The Gadgets Page

December 24, 2009

Kodak Pocket Camera I and IA Instruction Manual

Filed under: Cameras,Retro Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

While shopping at a used bookstore, I found this little instruction manual for a Kodak Pocket Camera.

Kodak Pocket Camera I and IA Instruction Manual

It is for a hundred year old camera, but some of the advice is good even today. I love their simple definitions for things like Depth of Focus and f-Stops. This photograph showing the proper way to hold the camera is wonderful!

Kodak Pocket Camera I and IA Instruction Manual

These old Kodak cameras had a feature that I wish modern day cameras had. It was called the Autographic Feature and allowed you to document notes about the photograph when you took it.

Kodak Pocket Camera I and IA Instruction Manual

The advice on how to take photographs is still good even today. I love this description of why it’s important to keep your lens clean. All of us need to remember this simple tip when we pull our camera phones out of our lint infested pockets for a quick shot.

Kodak Pocket Camera I and IA Instruction Manual

If you own a camera like this, then this instruction manual might be helpful. You can see the whole manual here:

If you don’t own a camera like this, it’s sure fun to see how far photography has progressed in the last century and how the definition of “pocket” has changed over the years.

December 17, 2009

Talking Clock

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets,Retro Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

Last weekend, I went to visit my mom. In the bathroom, I saw a clock that has been part of the house since the Eighties and it looked it.

Talking Clock

We bought this clock for Carol when her eyes started failing. When you press the button on the top, the clock announces the time. Here is a video of it in action.

I’ve seen this clock in my parents’ house for two decades, but something about the retro Max Headroom style made it jump out at me. It suddenly looked out of place in their house. All the Eighties stuff that used to be in their house has slowly gone away, leaving this last vestige. The talking clock was spared because of its functionality. We should all be so lucky.

December 2, 2009

Digital Duck

Filed under: Retro Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

Splashdance at Amazon.comI am swimming in nostalgia. I found Mickey Mouse’s Splashdance album on Amazon’s MP3 downloads. My sister, Stacey, and I listened to that album SO many times. I could almost sing all the songs by heart.

I’m surprised at how high tech the album was. It was released in 1983 and it is far more computer, robot and digital friendly than I realized back when I was a kid. Take the song, Digital Duck, about Donald Duck’s love for gadgets, even when they steer him wrong.

He’s a D-D-D-D-Digital Duck
D-D-D-D-Digital Duck
Donald loves his gadgets, even though they run amok,
He’s a D-D-D-D-Digital Duck

You can hear a clip here:

For the full Disney and Eighties masochists, here is the full song:

It doesn’t end there, with songs like Hoedown at the Robot Farm, One Little Android and Gyro Gearloose, it was a TOTALLY gadget lovin’ album… TOTALLY.

November 27, 2009

The Dodge Diplomat Was A VERY Cool Car

Filed under: Cars & Transportation,Retro Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 10:26 am

click to see full sizeI’m trying not to be offended because Go Retro has named the Dodge Diplomat number four on its list of bad car names.

  • Go Retro!: Bad Car Names

4. Dodge Diplomat: Despite a long production run (from 1977 to 1989) I’ve never heard of anyone who owned a Diplomat, and I’m not sure that those who did really did feel all that more important. Check out the vintage ad I’ve posted above – shuttle diplomacy? A misguided advertising attempt to make a soccer mom feel like she’s royalty or something.

When my dad moved out, my mom’s friend from work, Carol, moved in. She drove a Dodge Diplomat. It didn’t look like the one in this advertisement. It looked like this, except it was white (not silver) and the cloth top was a dark blue, not brown.

Click to see full size

It breaks my heart that we don’t have a photo of that car, because we had so many good times in it. Carol and Mom took Stacey and me to Wisconsin in that car, driving across I-80 through the desolation that is Wyoming and the boredom that is Nebraska. We had a lot of good times in that car.

I never realized how cool it was until I was fourteen years old. By that time, Carol had been living with us for five years and the car was just the Diplomat. It was the family car and we took its luxuries for granted every day. That day, in ninth grade, Mom picked up a bunch of us from a school function. Crammed in the front seat, were the two cutest guys in the Quest program. While I was stuffed into the back seat with four girls, they fiddled with the radio up front. They were so impressed with the digital tuner on the radio (this was 1984, so digital tuners were VERY rare back then). After the ride, they told me how cool my mom’s car was and I beamed with pride.

Did riding in the Dodge Diplomat make me feel like royalty? That day, it sure did. Not to mention the fact that the car could hold six stranded teenagers. Sorry, Go Retro, you’re wrong. The Dodge Diplomat was a VERY cool car.

November 25, 2009

BYTE Magazine

Filed under: Computers and Peripherals,Retro Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 3:11 pm

Everything about this advertisement for BYTE Magazine reminds me of the Eighties.

Byte Magazine: click to see full size

It reads:

Expand your knowledge Subscribe to BYTE

The 1980’s are here! The decade of the personal computer has arrived, and BYTE has made it happen! BYTE – the small systems journal devoted to personal computers – has helped usher in the new era. Leading the personal computer revolution, which is already transforming home and personal life, are BYTE’s 160,000 enthusiastic readers. Their enthusiasm has made BYTE the largest computer magazine in the world!

To be knowledgeable in the 1980’s you need to know how to use personal computers. BYTE is your personal guide to the new era. BYTE tells you how to build, buy, and use computers for fun, practical purposes, and profit. With help from BYTE, you can experiment right in your own home with graphics, word processing, computer music, speech synthesizers, simulations, robotics, personal data base management, business computing – and hundreds of other fascinating hardware and software applications.

Resolve now to expand your computer knowledge. Subscribe to BYTE!

