Analog goes Digital

A few things I grew up with.....


I remember as a small kid we lived in a "Quonset hut" type building that were built in a row of about 25.  The toilet was outdoors and I distinctly remember my next door neighbor had a young boy a year or so older than me and his name was Dermot, I have no idea why I remember his name?  I also remember that we didn't have a bathtub and hot water was boiled on the stove in pots.  I think it was every third house in these Quonset Hut arrangements had a metal tub that was shared amongst the neighbors.  So here it was either Fridy evening or Saturday afternoon I would be traipsed to the neighbors to have my bath, which was shared water with three or four other people.  Imaging tell an American that he or she can only shower once a week ands would have to use the same water and the enter neighborhood block?  I'd love to see that when we get really short of water here in California.



The telephone was a "shared" line which was a big old black machine with a chrome button on the top which got us a line on the share.



Back in the 50's we all had metered gas at each house.  That meant that you had to have a stack of 1 shilling pieces by the meter, usually under the stairs.  When the gas stopped you would run to the cupboard and put another shilling in the machine.  And you couldn't stack them with coins either, they only took one at a time!  No-one had electric stoves or heating until the late 60's



Your house was heated by a old coal fired pot belly stove in the kitchen which would heat the entire house, ours was similar to the one pictured above.  Or there would be open fireplaces in the main rooms for the winter cold where log fires could be burned.

Newer houses would have a cold water storage of about 100 gals in the attic.  Hot water would be still heated by fire, usually a pot belly fire in the kitchen with a small tank hidden behind it that would make hot water.  Not very efficient but it works.  As technology improved the tankless water heater was invented and became the norm for all houses.  They could easily be added to upstairs bathrooms etc.


Washing Machine & Dryer!

The washing machine back then was a simple tub with a scrubbing board and your mom.  Then came along the cranked rubber rollers as a dryer.  But it was a long time before the real washing machine, especially one with a dry mode built in came along.  First came the side-by-side washer spin dryer, on canister was for water and soap and when you turned it on it would turn back and forth with a kind of mixer blade inside to wash the cloths.  Then you would drain the washer by placing the hose below the level of the water and it would drain out, usually into the back yard.  Then you wrung the cloths out by hand and placed then into the spin dryer.  Now why it was called a "spin dryer" evades me as it did spin your cloths but not come close to drying them, they always came out sopping wet and you have to put them through the old rubber wringer machine and then still hang them on the line in the Sun to dry.  I don't remember what we did in the winter when there was snow on the ground to dry the cloths, I think we hung them on a small rack in the house to dry.

My mother finally broke down and purchased an all in one washer-dryer, but it was always on the blink.  It had this big red plastic key thing that depending on which up and what side you inserted it in my would determine what cycles it would go through.  I was now  about ready to leave home so I don't know what happened after that.  I was using Laundromats both in Britain and then America.



The first television we had was a hand-me-down round black and white Grandma Marie gave us.  It looked a lot like the one on the right here, it had about a 12 inch screen.

Then we got a color television when I was about 10 or 11 I had a part time job on Saturdays working at the local TV sales & repair shop.  They gave me an employees deal and I purchased it for mom and dad for Christmas, of course dad was peeved, but I paid for the first year up front.  I don't thin I ever paid anything else after that, the a couple of years later the shop offered it to them for purchase for a small price, they bought it and had it for twenty years of so.  It looked a lot like the lower television on the right here...

It is a little know fact that the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) has been broadcasting in color since the first day of their broadcast existence, not that they had more than 1 or 2 color cameras, but they were the first!  Mind you remember that color was very primitive back then.  To get black and white to transmit properly they actually had to put heave, almost clown like, make-up on the actors and put them under a fluorescent green light. 

Over the first 10 years of television there were lots of experimentation going on with how to get blacks to come out black and whites to be white.  The grid card was invented just for that purpose.  It was transmitted when there was no shows on,  this allowed the installer to calibrate or correct your television when it was delivered.  Each television had to be aligned before it could be used and the grid card helped that process immensely.

Now look at todays 60+in curved screen TV's that are not only plug and play but 3D!