Dodge Coronet that my brother and bought from our neighbor and will try to get on the road!

  19. 19

    Fountain pens (I have and still use a 1924 Sheaffer), wrist watches (2 in particular that are more than 45 years old), and my long dead uncle’s French-made pen knife (at least 80 years old).

  20. 20
    Rob O. says:

    I have a number of old pocketknives that I still use. A couple of them were knives that my late father-in-law used when he was a younger man.

    Only last month I finally burned out a Black & Decker jigsaw that said FIL had given me as a gift on the first Christmas after we met – over 16 years ago. And I still use an electric Toro leaf blower that he gave me at the same time.

    We received a Mr. Coffee Iced Tea maker as a wedding gift 17 yrs ago and still use it 2-3 times per week!

    Electronically, I have a pair of Sony Bluetooth headphones that I’ve used several times per week for almost 7 years. And my old 2nd Gen iPod Nano is my permanent in-car jukebox.

  21. 21
    Drew Baker says:

    I have two items that are on my belt EVERY SINGLE day.

    The Original Leatherman Wave, and the Buck CrossLock

    The Leatherman I probably got in 2000ish.

    The crosslock, I got in 1994. I use both EVERY SINGLE DAY.

    http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/875702-Buck-s-crosslock

    This one has probably been opened and closed a million times over the years. (well maybe not, 2-3 times min every day since 1994)

  22. 22
    Bob DeLoyd says:

    I read through the comments and started remembering the things I still use… my uncle’s pocketknife that must be from the 40s or earlier… old computers from the 80s and 90s…

    Ian, what a wonderful walk down memory lane you’ve provided us here… Thanks!!!!

  23. 23
    doseas says:

    I just retired my trusty Zaurus SL-5500, that had been in continuous use since 2002. The only reason that I retired it is that my work now requires me to carry a cell phone & I refuse to carry two separate devices.

  24. 24
    Drew Baker says:

    Doseas, Wow I retired mine 2-3 years ago. I used it from everything from PDA, to Home automation, to Ham radio controler. The digitizer on mine finally stopped “Digitizing” and I had to retire it. I replaced it with th Nokia 810. However I use my android for about everything else now. The 810 (awesom product) is pretty much just used for portable Ham radio now.

  25. 25
    Bob DeLoyd says:

    Drew Baker,
    I have a Nokia n800 sitting around you reminded me of… I think I’ll break it out, charge the battery, and give it a go again… I wasn’t happy at the time when Nokia stopped updating the OS and went with another OS that didn’t work on the n800… it kinda put me off for buying their stuff ever again….

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