You Think You’ve Aged? Items From the Early 1900s and How They Have Changed

Occasionally, when we stare at the mirror, we are amazed at how much we have changed. Not only do we look different, but we also operate in a totally different manner. Everything around us has its share of evolution, and in most cases, for the best as we are enjoying the wonders of technology, engineering, and how not — the human brain.
We have collected items, animals, and gadgets that have remarkably accepted the rules of nature and have changed (mostly for the better) over the years.

Grocery Stores

Grocery stores these days have everything you need under one roof; however, things weren’t like this at the beginning of the 1900s’. The milkman delivered the milk, the butcher took care of your meat and poultry, and the greengrocer freshly picked fruit and veg.


The local supermarket would hold mostly dry essentials and not household devices like today. In addition to that, the cash register, an important part of the grocery store, has dramatically changed, from a manually operated machine to a computerized register today.


Not only devices and places have changed, but even man’s best friend, the dog, has been through some changes. Breading, genetic adaptations, and other issues interfered with by humans, have managed to cause such a change in some species of dogs. Over the years, many changes have influenced the original characteristics of many species, such as average weight that had decreased, the back legs positioning, and the coat condition.


Many changes are a natural consequence of global warming, a change of habitat, and evolution. However, a lot of changes are in human hands’ responsibility.

Roller  Blades

Roller skates are a symbol of the 1970s and 1980s, and rollerblades weren’t late to follow in the early 1990s. They were originally intended for ice hockey players and became a sport and commute essentials that are seen all over the parks until this day.

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The first roller blades that came to life were not as appealing as the ones we know today, and by the photos we found, weren’t so comfortable either. By its looks, they resembled more of a miniature size car prototype than any other device intended for leisure.


The urge to listen to music not only in a live concert has been around for over 100 years. In the 1900s, a horn was added to a music producer box, which the sounds were produced from. This magnificent piece of history is called the Edinson cylinder player or a gramophone.


These days, modern speakers are small, compact, and don’t have to be connected to an electric line to operate. With modern technology, Bluetooth is doing wonders, as our favorite tunes can be heard out and aloud from anywhere at any time.


Up until 1914, airplanes were used mainly for mail. Just before the 1920′ kicked in, far distance traveling changed humanity for good. Salt Lake City to Los Angeles with a stop in Las Vegas was the first route taken for a rich passenger’s journey by plane. The journey was noisy, crowded, and very uncomfortable.

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Today, thankfully, things are different. From luxurious first-class or business class to the low-budget economy class, everyone travels. Business, or pleasure, with or without a suitcase included, free meal or free selection of seats, planes are the way to see the world.

Table Lamps

Before being a great decor item, the lamps were simply intended to produce light. Years and years ago, table lamps were made from a simple metal frame and bulbs. People didn’t invest or give interest in home decorating like today, and the image here says it all.


Today, table lamps come in all shapes and sizes, in all colors, and from all materials. They are an essential part of the home decor and complete the atmosphere you want to create. We wonder what atmosphere was created back in the 1900s with those designs.

Vacuum Cleaners

What on earth did people do before the vacuum cleaner? At first, the vacuum cleaner was heavy and not the easiest device to work with. It was intended to clean carpets and rugs only, not thinking that years later it would be the main cleaning device in most households.


These days, the modern vacuum cleaners clean rugs and have added parts to be used in the car, separate parts for corners, and even cleaners that can wash the floors after the vacuum is done. The next step is probably a vacuum cleaner that will cook dinner and wash the clothes.


Old fashioned calculators were intended to calculate simple mathematical problems. There was no way to solve complex tasks. The calculators were big in size and quite primitive in use as most simple calculations could be done in one’s head.  These days, calculators can do so much, and make us think so little.


There are graphic calculators which enable users to create graphs making this device much more than just a calculator. We wonder what kids in the early 1900s did when trying to solve their math homework without a proper calculator. We assume that those kids actually used their brains.


The tropical, yellow, loved by all fruit has a long history, and you might be amazed but this delight wasn’t as yummy as it is these days. Bananas have been around for thousands of years, but not in the form we are all familiar today with.

