Old-School Items Gen Z Would Probably Not Be Able To Recognize

By Bruna L

No one likes to admit it, but everybody is getting older by the minute! Whether you like it or not, time passes for everyone. One day you’re young and hip, driving down the streets in your aqua blue Chevy, drinking Coca-Cola with your friends, and watching movies at the local drive-in. Next thing you know, time flashes by, you’ve grown old, and all the things you used to love are now considered obsolete! If only we could go back in time and relive the good old days of our youth, right? While time traveling is not really possible at the moment, the internet can definitely help! If you yearn for some big trip down memory lane, you’re at the right place. Here are 45 pictures that are nostalgia-inducing for Generation X.

The best slow cooker

Every American family out there had a crock-pot at home at some point or another! It’s not even an exaggeration. This incredibly useful kitchen appliance took the American world by storm during the ’70s and still is in use pretty much everywhere, even today.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/Shaneblaster

There is no Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s Eve without a trusty crock-pot slowly cooking and keeping all the delicious meals warm throughout the day. Many fond memories were, and still are, created around this appliance, and things won’t change anytime soon.

Music for days

Who doesn’t remember the good old days of the jukebox? Some bars and cafes today still have them, this time connected to the internet and loaded with as many songs as you could possibly want to hear, but nothing will ever come close to the original machines.

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There’s nothing quite like feeding your coins to the jukebox, pushing the buttons, and enjoying the slightly crackly, raspy sound of the vinyl record being played. Making friends with a similar taste in music was easier back then, that’s for sure!

Orange flavored aspirin

In today’s world, headaches are super common. But that’s not just a “today’s world” kind of problem! Back in the day, you could get a headache just as easily. Things haven’t changed that much. Take an aspirin, and things should be fine!

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Kids have always hated taking pills, especially when they taste bad. That’s why flavored aspirin was invented. Above, we can see the cure for many children’s headaches during the post-war era and well into the ’70s – chewable, orange-flavored medicine.

Safety hazard

The reason why there are so many health and safety rules regarding vehicles nowadays is that, back in the day, there used to be none! Accidents happened more often, fires were more common, and there was not much holding companies responsible.

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One of the biggest dangers back then was people smoking inside their cars. Not only was that a common occurrence, all the vehicles even had lighters built inside them to make the task easier! Thankfully, things have changed. And we’re all a bit better for that!

Radio Ga-Ga

Some older people just love bragging about how smart they are – they know how to use pre-historic technology that became obsolete twenty years ago, after all! Apparently, there’s no escaping that, and every generation has to pull up with the same kind of talk.

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If you’re surprised you became that sort of person, just be comforted that many of these things are coming back in style. Okay, no one uses analog radios on cars anymore, but the record player has come back with a vengeance!

Push button transmissions

Now here is something we don’t see every day, and most young folks don’t know it even existed in the first place: push-button transmissions! Super weird, right? But if you think about it, it kinda makes sense, especially if you consider they were around during the 50s and 60s!

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The future and all its fantastic technology were popular back then. TVs had just been invented less than two decades before – people were eager to move on to brighter times. For some reason, though, these transmissions were discontinued. If you got to drive one of these cars, you’re definitely lucky!

Vintage flour sifter

It doesn’t matter if you’re an amateur or pro baker. You know just how important it is to sift your flour before using it. Sifting allows for a better final product since it breaks down the bigger lumps of flour, which is super important for your recipes to work!

Image Courtesy of Flickr/Alpenglow Vintage

Now, your average sifter may be good enough for the job, but a better option would be a rotatory flour sifter! The old school models were probably used by a few generations, and they were definitely the best at their job!

Gotta go fast

Nowadays, if you want to listen to music, all you have to do is open the music app on your phone or computer, search for the song you want, and press play. Back in the day, though, you had to actually buy the physical records, bring them home and play them on your turntable!

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Brand-new LP or EP records sounded better, but they all had a distinct crackling to them, which was part of the charm of that era. They were also recorded at different speeds, and that’s why turntables had the slider above so that you could adjust it accordingly.

