In my last post I mentioned my oven was cleaning itself as I typed. Since then I’ve been reflecting on technology and the gadgets invented in a relatively short time since my granny passed away approximately 60 years ago.
These are some of the things that Granny never saw, nor could have imagined in her wildest dreams. I’m sure you could all add to this list.
In the 1950’s household telephones were few and far between. Most people rarely needed to make phone calls, and when they did it was usually from a coin operated red phone box. Almost every corner had one.
Not so long ago I remember phones became cordless, and then completely mobile. Today, most people in each and every household have their own mobile phone to take with them where every they go. I wonder what granny would think of that!
And computers – well if someone had prophesied the invention of computers and the internet, and that, again, almost every person in every household would have their own by the turn of last century, I’m sure granny would have been trying to get that person committed.
Granny used to wash the households clothes using either a copper and hand wringer or if she was lucky, a wringer washing machine. I remember my mother using the same. Then the twin tub – wow how sophisticated was that. Now we not only have washing machines that wash, rinse and spin dry automatically, some even switch to dry mode and will tumble dry the clothes at the end of the wash cycle. How good is that!
Our gardens are watered automatically at a time of our choosing. Today I woke up to the sound of mine switching on at 6am. What would granny have thought to see me lying in bed whilst the sprinklers switched on and off around the gardens.
We all have super duper refrigerators, some that are even plumbed in to automatically make ice for our drinks. Perhaps fridges became more common place earlier in hotter Australia than they did in the cool of South Island New Zealand. In New Zealand I don’t have to go back a hundred years ago as some may imagine to remember households without refrigerators. I was around 12 before the household I grew up in had our own refrigerator. Prior to that I remember clearly how, in the summer months, mum would make the jelly for Sunday’s after dinner treat, cooling it in cold water in the concrete laundry trough until it set. After we’d eaten our Sunday mid-day roast dinner, one of the older boys who could cycle fast would be sent to the local shop to purchase a block of ice cream to go with the jelly. He’d return with the cardboard wrapped ice cream block, wrapped in multiple layers of newspaper to keep it frozen. What a treat that was for us. I don’t even have to go back to granny’s days to remember households that survived without the aid of fridges to cool our food.
Granny may have been lucky enough to have watched a tv program on a black and white television playing in a shop window. She most definitely would not have owned one, nor was it likely she would have known anyone else who did. I wonder what she’d think if she could come back now and see more than one ‘colour’ television in almost every household. And there’s more….. we don’t even have to arrange our days around the time of a program we want to watch. If it’s at an inconvenient time we simply record the program and watch it later.
Most likely in granny’s early married days she would have baked all her own bread, spending hours kneading the dough, then cooking it in her wood, or coal fired stove. Perhaps occasionally her budget may have stretched to a store bought loaf which she would have sliced herself. Then, sliced bread became available in the shops, most likely the most amazing invention during her life time.
Now, not only do we have an amazing variety of breads to purchase, but we can also buy our own bread making machines. We boast that ‘we’ve made our own bread’. Have we heck! All we’ve done is measure some ingredients into the machine. The machine’s done all the kneading, then proved the dough, then knocked it down and kneaded it again. Then proved it again, and finally switched to bake mode, and has baked a perfectly cooked loaf according to our liking. I’m sure granny would have been in awe of such a device, but I doubt she would have credited us with having baked our own bread.
Swimming pools used to be something associated with Hollywood stars. Now having a pool in our own back yard is within almost every households budget if we so choose. If a household does choose to have a backyard pool, the water can be heated with the aid of either solar, gas or electricity, and cleaning is a breeze with the assistance of automatic pool vacuums.
For those of us who don’t chose to have a pool for the hot summer days to cool off in, we use our ducted air conditioning. When summer’s over and we need heating , a different selection of the touch pad switches the unit from cooling to heating and our houses are warmed to whichever temperature we pre-select.
I’m sure my granny would be in awe at all what have at our disposal today and take for granted. I’m not so sure she’d be so much in awe if she saw how we used what should be spare time. Most of us are more ‘time poor’ than ever. I’m sure she couldn’t relate to texting codes, but if she did, and if she could bring herself to use such an expression, I could well imagine her typing WTF in the boldest of capital letters!