State of the Art is Always Moving

Here in the Portland area, antiques are a big business, and you can find lots of antique shops and you can also find antiques at flea markets as well. I like looking at antiques to see the things people used, as well as the precursors to many things we have and use today.

One of the things I’m struck by as I get older is, when I’m in an antique shop, I see more and more things that were once “state of the art”.

Last week, I was in an antique shop and saw this orange phone, pictured below, with a clear plastic dial. It was from about the early 1970’s. And I remember when these phones came out, as an upgrade from the phones which had a dial the same color as the phone and looked more antiquated when compared to the “clear plastic” dial phones. They, the clear plastic dial phones, were state of the art of that time and I remember thinking they were forward-looking.

Phone at Portland antique shop. Circa 1971

Phone at Portland antique shop. Circa 1971

Ah, but how time has really marched on. Push button phones came soon after, followed by hand-held phones with a central base. Then the first useable cell phones, like the large black Motorola phones of the early and mid-1990’s, arrived. Then smaller cell phones came out, each new version able to do more and be less bulky, followed by the blackberry and smart phones after that we now have.

(Yes, I know smart phones have gotten larger, but, they have stayed thin and light, and no doubt, one day, maybe sooner than anyone thinks, a smart phone that can have changeable size will be invented!)

And now, the smart watch has come out, though it may be too small to make a big splash just yet, however, with improvements, and technology that we haven’t thought of yet, it still can make a splash later on, even if it doesn’t now.

And the thing is, one day, even these, along with smart flat screen TV’s, tablets, kindles, dual purpose laptops, and the top of the line home theater systems now available,  will all find their way into antique shops, replaced with something we possibly can’t even imagine yet!

Today’s “state of the art” is tomorrow’s antique.

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