Delicious ding-dongs

Some people, especially older folks, say certain foods tasted much better a couple of decades ago. For one reason or another, these opinions are correct. One clear example of this way of thinking is the delicious Ding-Dongs from days long past.

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People who had them back when they were still wrapped in tin foil say they tasted much better than nowadays! No fake chocolate taste; everything was fresh and delicious! Guess we can only dream with these old Ding-Dongs now or try to make them at home.

The whitest shoe

White shoes have always been en vogue. For some reason, they tend to fit with many different outfits, from formal to casual. The only problem with them, and this is quite obvious, of course, is they tend to get dirty pretty quickly.

Image Courtesy of Flickr/Pete Sorbi

You can always rub them with a slightly wet tissue, but the results are dubious at best. Fortunately, there are products made specifically to keep your white shoes white for longer. They have been around for quite some time too, which is impressive if you think about it.

Baton twirl

High school and college sports are some of the most recognizable cultural traits of the United States. Every teen movie out there is proof of that. Who doesn’t recognize the young athlete character with their varsity jackets and group of super popular friends?

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Every game day was a party, where everyone came together to support their team. And the party included, of course, a marching band! That’s where we were most likely to find our baton twirlers, with their pristine uniforms and metal batons, ready to cheer their team to victory.

Coca-Cola vending machines

Even if we stop to think about it, we can’t remember a time when Coca-Cola wasn’t extremely popular. This soda revolutionized the soft drink industry and, as a result, is established as one of the biggest corporations in the entire world.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/shelby8959

Coca-Cola vending machines were even common back then than they are today and could be found pretty much anywhere. While their design has changed immensely throughout the years, the older machines still have their charm and are worth a pretty penny today.

Who remembers percolators?

Nowadays, there are plenty of different options if you want to drink a delicious cup of coffee. You probably have an electric coffee maker at home, and if you want something fancier, Starbucks and many other coffee shop branches are just around the corner.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/DenWaz

But back in the day, things weren’t so easy. If you wanted coffee, you had to brew it yourself (okay, cafes did exist, but you get what we mean). No magic was involved; just a simple percolator, water, ground coffee, and a heat source, of course! It seems complicated, but plenty of people still use percolators today.

Drive-in days

We didn’t have as much entertainment as people have today. At least it wasn’t as readily available as opening your laptop. Movie theaters were cool, and so were the burger joints, but people would grow tired of these places. They wanted an experience.

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If we wanted to watch a movie but were tired of the average movie theater, we would go to drive-ins. Those places were fabulous. A giant outdoor movie screen, a loudspeaker for every car, and as much privacy as you could get in a crowded parking lot.

The glider

Ah, the good old days of playing at the playground with your friends. Everyone would get together and play with all the crazy equipment there, some of which were not the safest. Swings, see-saws, merry-go-rounds – they were all very loved, but nothing was valued more than the glider!

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Those could often be found outside of playgrounds, installed in people’s backyards, and would bring hours and hours of joy to kids and adults alike. Want to have a good time with a loved one? Just hop in the glider, some Pixy Stix, and you’re good to go!

Can you hear this cash register?

No matter how old you are, there was something magical about going to the grocery store with your mom or dad when you were a kid. The packed shelves, the bright lights, all the colors, and the incredibly tall adults – it was quite the adventure.

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If you were born in the ’60s or ’70s, you probably remember all that and much more. And when it comes to the old cash registers markets and grocery stores used to have, you probably can hear the sound they made just by looking at the picture above.

School days

If you’re not American, maybe you’re not familiar with the item below. If you are, though, you probably just got hit by a big wave of nostalgia from your school days. Ah, the joys of spraying other kids with water when they weren’t paying attention. But do you know what this thing is?

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That’s a hand washing station: a communal sink where kids could wash their hands at the same time. There usually was a metal bar underneath the stone dish to stand on and a bottle of liquid soap sitting in the basin.

Credit card’s grandparent

Nowadays, there’s nothing more common than using credit cards when paying. We use these little things to pay for anything we buy, from groceries to cars. A quick swipe is all it takes! But some of you know it hasn’t always been this way.

