Technology is advancing at such a pace we can hardly keep up with it. It seems like every day brings something new to the table.
Looking back through time, some machines no older than 20 years may look like something invented hundreds of years ago. Let’s see how it all started and how the pioneering technology made its baby steps.
1. World’s Oldest Operating Computer
Functioning Since 1958
Japan’s Ikeda Memorial Hall houses the FACOM 128B which was constructed in 1958 and still functions to this day! It has undergone a few minor improvements through the years to keep it working, but it still has the very same core system that it started in 1958.
The FACOM takes up 700 feet of floor area and possesses less calculating capacity than a modern calculator. This year will be the computer’s 60th year of functionality.
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2. World’s Oldest Lightbulb
Operating Since 1901
The world’s oldest light bulb has been providing illumination for 115 years – no wonder it has a fan club with thousands of members and its very own website. The so-called ‘Centennial Light’ has been on since 1901. It is the pride of Fire Station 6 in Livermore, northern California.
The longest period the Guinness World Record-holding bulb has ever been switched off for was a mere week. Hanging over the fire engines, folks come from hundreds and maybe thousands of miles to check out the tiny legend. The bulb was made by Adolphe Chailet, who was a rival to the iconic Thomas Edison in creating the best light bulb.
3. World’s Oldest Vacuum Cleaner
Functioning Since 1904
This machine continues to “suck” after 112 years. Owned by Harry Cox, this is the oldest identified functioning vacuum cleaner. Cox recovered the cleaner as well as some of its parts from a skip at work just before it went to the garbage dump site. He stated, “There was a walk-in skip at the factory and I rescued it.” The 53 year-old-cox is not even half the age of his 1904 American Sturtevant vacuum cleaner No.4.
Regardless of his passion for aged machines, his wife Jacqueline is not too impressed with the noisy, hefty vintage machine, and would rather clean up their three-bed semi in Timperley, England, with a more modern model.
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4. World’s Oldest Television
Functioning Since 1935
For £5,000 it’s likely that you anticipated a bigger, slimmer screen. However, this TV is actually loaded with 81 years of broadcasting history – and you can still connect it to a Freeview box. Built in 1936, the Marconi type-702 is the oldest functioning TV set in Britain. It had been purchased for under £100 just 3 weeks after the beginning of transmissions in Britain. No remote was needed for this big old box – it only had one channel that transmitted for two hours every day.
The 81-year-old set includes a 12-in. display confined in a walnut and mahogany casing, with the image mirrored for the audience to look into. The TV now has a pre-sale appraisal of £5,000, but analysts at Bonhams expect the item to fetch a lot more given time. It cost Mr. Davis £99 and 15 shillings – over half the yearly typical salary at the time and also equal to nearly £4,000 today. Its serial number is H1007. Since it is believed that the series started at 1,000, this model would be nr. 7.
5. World’s Oldest Humanoid Robot
Constructed In 1950
He didn’t possess any intelligence, and he moved with a slow, lumbering shuffle on heavy, steel feet. Nonetheless, one of Britain’s very first humanoid robots, originally created just after World War II, has been given a whole new lease on life after being fished out of someone’s garage 45 years since its initial construction.
Ex-spy catcher and RAF officer Tony Sale, 79, constructed the extraordinary 6 ft tall robot, known as George, in 1950, for about $20. He made use of scrap metal from a broken up Wellington bomber plane. At the time, Mr. Sale was just 19 years old, and his remarkable man-sized design, which could walk and ‘talk,’ amazed the entire world.