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Crossbreeds of this fruit have been formed repeatedly to improve the appearance and flavor. Were there banana splits or banoffee pies back then? We will never know, but what we do know is that with bananas looking as they did, they would probably go under the name of Banana Spills or Band off Pie.

Woman’s Bathing Suits

Women’s bathing suits in the early 1900s were basically short, tight dresses that could be worn in the water. It was shorter than the day-to-day dresses worn back then but far less revealing than the modern bikini. The variety of lengths and styles we can easily find in any high street store did not exist.

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The days went by, as did the fabric, and the suits became progressively shorter, until 1946 when the bikini came to life. These days, the fuller styles are coming back in style, making the 1920’s ladies fit in perfectly with the local scene.

Car Dashboards

The car’s dashboard went through changes that have much more impact on the driver’s wellbeing when behind the wheel. When the car came to life, the intention of the car was to take you from A to B in a four-wheeled vehicle.


There was no investment in the dashboard’s facilities, keeping it only for showing you how fast you are driving and how much gas you have left. These days, the car dashboard holds the music system, aircon control, camera, and basically anything you can think of to make your car a no-reason-to-leave vehicle.


Who sewed the first pair of socks and when was it? If you can answer these two questions, you definitely know your socks and footwear history. The first pair of socks originated in Eygpt where pharos and princes pulled up their “Piloi” — ancient animal hair socks.


These days, socks are mainly worn between the foot and the boot. They can be found in all colors of the rainbow and are used not only to keep those pinkies warm but also as a fashion statement.


Playgrounds have been around for years, providing an escape oasis for children (and their parents who enjoy sitting on benches, doing nothing while their kids play). Over 100 years ago, playgrounds were a bit different than what they are today. The slides, swings, and other elements were made mainly from metal, making the playground not really a safe place for kids.

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These days, the playgrounds are colorful and made from sustainable and recycled materials. Most children all over the world, spend their first few years in and around the playground, granting their parents some peace and quiet.

Football Helmets

Football. The national American sport has been around for years. It is a merge of soccer and rugby and is one of the most famous sports games played. The football helmet, one of the uniform essentials parts, has evolved over the years and doesn’t look like it did when first introduced.


It started as a leathered extra large-cap and as the years went by, the leather gave its way to a hard plastic shell forming the helmet we are all familiar with today.

Coffee Machines

For years and years, coffee machines existed only to serve the cafe’s clientele. They were noisy, badly designed, slow, and took too much space on the counter. However, they produced the addictive aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans. These days, almost every household has its own personal coffee machine.


It’s small, easy to operate, and unfortunately, the aroma is nowhere near the one’s the older versions produced. They are well designed and have become a piece of kitchen decor even if you’re not a coffee drinker.

Life Jackets

Resembling a barrel more than anything else, the old-fashioned life jackets weren’t very useful. We find it hard to believe anyone could move around in one of these, let alone signal for help.

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These days, life jackets are more human-friendly and don’t hide your curves or your sixpack. We are curious to know if these jackets will appear in a future list of this sort, showing how it evolved into a fashion accessory, found in every high street clothes store.


If you were to pick up an old-fashioned razor, you would ask yourself how on earth wasn’t a pack of plasters attached to each blade. The old shaving blades were heavy metal made and were not disposable like the ones we use today.

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Razor blades today are made with plastic handles, are much safer than the old ones, and you can find them in a variety of colors, shapes, and ridiculously high prices.


Apparently, snow is more blinding than the sun, so many years ago the residents of the Arctic, came up with these dark shades to help get by the day when the blinding snow was all around. Like many other things, the sunglass’s original purpose has skipped away and these are commonly used for blocking the sun’s strong rays.

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Today sunglasses can be found with optical lenses, with or without UV filters, and in any color or shape imaginable. All major fashion brands have their own unique sunglasses line, making this item a must on your accessory list.

Washing Machines

Could you imagine having to push and pull and push and pull really hard to get your clothes clean? Well just a few decades ago, that’s what it took. A lot of pushing and pulling. Washing clothes wasn’t as easy as it is today and the vintage machines required physical strength to operate.


Modern machines are a must-have in every household, and even a three-year-old kid could easily put on a wash. Just one button to click and you’re free to do your next chore.

