dustygizmos is a modest attempt to catalogue one small corner of the technology and electronics revolution of
the last 60 years.
Please don’t get me wrong,
modern gadgets are great and who amongst us could live without our smartphones and smart watches, tablet computers, ebook readers, MP3 players, SatNavs, digital cameras, camcorders, set-top boxes, HDTVs, brain neuralizers, Interocitors and a
zillion and one other widgets that apparently make life easier, more pleasant and
productive? But there’s something missing.
All those fancy, flashy wizwangs with touch screens and winky lights are everywhere but in my opinion modern gadgets are just not as much fun as they used to be...
For me the golden age of
gadgetry began in the late 1950s and came to an end in the 90s, or roughly the time between
the introduction of the transistor and the point when the word digital became attached to everything from TVs to toasters.
In the early
sixties transistors re-wrote the rules. Up until then radios and
TVs had been expensive, heavy and unreliable wooden boxes full of fragile
temperamental and smelly components that got very hot and like as not gave you
a nasty shock if you got too close
everything and during the early 1960s factories in America, Europe and the
Far East were falling over themselves to develop exciting ways to utilise the
new technology and this continued for the next 30 years.
By the early 1980s the microchip had started to take over and these fantastically versatile
and complex devices could be designed and programmed to do just about anything.
It was the end of
an era, though, the point at which electronic gadgets stopped being interesting pieces
of technology and engineering and became soulless 'black boxes', for the
most part conceived by committees, designed by computers, built by machines.
Gadgets have become
disposable commodities with a limited life expectancy and nowadays you simply
throw them away or replace them when they go wrong, or something better comes
along. Even if you wanted to rapair them you can't, or the cost of doing so would cost more than they are worth.
Gadgets from the
glory days were different, if they went wrong, which they tended to do with
alarming regularity, there was a fair chance that someone handy with a
screwdriver and soldering iron could fix them. They also were relatively expensive and
mostly built to last. A few of them have survived and that’s where dustygizmos,
and you come in.
If you have an interesting gadget or gadget-related story (preferably with a photograph or two) or if you know of a website that we can link to then we would really like to hear from you so we can help to preserve the products and memories from
this extraordinary period of history.
What's It Worth Today? -- A Quick Word On Prices.
Where possible I give the original retail selling price. You'll have to do the in-today's-money sums for yourself, or head over to one the many online Inflation Calculators, like This Is Money. As for current value, these are just my personal guessimates, based on what I paid for it and similar items I've seen at antique fairs, car boot sales, auctions and in shops. These shouldn't be taken too seriously or used for valuation purposes as they are by no means definitive and go out date very quickly so I have tagged items with a 4-digit year and month code, so you can figure out what I reckoned it was worth when the item was written.
One last thing. I apologise
for the heavy-duty watermarks now appearing on photos on the site. I really
would rather not have them but I get seriously cheesed off when my pictures, and quite
often my words as well, are ripped off by other websites and used in online auctions. On several occasions sellers
have even implied that the item in the photograph belongs to them and is the one being sold. I wouldn’t
mind so much if the photo was given a credit, or a link to the site but since
they hardly ever do, so I’m hoping this will deter them, and maybe prevent
a few buyers from being conned. For the record I am always happy to supply anyone who
asks with pictures or more details of anything on the site, and if you want to use anything on your own website, all I ask is a simple credit or a link, and to let me know about it. .