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Back in the ’70s, there were no card readers, only credit card imprinters. These little, manually operated machines would imprint the face of a credit card into a double receipt that would get signed and torn in half – one half for the shopkeeper and the other for the customer.

70s electric skillet

If you cook at all, you probably already have a standard skillet at home, but if you’re looking to expand your skills, you should definitely buy an electric one. After all, they heat more evenly, you have better control over its temperature, and it can even bake in it, not just fry!

Image Courtesy of Facebook/DoYouRememberWhen1

And if you think this fantastic technology has seen its day, you’re incorrect. You probably had one at home growing up and maybe some of your favorite meals were made in it! Now, why not give this nifty appliance a new lease on life?

Stovetop popcorn

There’s not a single person out there who doesn’t enjoy a little popcorn now and then. This delicious snack is perfect for a night out at the movies or a night in with your family! Game night? Netflix? Just make some popcorn, and that’s all you need.

Image Courtesy of Facebook/DoYouRememberThe70sFanClub

But luckily, you can have popcorn even if you don’t have a microwave or you’re out camping. With the kind of popcorn pictured above, known as “Jiffy Pop,” all you need is a heat source, and you’ll have your snack in no time.

Hiding under the dress

Maybe some of us thought crocheting was for older folks when we were kids. But now it’s pretty trendy. If you think about your grandma’s house, you’ll probably remember seeing crocheted items everywhere – blankets, sweaters, and doilies. One of these decoration pieces stands out from the rest.

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If your grandma didn’t have a doll like the one above in her house, she’s doing the whole grandparent thing wrong. Do you know what this mysterious doll is hiding under her dress? Well, the answer is obvious – it’s cookies, duh!

The Nutcracker

For the youngsters among our readers, what do you think these strange tools were used for? It’s hard to tell, but maybe that’s an old medical set used by medieval doctors? Who knows, perhaps they were used to extract teeth by the dentists of yore?

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Those of you who know, stop giggling! The truth, of course, is much more mundane. This is a nutcracker set. It is probably from the 60s, and if you have one lying around, you could probably get a pretty penny for it.

Grandma’s blanket

Crochet blankets are slowly but surely coming back to popular culture, thanks to some artists who insist on wearing them during their performances. But if you’re a little bit older, you remember these blankets in a pretty different context.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/ansjah

Maybe you didn’t have one of those at home, but you knew someone who did! This “someone” was your grandmother most of the time, and she probably made you one. These blankets were and still are the best of the best.

Makeup made easy

Makeup tutorials have been trending on social media for quite a while now, but makeup itself has always been popular among women. The application process is not easy if you don’t want to look like a clown, but there are tools to make things easier.

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The mirror above, for example, is one of those tools. Having the average woman in mind, this mirror was created to sit on the dressing table; it had built-in adjustable lights and could also move up and down. Really cool and handy!

Those pesky chalk lines

Before whiteboards became the norm in every school and college pretty much everywhere in the world, teachers had to make do with chalkboards. You probably remember them; they’re not that old, but they had their downsides. We understand why they were replaced.

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If you ever wanted to have straight lines on your chalkboard – for music lessons, for example – you had to use a tool like the one above. Pretty rustic, we have to admit, but it always got the job done!

Vintage dining set

You had a pretty cool childhood if you recognize the dining set below. You probably have incredible memories of your mother or grandmother cooking their delicious food and serving it for your entire family while sitting around one of these.

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These tables and chairs were usually made of metal and plated with chrome. Not only did they look good, but they were basically indestructible! Their only downside was the vinyl that covered the tabletop and the sits – it commonly cracked!

Two keys, one car

There’s something charming about older cars, especially the old American models that would plague our day-to-day lives even if we were not from the good old US of A. Movies, commercials, newspapers, they were everywhere, and we loved them all!

Image Courtesy of Reddit/ChadWilliam1

A little curiosity about those older cars, especially with Chevys and Buicks, was that they had two keys. Remember that? One of them, the round one, would open the doors and the trunk, while the square one was for the ignition. Pretty nifty!