Bars and Pubs

Bars have been around for years, always playing a significant part in daily escapism for the regular working-class man. Not too much was invested in decor or scenery, and there was no thought behind the liquor arrangement or variety on the shelves.

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Today, thousands of dollars are invested in interior design, lighting, and furniture, making the bar not only a place to stop by after a day’s work but a place to spend and enjoy an entire evening. A gathering place for friends, with a story behind each and every bottle displayed.

Toilet Paper

There is no need to detail how toilet paper looks and feels today, as we all use it daily worldwide. Toilet paper is known to be used in far China for over 1500 years. It was introduced to Europe in the mid 19th century. However, it was sold in a very different manner.

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Sheets of paper were stocked in packages resembling a sort of notebook packed in a paper bag. We can say that we are very glad evolution hit toilet paper as well and that we are privileged to use it in its updater form.

Men’s Bathing Suits

Believe it or not, but not so long ago, men’s bathing suits were all one piece. Something that is almost only a woman’s thing these days. In the 1930’s men begun removing the top part of the suits. This phenomenon kicked off in Europe and gradually made its way to the United States of America.

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These days men wear different lengths and styles of bathing suits, challenging others with innovative and daring designs. From shorts to speedos, from Hawaiian style trunks to red Bay Watch designed shorts, they are everywhere and all over posing off their preferred style.

Cash Register

Early 20th century shopkeepers only had one cash register which was made of brass. This heavy, expensive machine would basically add up the prices and provide a total amount to be paid. Club member discounts or reward points were unheard of.


The points had to wait for the 21st century, where the cash registers can not only calculate the amount to be paid, but can also add the reward points for each item, deduct the discount on selected items, and offer you goods you didn’t think of buying, you have no use for, and will probably end up throwing away.

Electric Fans

The desktop fan started with 2 blades turning around and blowing air that was basically the same temperature as the air in the room. However, the air was in motion, making people feel cooler and fresher. The old-fashioned fans cannot be compared with the modern air conditioner, but modern ones have not called the day, as their performance is no better than the old ones.


Bottom line is, not all modern devices are an improvement of the old. We can hear “I told you so” from hoarders all the way to here.


A classroom at the beginning of the 20th century consisted of a blackboard, chalks, desks, chairs, pupils, and a teacher. The system was strict, the pupils were miserable, and the 21st century delivers a brand new view of child education. The blackboard is replaced by a smartboard, the table arrangement, and classroom interior is diverse and adjustable.

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We must ask if the educational pannels have finally reached these amazing conclusions of updating the school’s environment, why on earth isn’t the content being taught updated? Give us one example of using the Pythagorean theorem these days!

Car Keys

One hundred years ago, the car key was simply a regular key, usually with the car’s manufacturer’s symbol engraved into it. The keys were simple keys used for opening and locking the car door. These days, opening the car door is not their main purpose.


They open the trunk of the car, control the music pannel, operate the rooftop, turn on the AC in your home, and switch on the massage button attached to the car’s seats. Who needs a vehicle these days? All we need to make our life better is a set of keys.


Over the years, phones have gone through many changes in design and size but the biggest change of them all is when they became mobile. Back in the day, telephones were used for communication via speech, and today, the communication platforms are unlimited, starting with verbal, text written, video calls, and more.


The phone today is one of the most important devices for humanity, making it almost impossible to lead a normal life without it. Basically, if we held a survey asking people what would they choose first, an arm or a phone, we all know the answer to that.

Baby Stroller

Baby strollers became popular in the mid 19th century but kept the same structure for several decades. Somewhere along the 20th century, it became more of what we know today. The stroller was first designed with a metal frame and a not-so-comfortable inner piece, making the baby regret the moment it chose to come out, knowing that the womb was far more pleasant.


Today’s strollers are definitely smaller, made from friendly material, and provide our babies a great spot for napping, as more and more parents find the stroller the easiest place to put the little ones to sleep.

Sewing Machines

Sewing machines are not a device used by many these days. Going back a few decades, everyone, and we mean everyone, had one of these machines, as they were essential like an iron or a cooker. If your kid fell, scraped their knee, and ripped their pants, how do you think a patch was stitched on?


