As our generation ages, we’ve witnessed many changes, several of which have been documented in these posts. Now let’s turn to household objects. Electronics are truly altering our daily routines in our homes — but more than that, today’s generation does things differently. As a result, objects we saw as a normal, everyday part of our existence are either disappearing or gone altogether. Here are a few notables:
Knobs on TVs
This was something that began disappearing in the ’70s. Now they are nowhere to be seen. The days of getting up to change the channel are over, but that won’t stop you from getting up to try to find batteries for that darn remote.
Mister B has to admit he still owns a portable TV with knobs — as a back up. All it needs is a conversion box to go digital and the thing would be as good as new.
Hand Meat Grinder
Our moms used meat grinders to save money and to express our cultural heritage through food. They made hamburger, other ground meat dishes and various forms of sausages with them. The old metal grinder often had a clamp attachment that could clasp to a kitchen counter or dining room table. Our generation used the things less than our parents, but today’s generation is carrying it further into extinction. Electric versions are still available for mixers and food processors, but most won’t ever use the attachments. It’s probably too much work for today’s busy families.
While some retro trenders will use Jell-O molds today, a great many children of the current generations have never seen one. In our day everyone knew someone in the family who made Jell-O salads with copper, aluminum or plastic molds. A good portion of us will recall visiting aunts who had a collection hanging on the kitchen wall.
Mister B’s mom didn’t make Jell-O salads, but rather made bowls full of the jiggly dessert that the kids could just scoop out. Mister B did have a couple of aunts with the molds on the wall, though.
While still available, the idea of shag carpeting is repellent to many of today’s kids, whether because they view it as something their grandparents had, or as a perceived dirt and bacteria collector. One person’s “modern” is another person’s joke — and that person is usually younger.
Pull-cord lawn mower
Another thing that began disappearing in the late ’70s when electronic ignition was installed on lawn mowers, the hand pull cord is now all but extinct. Kids won’t ever know the joys of repeatedly pulling the cord in an effort to start the mower. It was an ordeal before you could even begin to cut the grass.
Decorative Plaster Statues
Aside from a few religious articles, decorative statues and wall hangings that were all the rage when we were young have disappeared from most homes. If you find a home with these items now, it’s usually an indication that nothing has been updated in a few decades.
Mister B’s mom had various things that sat on the living room end tables, and a set of two dancers that hung on the wall. They were light blue with gold paint highlights.
A great many of us recall the phone mounted on the wall, usually in the kitchen. If you were to have a telephone in the living room or hall, you needed something to set it on. Small tables would suffice, but there was a specialty chair available since the 1920s for the purpose. It usually had a storage shelf below where telephone books could be stored (and those are also disappearing). The chair had a seat for sitting when conversing on the phone. You could only move the phone as far as your cord.
Today even phones (now known as “landlines”) are disappearing. Many members of the under 30 crowd will never own one, preferring their cell phones instead.
The giant furniture retailer Ikea reported recently that for many years the top selling item in their stores worldwide had been a particular book shelf — until 2012. Book shelves are no longer number one. As tablets and e-readers make further inroads into the market for reading and music, book shelves become an item that switches from a necessity to a luxury.
It’s probably inevitable that as we boomers age, we’ll continue to watch as items we saw as part of everyday life slowly but surely disappear. What household objects from your boomer youth have you noticed are no longer for sale in stores lately?