When the medicine is worse than the wound

You don’t even have to be that old to recognize the medicine below. If you were born in any decade of the previous century, you probably have been traumatized by mercurochrome. The burning caused by this product was worse than any wound could ever be!

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And still, our parents insisted on using it on us (and we probably used it on our kids). Who doesn’t remember the bright red color it had and the feeling of a thousand needles penetrating our scratches whenever our moms used it to clean our wounds?


It may seem impossible to believe that cell phones didn’t always exist, even for those of us who remember the days they didn’t. People had to rely on landlines and payphones to make their calls in those dark times! “Got a quarter?”

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Honestly, only Gen Z kids won’t recognize this photo from childhood. The booths displayed above were a common sight around airports and bus stations. Nowadays, you can still find them around, but outlets have substituted the phones to charge your cell phone.

Worse than Legos

Anyone who has little kids around knows just how awful it is to step on Legos! Similar to stubbing your little toe, the pain caused by those little plastic blocks not only hurts immensely, but it can also make you mad!

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Now, imagine the pain if you ever stepped on one of the metal pieces above. Ouch! Here’s a refresher: these pieces are part of a game of jacks, in which the players have to collect the pieces before a bouncy ball hits the ground. Many hours of fun were had with these little things!

The best grilled cheese sandwich

If you studied at a public school in the past sixty years or so, you probably had (literal) government cheese at some point or another. This cheese, provided by the United States government to its welfare beneficiaries, among others, has been around since WWII!

Image Courtesy of Youtube/Charlie Brown’s Excellent Adventures

If you’re looking for the best cheese for your grilled cheese sandwich or your mac and cheese, look no further. This kind would melt like no other and tasted insanely good (at least to our memories). Now we’re all hungry for grilled cheese!

Merry Christmas!

Every kid dreams of Christmas! The beautiful white snow, the colorful decorations, the delicious dinner. But more importantly, Santa and all the gifts. Who doesn’t remember waking up early on Christmas morning and finding a stack of presents under the tree?

Image Courtesy of YouTube/Maria Cisneros Toth

Not everyone was this privileged, though. That’s why the product above existed! These stockings were filled with inexpensive plastic toys, and pretty much anyone could afford them. So, if you couldn’t get something top quality for your kids, there were always the Woolworth’s stockings to save the day!

Old school kitchen sink

Ah, the good old days of cast iron kitchen sinks! With their easily identifiable designs, these sturdy sinks were the hallmarks of the ’50s. If you had one of those at home, you probably also had a cool car in the garage and a great taste in music as well.

Image Courtesy of Pinterest/angeestla

Unlike today’s sinks, the cast iron ones from back in the day were built to last. They were heavy and sturdy but super easy to clean. Don’t drop a heavy pan or sharp knife on them; otherwise, the enamel coating will chip.

An image you can smell

Men aren’t known for using many personal hygiene products in their day-to-day life. Shampoo, soap, aftershave. Maybe some hair conditioner, but that’s it. This perception probably comes from a time when there weren’t many men’s products available in the first place!

Image Courtesy of Facebook/DoYouRememberWhen1

While we have a much wider variety available today, some of us are set in our ways. You may not recognize the product above, but you certainly have smelled it before. Old Spice may have new packaging, but it smells the same.

Grandma’s potato peeler

One of the first things people teach you once you’re old enough to learn how to cook is how to peel vegetables. After all, why would your mother spend hours peeling potatoes when you could be the one doing the boring, repetitive task?

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Yes, potato peelers are still common today, but today’s peelers have a rubber handle and safer blades. Similar, but also incredibly different from the one pictured above! Try using that one, and you’ll soon remember why your mother and grandmother were not cooks but kitchen warriors!

Watch where you step

If you’re on the younger side of life, you probably have no idea what pull tabs are! Any soda you buy today comes with tiny tabs you don’t remove. But if you are on the more mature side like us, you know what we’re talking about!