From a stable, attached-to-table machine, to a compact portable, lightweight friendly device, the sewing machines have no need for pedals at the base and definitely come in handy when something needs stitching (and no, this won’t work on stitching wounds).

Traffic Lights

We put little thought into something we set our eyes on almost every day, not realizing that the traffic lights we use are probably one of the most important inventions ever. Controlling traffic and saving lives, they haven’t been always so driver-friendly.


Starting off with the support of semaphore hands, the traffic lights in the old days were manually operated. It took a few decades before they became 100% computerized as they are today. So next time you’re in your car, waiting for that green light, remember Garrett Morgan who invented these lights, making the roads safer for us all.


People have always got married. But what has changed in the way we get married today? What differs us from the 20th-century couples, that make us occasionally long for those times to return? Black tie was the accepted dress code for weddings back then, and this was followed by a very formal ceremony and dinner party.


Today, a wedding can be held morning, noon, or night. You can wear whatever you feel comfortable in, and the gender of the couple can vary. A serious venue that’s become totally lightheaded event that we all wait for.

Insulin Pens

In 1985 Novo Nordisk Invented the first insulin pump pen. This was a breakthrough because up until then, diabetics could only have the insulin dose through a syringe, making it painful and inconvenient. The first pump pen was primitive in design and in order to use it, a trip down to the hospital was required.  As if being diabetic wasn’t enough.


Great minds worked on improving the pump pen, and today’s design makes insulin delivery much easier. It can be used anywhere and anytime. Thank god for modern medicine.


When stories are passed down from generation to generation, small details and unprecise facts might be dropped and forgotten along the way. The camera created by man prevents this from happening as we have the ability to freeze time and capture moments that will never return.


The first camera invented was heavy, a fuss to operate, and had no added features or filters like we have today. Besides being smaller and lighter, making it possible to carry around, the quality of photographs these days, has turned this into an art, introducing top photographers, bringing objects and people, to life.

Data Storage

It is so easy these days to transfer your data on a USB key, transfer information through Bluetooth, send an image on your WhatsApp and save it on your mobile device. But how was data stored years ago before all these technology delights were invented? Believe it or not, paper cards were used. It is only natural to ask, what did they do when a cup of coffee was spilled nearby?


Those born over 30 years ago, memory cards are as common as cars, and they could not imagine storing information on any other material.


The first motorcycle resembles a big bike.  A big bike with an engine. The thrill of riding one of these down a curvey road was probably there even on the old version of the motorbike. However, technology and engineering have definitely turned the modern motorbike, as we know it today, into a road monster.


The fastest motorbike these days is the Dodge Tomahawk reaching 420 mph, it costs over 500K dollars, and looks slightly better than the one Gottlieb Daimler created in the late 1890s.


The first ballpen patented, didn’t do wonders when the cold winter days came, as the ink became thick and wasn’t able to flow easily around the ball and paper. Since then, many adaptations were made, and the ballpen exists and works perfectly even today.

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There are many designers and sizes to choose from, and the colors are endless. Even though typing is becoming more and more common, and the art of writing seems to drift away, we have a feeling that pens are going to stick around for good.


The first refrigerators were so big, they took up almost half the size of an average kitchen. Now, don’t envy the 1900’s people for having extra-large fridges. It was the engine, being too big, not the space within. They resembled kitchen cabinets more than anything else, and the design was at no one’s concern.


These days, refrigerators do more than keep food cold. They control the humidity level, they are an integral part of the kitchen’s design. High-end models have a transparent door, so you can see how much milk you have left without even opening it!

Gas Stations

A gas station is a gas station. It’s there to provide gas. And only two customers at a time. That’s how it was a few decades ago and things have surely changed since. The modern gas station can serve a number of customers at a time and offers much more than just gas.


You can actually do your entire weekly shop at a gas station, as you can find groceries, toys, daily essentials, and basically anything you set your mind to.


Although actual writing hasn’t changed in centuries, and the alphabet used today is the same alphabet used in the 19th century, books have gone through some changes. The books you hold today are not the ones held by your ancestors. Books used to have only hardcovers, and the papers were of a brownish color and much thicker.