I remember when the idea of having my own computer sounded so wonderful that I felt it would never happen for me. I was so jealous of my friend, Mike Moncur, because his dad had bought an Atari 800, just like we programmed on in school.

That old computer lives on even today, stored in our basement with all of its floppy disks. The two of us are unwilling to let it go. I think it represents all that excitement and potential of the “new era” of the personal computer.

I wonder if I will feel the same about my iPhone in twenty years.

Advert via: vintage_ads: LiveJournal

November 23, 2009

Sears Tele-Games: Speedway IV

Filed under: Retro Gadgets,Toys and Games — Laura Moncur @ 3:24 pm

Before my mom bought us an Atari, my Dad was the hero. One weekend, when we were visiting, he had this game connected to the television and waiting for us.

Sears Tele-Games

He had found it at the local Deseret Industries. It was broken, but he had been able to solder it back together. Stacey and I played “tennis” all night long.

We played with that simplistic video game for months until my mom and Carol gave us the Atari for Easter. After Atari, the Sears Tele-Game was just a cheap knock-off.

I have no idea what my dad did with that video game he rescued from a thrift store and nursed back to health, but he was the hero for those few months before Atari entered out lives.

Advert via: vintage_ads:

November 20, 2009

Video Game Stickers

Filed under: Retro Gadgets,Toys and Games — Laura Moncur @ 8:49 am

Mike and I moved from a tiny house to a huge house last July. All of our things that have been in storage for the last six years have been brought out of the storage unit, dusted off and reclassified. One of those finds were these:

Video Game Stickers by LauraMoncur from Flickr

I bought these stickers from Scholastic Books when I was in grade school in the early Eighties. I cannot remember what the two missing stickers were, but they must have been the coolest of the bunch. If I find them in my old sticker books, I’ll post them here as an update.

The most laughable sticker is in the bottom right hand corner and reads, “Terminal Video Fever.” I guess they were worried that Buckner & Garcia would sue them if they printed, “PacMan Fever.” If you’re unfamiliar with the song, here it is:

Video games were so new and cool when I was a kid that it was all I thought about sometimes. I was a lot like Marshall in this episode of Square Pegs, except I played on the Atari at home instead of the arcade.

Video games are so ubiquitous now that it’s hard to imagine there was a time when they were new, but these video game stickers in my box of old stuff brought the memories back full force.

October 28, 2009

Burroughs Class 5 Adding Machine

Filed under: Computers and Peripherals,Retro Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

I sometimes wonder what our lives would have been like if we had followed the adding machine path for computers instead of computing with tubes and microchips. I love this ad from 1948 for the Burroughs Class 5 Adding Machine.

Burroughs Adding Machine

My grandfather had an adding machine like this in the basement of his house. Stacey and I would play on it for hours pretending to be business people. We never quite learned how to use it. Here is a video showing how it works:

Whenever I start to feel like my computer is too slow or that I want something smaller or faster, all I need to do is look at these old machines and realize how very lucky I am to have a computer that is far more powerful in my pocket.

Advert Via: LiveJournal: vintage ads

October 27, 2009

Volkswagen Bus: What Is It?

Filed under: Cars & Transportation,Retro Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

I love this ad for the Volkswagen Bus:


It reads:

What is it?

Glad you asked. It’s a Volkswagen Station Wagon. Don’t pity the poor thing. It can take it. It can carry neatly a ton of anything you can afford to buy. Or 8 people (plus luggage) if you want to get practical about it.

And there’s more than one practical consideration. It will take you about 24 miles on a gallon of regular gas. It won’t take any water or anti-freeze at all; the engine is air-cooled. And even though it carries almost twice as much as regular wagons, it takes four feet less to park.

What’s in the packages?

8 pairs of skis, the complete works of Dickens, 98 lbs. of frozen spinach, a hutch used by Grover Clevland, 80 Hollywood High gym sweaters, a suit of armor, and a full sized reproduction of the Winged Victory of Samothrace.

Sadly, there isn’t a vehicle made today that has all that the old VW Bus had. Tons of cargo space, room for 8 passengers, 24 mpg and small footprint for easy parking. If I could buy a brand new VW Bus today, I would.

Advert via: Live Journal: vintage ads

October 13, 2009

The Happy Marriage Blanket

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets,Retro Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

I love this ad for the GE Happy Marriage Blanket.

Happy Marriage Blanket

It reads:

Have you heard of the “Happy Marriage” blanket?

If you and your husband can’t agree on how many blankets you need for perfect comfort – and he tosses them off while you shiver with cold-

You can solve this problem so easily – as so many other smart couples have done – with a General Electric “Happy Marriage” Blanket.

Just ONE fluffy-light General Electric Blanket with Dual Comfort-Selectors is all you need – and you each enjoy personal comfort.

You choose the warmth you like… he chooses his – and GE’s Sleep Guard adjusts automatically to bedroom temperature changes.

The ad goes on to say that it’s washable and available in many colors.

Sunbeam Queen Size Electric Warming Blanket Dual Control at Amazon.comThe funny thing is, this EXACT electric blanket is still available today. The Sunbeam blankets have dual control, even now. Personally, I prefer an electric mattress pad instead. The Sunbeam Queen size also has dual control, but it lays UNDER you, heating up, so if your partner kicks off the covers, you’ll still be warm. The best new feature they’ve added since the Sixties is the auto-off feature, so the pad turns itself off after ten hours, even if you forget to. I LOVE that feature.

Now that it’s getting colder, it’s time for me to start using the heated mattress pad again. I’m so grateful for it when the weather gets chilly.

Advertisement via: vintage_ads: Happiness is a warm blanket..

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