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You see above a pull tab that probably came from a soda can. They worked just like today’s version, except pulling them meant removing the whole aluminum cover on the top of the can. Pretty neat, but a hazard at the beach if you just tossed it aside. Ouch!

New number, who dis?

Back in the day, before cell phones were a thing, people had to write down their family and friends’ numbers somewhere. Address books were standard for that reason! Big or small, you could find them everywhere, especially beside the landline in the kitchen.

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Some of them were cooler than others, though. With the one above, you didn’t have to spend minutes flipping through its pages to get where you wanted; you just had to move the slider to the letter you were looking for, press the button, and it would open there! We just had a regular old book.

Washboard before it was cool

When we think about washboards today, all that comes to mind are folk bands who like to use alternative musical instruments in their repertoire. But back when washing machines weren’t always accessible (even though they existed), washboards were used for, well, washing clothes.

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If you want your clothes squeaky clean and aren’t afraid of a good workout, then washboards should make a comeback in your life. They’re perfect for cleaning heavier fabrics and removing stains, plus your arms and shoulders will look completely shredded in no time.

The greatest cooking tool

Fewer things in life are more frustrating than biting into that juicy steak you’ve been eyeing all night only to discover it is rubbery and chewy. Yuck! That’s why there are many ways to tenderize your meat before roasting it.

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Certain powders help, and marinating your meat in some citric acid is good, but nothing beats a good, old-fashioned meat tenderizer, right? There was no additional flavor and no waiting time, just a bit of brute force, and we had perfect steaks.

Aluminum foil koozie

Camping has always been a big tradition for many American families. There’s something beautiful about relaxing together in nature, away from the city and all the problems. Nothing creates stronger bonds than seeing all the stars that dot our skies with your parents in the middle of nowhere.

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One of the things people tend to remember the most about those trips is camping food. Marshmallows, popcorn, and soda. There was a great trick to keep your soda cold passed from generation to generation. All you had to do was wrap it in tin foil before leaving the house, and it would work like a koozie.

Kitchen utensil or torture device?

Potatoes are the kind of veggies everybody loves! Be they mashed, roasted, turned into French fries, whatever! There’s not a single soul out there who doesn’t enjoy them one way or another. But do you remember how we used to prepare them back in the day?

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These old-school potato mashers did the trick. These babies helped our mothers and grandmother perfect their amazing mashed potato recipes. They were made from metal and were super heavy, and that is exactly why they would get the job done right every time.

The shoes that fit

If you ever set foot in an old-school shoe store, you probably had to step in a device similar to the one shown below to make sure your feet were measured to perfection and your shoes would fit right! This was standard.

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You know just how amazing this measuring tool is if you have. Not many people know it by name, but the Brannock device, as it is called, revolutionized the shoe industry in the US. It was even used during WWII to make sure soldiers’ boots and shoes fit correctly.

The blue light special

Depending on where you grew up, you probably never heard of the Blue Light Special, but if you were lucky enough to live close to a Kmart, you and your family most likely took part in one of their crazy impromptu sales.

Image Courtesy of Flickr/SchuminWeb

And what indicated a sale was going on? If you said “a blue light,” you’re correct! After the sale was announced through the PA system, customers would have 15 minutes to grab the product, which could be anything from sports equipment to clothes and even food from the deli.

Another car thing

This one is for those who love old cars and every little thing about them. Before we had smart cars that could practically drive themselves, we had to do everything ourselves down to switching gears manually. Some of us don’t miss stick shifts!

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We also had to manually regulate how bright our headlights were, and that’s where the little button above came into play. That’s a Low/High beam switch. They used to be on the floor, close to the pedals, and many still fondly remember them.

Private movie theater

When it comes to toys, probably every kid between the 1940s and 1990s wanted a View-Master at some point or another. This toy was a slide viewer that displayed nifty images of all sorts of things, especially characters of kids’ movies.

Image Courtesy of Reddit/UFOBaby11

While the View-Master gained its reputation as a toy aimed at children, it hasn’t always been like that. At first, they were actually aimed at adults, mostly with tourist and educational content. It wasn’t until the 60s that they started to focus on children.