Sunday, January 18, 2009

Blast from the past

Not-so-obsolete nuke
Dalton, GA, January 2009

This is the microwave oven that greeted us in the otherwise new-looking hotel we stayed at on our way home from vacation earlier this month. Our kids weren't quite sure what to make of the dials and the lack of anything resembling a keypad or digital display.

I looked around the room because I thought Christopher Lloyd's Doc Brown character from Back to the Future was about to jump out from the drapes and freak me out with a ginormous "Great Scott!" before sweeping me away to his Mr. Fusion-equipped DeLorean DMC-12 for a quick trip back to the 1970s when these kind of radiation-leaking appliances were commonplace.

The irony of my taking this picture: our so-called "new" microwave heated its last (kosher) burrito as soon as we got back to the house. First order of business the next day was to buy a new one. So much for the supremacy of today's technology.

Your turn: Old technology that turns out to be better than the new. Please discuss.

One more thing: This photo is of something aged. So's this week's Thematic Photographic. Please go here for more. New Caption This goes up later today. Assuming the snow doesn't get me first!


Nikki-ann said...

I think the older something is the more likely it is to last and to work. Things just aren't built to last these days. Machines now seem to be manufactured in such a way that you'll have to buy another in just a couple of years or so and thus keping the manufacturing world turning.

Nikki-ann said...

P.S. I'm here from NetChick's! (I nearly forgot that!).

Katney said...

I inherited my mother's car 14 years ago. The odometer is about to hit 329,000 miles. I had declared that I would not retire till it quit taking me to work--that that meant I would be there for two more weeks or till I was 112. But I retired when I got laid off, so who knows how long it would have taken me 40 miles each way for work.

Pamela said...

we have an old Hot Point fridge in our garage. Someone gave it to us 20 plus years ago. It is one that has a teeny little freezer that hangs inside on the right side of the fridge compartment. Says, "speed freezer" on the metal front.

We think it is likely a model from the 1950s - possibly 40s?

Meanwhile in our kitchen, the fridge we had when we were gifted that old fridge for our garage, is gone to fridge heaven. The one we bought to replace it has been repaired several times. Parts of it are not working and freezer components have broken.

We've been looking for a new one that fits in the space (they're all tooooo big now)

Meanwhile, that little fridge in the garage just keeps on humming.

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Sugarwilla said...

I love how the Microwave says "Gourmet Series" !
Love the post!

bobbie said...

You mean, I could have just taken a photo of my old microwave for this week's theme?

Vodka Mom said...

I have my mother's old microwave- and it still works well!! I love it- it's comforting to me to use it.

Linda said...

I'm living with one of those in our hotel room too...only ours only has ONE dial on it, and I'm pretty sure it's going to blow up or die before we leave this place. My MIL still has a dial microwave. I'm so used to pushing one button to cook food in the nuke-box that I can't ever remember to set it right.....

Mojo said...

I had one of those once upon a time. Can't recall now what became of it.

I'm a little ambivalent about the old vs. new in the technology department. On one hand, the cars I owned 20 or so years ago were ones I could take apart and fix myself. On the other, it seemed like I was always having to do that. And what was the best manufacturer's warranty you could get on a new car in ... say... 1980? Maybe 3 years/36,000 miles? A lot less than 10 yrs/100,000 miles anyway, which is the best one going now (I think).

Back in the 70's for whatever reason I could never keep a wristwatch in working order. No matter what kind it was. I tried the mechanical windup kind and they always gained time. I tried the LCD digital kind and I couldn't keep batteries in them. I was starting to think I had some kind of weird electromagnetic fieldishness going on when quartz watches became affordable in the consumer market and my problems were mysteriously solved.

But certain things do seem to be designed to wear out these days. Appliances don't seem to be as durable (witness not only the Levy microwave, but the Levy toaster of not so long ago!) and computers... well, they're obsolete by the time you get the box open. The VCR's of the early 80's were big clunky beasts that cost a fortune, but some of those are still ticking while their descendants have been replaced multiple times over. And who can forget the Pentax K-1000? I mean really. About as basic as you could get, but immune to all the weird stuff that happens to our fancy 21st century automatics and digitals. Not so much for bells and whistles, but cockroach tough and I know a bunch of people that still haven't given theirs up. And probably won't.

Meanwhile, my 2-year-old Canon 30D has captured over 18,000 images and I took it in for cleaning once just because I thought I should. (I was right of course, but I could have probably gone a while longer.) And my 7-year-old EOS A2 35mm? Never once in the 5 years of its active life in the shop.

Bottom line? Good stuff is good stuff no matter when it was made. I don't think date of manufacture alone is a good indicator of quality or durability. Sure there are times I say "They don't build 'em like that anymore". But about half the time that's followed by "And it's a good thing too!"

Lisa Shafer said...

Wow. My microwave was purchased in 1986, and it even has a keypad and digital display!