Nearly Extinct Electronic Devices That Are Rarely Seen Anymore

When living in the moment it can be difficult to appreciate just how quickly technology can march on, and for an electrical installer, it can be fascinating to see how formerly essential electronics are rendered obsolete and destined for disposal.

In some cases there is no longer a need for a particular appliance, in others, it is a matter of being rendered obsolete or a safety consideration that was barely a passing thought decades ago.

In other cases an obsolete electrical good represents a change in culture or a shift in priorities, but whilst many people have moved on, many electronics have a niche market that still uses them.

Whatever the reason, there are some examples of electronic devices that formerly dominated our lives that are seldom seen anymore.

Fax Machines

During the 1980s and 1990s, the fax machine was a must-have electronic good for any business-minded individual, as it allowed documents and photographs to be sent over a telephone network in a way that was orders of magnitude faster than recorded delivery.

There are still some sectors that use them such as law enforcement and medicine where they can be more secure than an online network, but email, instant messaging and the internet as a whole has made the system obsolete for most other people.

Landlines And Answering Machines

Mobile phones have existed since the mid-1980s, but the technology was so expensive and the infrastructure lacking that it took until the last few years of the 20th century for mobile phones to become more widespread.

Before that, the main way to contact other people was to use a landline telephone, a giant phonebook and an answering machine in case you were away from the house.

Mobile phones from a very early point had answering machine functionality and could be taken with you, slowly leading to the end of the landline as we know it. With smartphones able to do nearly anything most people need, it is unlikely for them to make a comeback either.

Analogue Projectors

A common fixture in classrooms around the country, analogue projectors such as overhead and slide projectors have been all but eliminated, and traditional film projection is consigned to a dwindling number of arthouse cinemas.

Digital projectors and later smart screens and video walls would lead these older appliances to be confined to warehouses and recycling plants, and the technology often used to make presentations and slideshows would evolve into software such as PowerPoint.

Teletext Televisions

Before the age of high-definition smart televisions that can run all manner of streaming services directly, one of the most advanced interactive features on many televisions was the information service Teletext (or Ceefax for the BBC channels).

Initially launched in 1974, the service lasted over three decades before being ended by the digital switchover, but by the end with more households having access to the internet than ever before, it was mostly only used for the quiz game Bamboozle, Digitiser and the Holiday directory.

Unlike many of the other technologies on this list, Teletext cannot be used anymore, requiring an infrastructure that has not existed for over a decade to function. However, the concept has inspired several newsfeed internet websites, and its most popular features still exist in some form.