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Old Time Technology
Vintage Contraptions for Modern Life

I used to watch The Jetsons as a kid, and I remember being awestruck by the idea that one day we might all have videophones! It was an idea that seemed completely far-fetched in the days of rotary telephones, but fast-forward 25 years and here I am, talking to my friends from across the world on video, for free. It makes me think about what a strange new world it will be when my children are having children. And how strange the world is now to a generation that thought radio was a futuristic technology, and now see their grandchildren with their faces buried in their iPhones, talking a bunch of nonsense about “sound clouds” and “i Tunes.” The contraptions of the past were met with more fanfare and acclaim than the constantly updating technology of today. When an inventor came up with something like a check-signing machine – for those who sign a LOT of checks – it made the news, and a suitably serious and professional demo photograph would be taken of it. These technologies were seen as revolutionizing life, and were the beautiful, clunky, hilarious stepping stones to where we’re at today. I have collected some awesome contraption photos below, courtesy of Old Picture.


Above we show a dramatic photo of Check Signing Machine in Treasury Department; Operated by J.L. Summers. It was made in 1918 by Harris & Ewing.


Here for your perusal is a highly creative image of Woman Using Mimeograph Machine. It was made between 1905 and 1945 by Harris & Ewing. Strayer’s Business College.


Above we show an educational picture of Old Radio Device. It was taken around 1905.


Above we show a collectible image of Old X-Ray Machine. It was taken between 1905 and 1945 by Harris & Ewing.


Here for your browsing pleasure is an old photo of Census Counting Machine. It was taken in 1919 by Harris & Ewing.


Above we show an important photograph of S.p. Ferguson With Gauge Which Measures Snow and Hail. It was taken between 1905 and 1945 by Harris & Ewing.


Here we present an original image of Post Office Department Cancelling Machine. It was made in 1913 by Harris & Ewing.


Here for your perusal is an imposing picture of Conway P. Coe. It was made in 1940 by Harris & Ewing.


Above we show an historic image of Linotype Machine. It was made in 1917 by Harris & Ewing.

The picture presents Mergenthaler, Ottmar, 2nd Linotype Machine With Band, Invented by Him; 3rd Design he Invented. at Smithsonian.


Here for your enjoyment is an unusual photograph of Seal of the United States at State Department. It was taken in 1917 by Harris & Ewing.


Here for your consideration is a rare photograph of Bobroff Voting Machine. Being Considered For Use in House. Standing Right to Left: Reps. Jacoway; Caraway; and Britten. It was made in 1917 by Harris & Ewing.


Above we show a stunning photograph of Jones, Dr. E. Lester, Chief, U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. Tide Predicting Machine Which he Built. It was made in 1915 by Harris & Ewing.


Here we present a one-of-a-kind image of Man Using Adding Machine. It was created between 1905 and 1945 by Harris & Ewing.





All photos and captions via Old Picture

Written By

Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation.

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