7 Technologies That Never Really Changed Source:

Technology is always being changed and improved, to the point where it can be difficult to keep up. Computer technology in particular is rendered obsolete so frequently that the computer you buy today will be inferior almost as soon as you take it home. The computer progression model isn’t true for every kind of technology though. There are some inventions that are heavily used every day that look a lot like what was being used decades, even centuries, ago. Technology will always be progressing, but these 7 technologies never really had to.

7. Toilets

We sit on these thrones everyday and they’re an essential component of our daily lives. Besides their practical purpose, there’s a very good reason that the toilet you use today looks a lot like the ones you’ve always used. Other than the introduction of flushable valves and water tanks that made the modern toilet a reality in the 20th century, there hasn’t really been any need to push toilet technology any further. Sure, they have become much more efficient in terms of water use — and some even have fancy levers and designs — but today’s toilets are for the most part identical to what they were 100 years ago. Source:

6. Refrigerators

Another staple of the modern home, refrigerators used to be holes in the ground called ice houses until the introduction of Freon in the 1920s. This led to the invention of the bottom-cooling electric refrigerator, which was mass-produced for home use in North American after World War II. While today’s fridges are more efficient and contain a number of enhancements and amenities, the technology powering them is still largely the same as it was in the 1940s. Source:

5. Trains

The railway train was one of the most significant inventions to come out of the industrial revolution and are still the best way to transport large quantities of goods and materials. Although the train has been around for almost 200 years now, the concept and even a lot of the same technology behind the earliest trains are still in use today. While there have been significant developments in passenger train technology — most notably, high speed magnetic levitation (Maglev) trains — the mass majority of trains, like diesel-electric powered ones used for commercial shipping, have stayed fundamentally the same as their inferior steam-powered precursors. Source:

4. Telephones

Cellular phone technology has revolutionized the way we communicate, but the original landline is pretty much identical to what Alexander Graham Bell used when he made the first telephone call on March 10, 1876. The only truly significant development to happen to the landline phone was the ability to dial numbers independent of a switchboard operator, but for all intents and purposes, landline technology today is still very similar to what it was a century ago. The irony is that, although the landline is in steep decline as more and more people switch exclusively to mobile, it still offers the best call quality, which is kind of amazing considering how old the technology is. Source:

3. The Automobile

Automobiles are getting better all the time, but for all intents and purposes, the car you’re driving today operates on the same fundamentals as the first cars rolled off the Ford assembly lines over a century ago. In terms of functionality and reliability, there is no question that modern cars barely resemble their older counterparts, but the combustion engine still operates on the same principles as it always has. It won’t be until the underlying technology actually changes (hover cars please!) before it can be said that the automobile has truly progressed to the next level. Source:

2. Musical Instruments

Music itself is constantly changing with each passing year, but most of the devices that make that music have never really needed to progress technologically. Yes, the electric guitar changed the way that instrument was perceived, but other than adding electrical components, it still operated on the same principles as its acoustic counterpart. If anything, the technology that goes into making an instrument has taken a step back, as their quality is now associated with building them the old-fashioned way — by hand and with the best materials. Much like what they produce, making a musical instrument is considered an art-form and the technology behind that hasn’t needed to progress as much as you might think. Source:

1. Incandescent Light Bulb

The incandescent light bulb has become obsolete as better, more energy-efficient lighting technologies like LEDs and fluorescents have become cheaper and mass-produced. Still, the incandescent was the go-to form of lighting for most of the 20th century and surprisingly, they’ve stayed almost identical to Thomas Edison’s first wire filament bulb. Although it’s not a bad thing to see the incandescent being replaced by superior technology, it’s illuminating (sorry) to realize that the first electric light was used for over 100 years without really changing. Source:
Nick Steinberg (@Nick_Steinberg)

Nick Steinberg (@Nick_Steinberg)