Technological evolution is a beautiful thing, but it has also been the reason why things that were considered so useful once upon a time, no longer have a use. If you were born in the ’70s, you have probably interacted with the floppy disk, the dial telephone, the typewriter among others. Nowadays, all these things belong to the ‘Museum of obsolete items, really sad if you got to enjoy the benefits of having them.
What are some of the things you may no longer find in modern offices?
Can you imagine living without the convenience of having your telephone line? Imagine being a lawyer Philadelphia or an entertainer and not being able to access your calls wherever you are easily? Previously, a company would only have one telephone number, for all incoming and outgoing calls. The operator would then route the incoming calls to the different extensions.
To work as a switchboard operator, one had to be extremely patient because of the volume of incoming calls. The operator also had to memorize the different extension numbers, and the name of the person at that particular extension, because not everyone calling in knew the extension number.
The fax machine was an essential component of any office. The typical fax machine used the phone lines to transmit information, and so any interruptions with the telephone lines would result in extreme frustration for the user.
With the growth of the internet, fax machines have rapidly evolved, gone are the days of paper jams and undecipherable messages from the fax machine. Depending on the type of device you now have, there are various apps you can download which will allow you to access fax services on your computer.
The typewriter was an office staple. Do not be surprised if you find a typewriter in some offices, especially those being run by the older generation. Some offices still use the Typewriter to fill out some official documents.
The bosses would use the Dictaphone, another obsolete item, to record letters, memos, among others which the Secretary would then type out using the typewriter. Correcting mistakes must have been a nightmare.
The telex Machine was the answer to expensive long distance calls. The operator would type the message on a paper-tape, feed it into a reader, and using the six-digit keyboard dial the recipient’s number. It would take about a full minute to deliver 66 words.
There was a time that if you wanted to qualify for the role of a secretary, you would need to have a shorthand speed of about 60 words per minutes at the minimum. Most executives preferred to dictate notes to their secretary who would then type it out on a for the boss’s approval.
Shorthand uses a series of strokes and shapes to represent words. Most of the Millennials have not and will never have the opportunity to see anyone take down notes using shorthand.
If you used the old desktop computers, then you know what a floppy disk is. People used the floppy disk to store content and transport data between one computer and another. A 3.5-inch floppy disk would only hold 1.44 MB worth of data. Luckily we now have flash drives which can store much more data.
Give a millennial a rotary phone, and they will not know how to use it. Ironically they have become collector items, and most households with older people will have one on display.
If you have been lucky, you will have witnessed the Technological evolution in most of the items we take for granted today. Only then can you truly have a new appreciation for things like your laptop, your touch screen with the Swype function among others. Most of the stuff we used previously will provide excellent content for storytelling sessions with the kids.