18 Everyday Household Items We No Longer Use

The advent of the widespread personal computers and the Internet have rendered many formerly ubiquitous household items obsolete. VHS, Yellow Pages, floppy disks and fax machines were once daily fixtures of home and office life but are now niche items that see little use. Here are 18 everyday items that have all but disappeared from modern life.

VHS Tapes

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Video Home System (VHS) and videocassette recorders were the dominant home video format of the 1980s and 1990s. First released in1976 by the Victor Company of Japan, DVDs eventually replaced them, and by 2003, the Washington Times had reported that VHS rentals were supplanted by DVD in the U.S. Home movies are still kept on VHS tapes worldwide, with many keeping their players out of a sense of nostalgia.

Floppy Disks

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Floppy disks were introduced in 1971 as a disk storage medium, with thin and flexible magnetic storage encased by a plastic rectangular carrier. They remained a dominant storage medium for almost 40 years, declining in the mid-1990s as USB flash drives and memory cards replaced them. Floppy disks are primarily used in vintage computing, hobbyist circles, and as legacy industrial computer equipment.

Phone Books and Yellow Pages

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Phone books list the addresses and telephone numbers of businesses, people, and government agencies. Companies used the Yellow Pages to advertise their services. Phone books were gradually phased out by online directories and search engines, which were more convenient without the environmental costs of the paper use of the books. The Guardian reported that the last U.K. copies of Yellow Pages were shipped out in January 2019 and have been fully digital since.

Cathode-Ray Tube (CRT) Televisions

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CRT televisions became widespread after Allen B. Du Mont created the first practical, durable CRT for tv. The Verge reports that by 2000, “their popularity rapidly decayed as LCD panels flooded the market.” Today CRTs are favored by gaming communities, notably the Super Smash Bros. Melee community, for their low latency and compatibility with older game consoles.

Analog Cameras and Film

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Analog cameras and film use declined in the 2000s as digital photography took over, which offered photographers immediate results, storage benefits and post-processing flexibility. Analog cameras are still favored by some photographers for their aesthetic and tactile experience.

Cassette Tapes

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Dutch company Philips developed cassette tapes in the 1960s as a recording and playback format for audio. Followed by the boombox and the Walkman, cassette tapes in the 1990s fell out of favor when CDs became ubiquitous. Cassette tapes are favored by some artists and listeners for their analog sound quality and collectibility.

Rotary Dial Telephones

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The first patent for a rotary dial telephone was granted in 1892, but the classic form with holes in the finger wheels was introduced later in 1904. They later became common in the U.S. in the 1920s and were the telephone of choice for decades. Rotary dial telephones were gradually phased out by the introduction of push-button dialing in the 1960s, which eventually transitioned to smartphones. Today, there is a market for antique rotary phones among collectors, who go to great lengths to restore rare models.

Fax Machines

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The Xerox company invented the modern telephone fax machine in 1964 as a way of sending text messages from a scanner through the telephone to a printer, which prints out the message for the recipient to read. Ubiquitous in offices from the 1980s through the 1990s, they were gradually rendered obsolete by the Internet and email. However, they remain popular with some medical and law enforcement agencies worldwide.


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Payphones are coin-operated public telephones that can be prepaid to make phone calls, typically with coins or credit or debit cards. But in the age of widespread mobile phone ownership, payphones have become obsolete in many countries. Efforts have been made to preserve and repurpose some payphones as free Wi-Fi hotspots and emergency call stations.

Manual Typewriters

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National Museums Scotland argues “the typewriter not only revolutionized offices, but also transformed the world of work, especially for women.” Commercial typewriters became common in U.S. offices in the mid-1880s, a decade after their introduction. Now, they are a collector’s item used by hobbyists after being replaced by modern word-processing computer software.


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Pagers were initially developed in the 1950s and 1960s as a wireless communications device that received and displayed alphanumeric and voice messages. By the 1980s, pagers were widely used, but the advent of mass text messaging in the 2000s saw the decline of pager use. Due to their reliability and simplicity, they are still used by some emergency and healthcare services.

Slide Projectors

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Slide projectors became widespread in the 1950s, with families, teachers and lecturers using them to view slideshows. Digital projectors and modern presentation software, including PowerPoint, replaced slide projectors, digitizing the slide show experience.


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The Walkman is a line of portable audio players first developed by Sony in 1979. Originally designed as a portable cassette player, the Walkman was highly popular in the 1980s as a compact portable stereo. Gradually replaced by MP3 players and later smartphones, the Walkman is still produced as a digital and audio media player.

Analog Clocks and Watches

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Analog clocks and watches have a non-digital display that features the traditional clock face with two or three hands that display the time. Digital timekeeping is more common today, and devices, including smartphones, computers, and smartwatches, use Network Time Protocol to tell the time. Some favor analog clocks and watches for their decorative appeal.

Incandescent Light Bulbs

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Incandescent light bulbs were cheap to manufacture and could work well on alternating or direct currents. They became widely used for home and commercial lighting and in portable lighting, including car headlamps, flashlights and table lamps. But Britannica writes that they are “Inefficient in comparison with fluorescent lamps and electric discharge lamps” and are now “reserved mainly for domestic use.”

Carbon Paper

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Carbon paper sheets are used to create one or more copies when inscribing on an original document with a pen or typewriter. The advent of digital document duplication has rendered carbon paper obsolete, with scanners, copiers and printers offering more efficient duplication.

Wind-Up Watches

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Mechanical or wind-up watches do not use batteries; instead, they use winding springs to store energy to power the watch. Today, most watches are battery-operated or smartwatches, which offer additional functionalities and greater convenience. But mechanical watches remain popular as luxury timepieces and heirlooms.

Overhead Projectors

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Overhead projectors use light to project a small document or picture as an enlarged image on a screen, allowing it to be shared with an audience. Interactive whiteboards and digital screens have largely replaced overhead projectors, with their ability to connect to the Internet enabling them to offer more varied presentations.

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