Today, the covers may be hard or soft, the pages are mostly white or cream-colored, and the cover itself usually has an image or illustration, in relation to the book’s title. Presumably, having all books look-alike would make reading boring. Don’t you think?


Items and devices that we use on a daily basis don’t receive the slight thought and attention they deserve. Did you know that your home shower has gone through a lot of changes in the last century? It started off with a plastic curtain, hung on a metal frame with a shower tap above. Not very appealing.


These days, people spend a lot of thought and investment into their shower, as nothing can beat a nice pampering one, at the end of a hard day’s work.

Baby Monitors

If you have kids, you could not imagine their first year without a baby monitor. These monitors literally allow you to get some sleep at night. You can watch them while they’re having a nap during the day and monitor their movements at night.

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The first baby monitors might have done the job for those who had trouble hearing, but by the looks of it, that’s about all it did. They were aligned with the first radio developed, and likewise, had their own share of evolution. Today, the monitors have it all. Video, audio, and babysitting services all day long.


Have you ever thought of hospitals back in the early 1900s? Over 50 people sharing the same room, not enough medication for everyone, and we don’t want to start even discussing the sanitary condition of the wards. These days, in some hospitals you could accidentally think you have walked into a hotel room as they are comfortable, clean, and inviting.

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All rooms are equipped with the best treating machines, you can choose a city or sea view and sharing is unheard of (if you have loads of money). 21st-century hospitals, here we come.

Beer Trucks

We ask ourselves, how many times did the old beer truck lose a few barrels on its way to delivery? You can see by this image, that back in the days, beer went through a few stages of hell before reaching its final destination. With weather conditions and unsafe storage on the truck, we would be surprised if anyone got their drink on time.

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Today’s trucks are safe, good looking, they protect their content with grace, and assure whoever wants a cold beer to celebrate the weekend will have one.


As you could guess, the old-fashioned irons were, indeed, made of iron. Very heavy iron. They had to be heated on stoves, filled with coal, and basically, make everyone’s life harder than what it was already.


However, the wise people of those times came back to the drawing board, changed the iron into quality plastic, designed a hole for water to boil, and voila — the modern iron was created.

Broiler Chicken

In the past, one whole chicken would feed a family of three. Today, one chicken is enough for a family of six. No, they are not eating more, it’s the hormones and steroids that are turning chickens into monsters. Farmers, scientists, and veterinarians are claiming differently, but research shows that if modern food and modern medicine are affecting us, humans, it is surely affecting animals and especially the ones we eat.


We wonder how many people one chicken will feed in 20 years. It will probably be a “chickrich”. A cross between a chicken and an ostrich.


The first-ever pair of spectacles (or glasses as most of us call them), were the “Jhon Lennon” glasses we are all familiar with. Round metal frames, giving a sophisticated and classy look. Today, frames are made from various materials such as plastic, bamboo wood, and more, turning the frames into a daily accessory.


The lenses have been upgraded as well,  with short sight lenses, long sight lenses, and any color in the book lenses. We must admit, that not everyone looks so sophisticated wearing a pair of modern glasses.


Besides the pizza and the pasta, the Romans bequeathed the world with the drill. In ancient Rome, slaves would use these old-fashioned drills for archaeological uses, which involved a lot of physical work. You can see how different the ancient drill is from what we know today.


These days, every handyman has a decent drill for fixing, hanging, building, and ruining whatever comes in hand.


Unfortunately, most of us were introduced to camouflage through wars, although mother nature with her own grace and pride shows us how it’s done naturally! Troops and equipment used this method for disguise, and in some way, we are glad that time has made things escalate. We cannot imagine these objects seen in the battlefields of today.


A more friendly way of disguising yourself is used by all.  Shades of brown and green are spread on, merging the troops with nature.


If only today’s kids would appreciate the richness of their toy collection. If only the kids of today would be grateful for what they have. We bet if you told them, that 100 years ago, a small car model and playing with sticks were the day’s highlight, they would probably not believe you.


These days, PlayStations and Xbox’s are the devices that rule the day, however, classics such as Lego, Barbie dolls and Playmobile, never seem to lose their wonder.