Technological advancements are happening so quickly that it’s almost impossible to keep up. If you told someone in the very 1990s that people today would be texting from their watch and watching TV on their phone, they might look at you like you’ve grown a different head. And if you were to compare some of today’s modern devices with their early iterations, you probably wouldn’t even be able to tell which is which. Want to know what you know about outdated devices? Read on to test your knowledge and see if you can figure out what these ancient household objects were originally used for.
Index: You probably used one every day at school.
Long before battery-powered calculators became classroom staples, these analog devices were the easiest way to add things up.
Index: It wouldn’t be a summer party without her!
Before the advent of machines that could create a snow cone at the push of a button, people had to shave their ice the old-fashioned way: with nothing more than a hand crank and lots of elbow grease.
Index: You may have used one on your last camping trip.
Today, your average camping stove can easily fit in a backpack. Just a few decades ago, however, these were much larger, barely portable devices.
Index: You probably still have one in your kitchen.
Before microwaves were small enough to sit on a stovetop or plug into your countertop, they were large, freestanding appliances that took up more than their fair share of kitchen space.
Index: It looks a bit like a torture device, but many men regularly use its modern version.
Before the invention of the electric razor, guys brave enough to leave one near their face used it to shave their beards.
Index: It’s not a steampunk coat rack or a repurposed sewing machine table, but you’re warm.
The combination of modern agitators and running water certainly makes our clothes cleaner than before. The machine pictured earlier was used to remove excess soap and water from clothes, and that was about it.
Index: It may look like a thumb piano in a cage, but it is not his daily bread.
The first electric toasters, like the one pictured earlier, which was built in 1921, had the same basic mechanism that we use today. Slices of bread were held in a cage and pushed towards a heating element, which crisped them up. And curiously, the toaster was actually created before sliced bread was invented; the last was not a mass product until 1928.
Index: Even the most knowledgeable amateur historian would have a hard time understanding what this combination of wooden planks and screws is.
Before there were dry cleaners and handheld garment steamers, if you wanted to give your pants a wearable shape, you put them in a trouser press.
Index: Although it looks like something out of a horror movie, women swore by it.
Before we had ionic hair dryers, straightening brushes and Dysons, the electric hood was about as good as it gets in the barbershop. The machine wasn’t pretty, but it got the job done; it was connected to a tube that blew air through holes in the metal cage.
Index: Although it looks like it could chill a bottle of champagne, this contraption was actually used for the opposite purpose.
Known as a brazier, this type of pan was typically used to hold hot coals. Coals would be loaded into the radiator and used to heat individual rooms in the house before the advent of electric heating.
Index: If this device reminds you a little of a guillotine, you are not far off.
Instead of cutting heads, this simple machine was used to cut bread into even slices. The left handle lifts the blade, while the wooden part allows the rest of the bread to rest without anyone getting in the way.
Index: This gadget gives new meaning to the “ice bucket challenge”.
Similar to the process used to make butter, ice cream was churned in a bucket to create a smooth, frozen consistency. Old ice cream makers also typically combined salt with ice, as the two create a freezing mixture capable of freezing dairy products.
Index: If you guessed it was a pepper mill, you’re on the right track.
Today, you can grind coffee beans at the push of a button with an electric coffee grinder (or just buy them pre-ground). But getting the same result a century ago meant cranking your beans against a set of blades to grind them finely.
Index: Suffice to say that the current version of this device makes any process easier.
Before Cuisinart came into the game, it was much more complicated to finely grind your ingredients, as evidenced by the intricate machine pictured earlier.
Index: If you consider yourself a master griller, you’ve probably used one before.
Ideal for creating perfectly round burgers and searing steaks and other cuts of meat, this device was once a staple in kitchens across the country.
Index: It may not sound like much, but this machine can do a lot in a surprisingly short time.
Before Instant Pots were everyone’s favorite cooking tool, pressure cookers like the old one pictured earlier were commonplace in kitchens. Similar to the electric pressure cookers that many chefs are familiar with today, these pots used steam and a pressurized environment (hence the screws) to cook food quickly.
Index: This one seems to be much easier to clean up after breakfast than today’s version.
Before electric juicers effortlessly transformed fruits and vegetables into drinkable liquids, the process was done by hand. You would simply place the fruit of your choice into the center well, flip the left side portion over to the right, and squeeze the two handles together to create juice.