Things that will need explaining to our children

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Introduction - what's it all about then?

OK, this entry is based on the contribution of many researchers, hopefully
all listed, on this thread -

"Things we can't pass on to our children"

This entry isn't simply a list of nostalgic items rather a set of things, concepts
and practices that have ceased to exist that if the next generation were to
be told about them would result in blank looks, possibly even puzzlement and
the thing in question has to be explained to them. So the Chopper push bike
doesn't count in this entry, until such time as push bikes are an alien concept
to the current generation. Nor is it a list of things we have now that we didn't
have then although sometimes the lack of such things, such as the internet is
a worthy concept and has been added.


These are specific things which are things of the past or soon will be.

  • leaded petrol - the idea of adding a toxic metal may seem strange to future
    generations (although the effects of lead's replacement MTBE is still not

    fully understood
  • One which may stay (I hope), but may be limited to specialists, cameras
    with film in them
  • Typewriters
  • Punch card programming and ticker tape,
  • Clockwork clocks and watches
  • "Bander" reproduction sheets used as a cheap and quick copy method
    in schools when photocopiers were big, expensive and locked away.
  • Dog licences in the UK. At 37.5p you had to have one.
  • Non-electronic calculating devices, the slide rule, the adding machine,
    log tables and the abacus
  • Cream on the top of milk bottle - and indeed milk bottles
  • Public informations films on the telly designed to scare the s**t out of
    you (also shown in schools).
  • Designated non-smoking areas - it is more and more accepted that places
    are non-smoking unless specifed otherwise.
  • Pirate radio stations - for the masses anyway, inner cities still have a thriving scene, but for the most part these have now vanished.



Things that are more or less than actual objects.

  • Pre-decimal coinage - the idea that money could be in a system other than
    a metric one will probably take some explain to future generations
  • Student grants (UK reference). Students were paid cash to study further
    education, now it is all based on loans.
  • Limited TV/Video entertainment. In these days most people in the developed
    world have multiple channels broadcasting 24 hours a day, the idea that channels
    would only broadcast at set times and that there were only one or two to chose
    from will be hard to believe.
  • Why phones "ring", and why you "dial" numbers, both
    terms refer to the actual hardware of old phones, the bell and the dial, both
    are almost obsolete now.
  • The lack of easy access (in the developed world) to data and information
  • and the fact that access to information, services and the like used to be non instantaeous, that we had to wait to get data from across the world on tape, that software took 15 minutes to load from tape, that in "fast" food places you sat down and waited for the food to be brought to you
  • The lack of personal safety - seat belts, crash helmets, air bags.
  • Hand signals on the driving test, they are still in the

    UK Highway Code
    but can you remember them?
  • The Cold War, the Iron curtain and the Berlin Wall
  • The concept of being out of touch - these days the youth break out in a
    sweat if their mobile runs out of power or hits a blank reception spot
  • Double declutching to change gear in cars.
  • For a specfic age group (post Pill, pre-AIDS) free and spontaneous sex
  • Punk rockers, and all other youth fashion that is aimed to shock the older generation, by their nature they rarely survive a generation, What is the point of getting a punk hair do if it doesn't shock your parents as they had/have one


Some things remain but simply get rebranded, such as

  • Marathon - Snickers
  • Opal Fruits - Starburst - but back to Opal Fruits again
  • Jif - Cif
  • Lenningrad - St. Petersburg

...and more?

If you have anymore then please add them to either this entry or to the original thread in "Ask h2g2"

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