Can You Guess What These Old Household Objects Were Once Used For?
These antiquated devices will have you thanking your lucky stars for electricity.
If you tried to explain a rotary phone to a kid who grew up with touchscreens and Face ID, they’d probably look at you like you were crazy. That’s because the precursors to our current modern technology are practically unrecognizable today, whether it’s an early iron or the first coffee maker. With that in mind, we’re going back in time to see if you can identify these old household objects that look wildly different from today’s iterations. And if you’re nostalgic for some old-timey devices, check out these 25 Signs You Were Born in the Wrong Decade.
What’s this scary-looking metal apparatus?
Hint: It looks a bit like a torture device, but many men use its modern version on a regular basis.
Answer: Hair clippers
Before the advent of the electric razor, guys brave enough to let one of these near their face would use it to pare down their beards.
What’s this crank-operated contraption?
Hint: It’s not a steampunk coat rack or repurposed sewing machine table, but you’re getting close.
Answer: A washing machine
Today’s modern agitators and running water certainly make our clothes cleaner than the ones our ancestors were wearing. The previously pictured machine was used to get the excess water and soap out of garments.
What is this metal contraption?
Hint: It may look like a thumb piano in a cage, but that’s not its bread and butter.
Answer: A toaster
Early electric toasters—like the previous one, which was built in 1921—had the same basic mechanism as the ones we use today.
Slices of bread were held in a cage and pushed down toward a heating element, which crisped it right up. Funnily enough, the toaster was actually created before sliced bread was invented—the latter wasn’t a mass-market product until 1928.
What is this wooden device?
Hint: Even the most well-versed amateur historian would be hard-pressed to figure out this combination of wooden boards and screws.
Answer: A trouser press
What is this scary-looking cage?
Hint: This only looks like something out of a horror movie, but women once swore by it.
Answer: A hair dryer
Before we had ionic hair dryers, straightening brushes, and Dysons, the electric bonnet was about as good as it got in the hair salon. This machine wasn’t pretty, but it got the job done—it was hooked up to a tube that blew air through holes in the metal cage.
What is this copper pot used for?
Hint: It looks like it could chill a bottle of champagne. But this contraption was actually used for the opposite purpose.
Answer: A portable heater
Known as a brazier, this type of pan was typically used to hold hot coals. The coals would be loaded into the brazier and used to heat individual rooms in your house before the advent of electric heating.
What is this scary-looking machine?
Hint: If this device reminds you a bit of a guillotine, you’re not far off.
Answer: A bread slicer
Instead of chopping off heads, this simple machine was solely used for chopping bread into uniform slices. The handle on the left raises the blade, while the wooden part allows the rest of the loaf to rest without anyone’s hands getting in the way.
What is this icy bucket used for?
Hint: This gadget gives new meaning to the “ice bucket challenge.”
Answer: An ice cream maker
Similar to the process used to make butter, ice cream was typically churned in a bucket to create a smooth frozen consistency. Old ice cream makers also typically combined salt with their ice, as the two combined to create a refrigerant mixture capable of freezing dairy.
What is this hand-cranked device?
Hint: If you guessed a pepper mill, you’re getting hotter.
Answer: A coffee grinder
Today, you can grind coffee beans at the touch of a button with an electric coffee grinder (or just buy them pre-ground). But getting the same result a century ago meant hand-cranking your beans against a set of blades to finely mill them.
What is this contraption full of wheels and chains?
Hint: Suffice it to say, today’s version of this device makes any process easier.
Answer: A food processor
Before Cuisinart entered the game, getting your ingredients finely ground was far more involved, as evidenced by the previous complex machine.
What is this pan-and-screw combination?
Hint: If you consider yourself a grill master, you’ve probably used one of these before.
Answer: A meat press
Ideal for creating perfectly-round burgers, as well as working as a weight to get a good sear on steaks and other cuts of meat, this device was once a staple in kitchens around the country.
What is this pot with a gauge on its lid?
Hint: It may not look like much, but this machine can get a lot done in a surprisingly short amount of time.
Answer: A pressure cooker
Before Instant Pots were everyone’s favorite cooking tool, pressure cookers like this one were a common sight in kitchens. Similar to the electric pressure cookers many chefs are accustomed to today, these pots used steam and a pressurized environment (hence the screws) to cook food fast.
What is this metal gadget on three legs?
Hint: This one looks like it was lot easier to clean after breakfast that today’s version.
Answer: A juicer
Before electric juicers were turning fruits and vegetables into drinkable liquids, the process was done by hand. You’d simply put the fruit of your choice into the center well, flip the part on the lefthand side over toward the right, and squeeze the two handles together to juice it. And for more ways to start your day off right, discover the 30 Best Ways to Get More Energy Before Noon.
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