Will today’s teens ever know what a VCR is? Will tomorrow’s teens find TVs obsolete? A friend told an amazing tale of technology that’s become lost to today’s generation of young people.
Her son has a fear of being trapped in an elevator; and that’s exactly what happened to him. Leaving his dentist’s office in a multi-storey professional building, the elevator stopped abruptly and the power went out. In the dark and afraid, the teen used his cell phone’s flash light to look around his prison box. A small sign on a small door on the wall indicated he should, ‘Open for Help’.
Opening the door, the boy saw a sign that said, “For immediate help, use this phone, dial (phone number)”. But the boy was puzzled… there was no phone inside. Recounting the story to his mother, he told her, “Behind the door was a spin-dial machine, with a small barbell-type handle”.
While it looked familiar, the teen had no idea how to operate it. He began pushing the ‘buttons’ inside the holes where numbers were marked. Nothing. Then he tried twisting the dial, and that sort of worked, there were some clicking sounds… but he was getting no connection. Then he noticed the crescent shaped ‘stopper” and had an idea: he pulled the dial around to the stopper, then let it go. The phone seemed to wait for him. He dialed the next number. Another good sign. Then he dialed the wrong digit.
“Mom! I had to start all over!” he told her afterwards.
Eventually, the boy got the spin-dial machine to connect to someone. The person on the other end of the phone told him help was on the way. He then called his mom and told her about the strange new machine he’s had to use to get unstuck. She told him it’s called a Rotary Dial Phone; a device many people will remember from their youth. A device almost never seen today.
It’s fascinating to wonder what technology we have today that will vanish before children born today grow up. Will TVs still be around? Will cameras become obsolete? Cars? Digital thermometers? If you imagine single-purpose technology, you can bet one day it will vanish, replaced by more multi-purpose gadgets.