Jade Small
Jade Small
May 9, 2024 ·  4 min read

How Many Of You Actually Recognize These Gadgets? Have You Ever Used One?

Over the years, technology and the development of gadgets have been so profound. Think about it, 20 years ago would you have thought we’d be sending cars into space? We have most definitely surpassed what anyone could have imagined back then. It’s quite a lot to wrap your head around.[1] Modern innovation has changed so dramatically. Take for example music streaming – back then all we had was the radio or cassette taps which eventually evolved into CDs and then MP3s. There was no “internet” and information was not easily accessible. What we take for granted now was a long excursion to the library, just for a little bit of information! We have the world at our fingertips and it’s only just the beginning. Of course, this means that a lot of old inventions have become obsolete, so younger generations have no idea what many of the common tools older generations used are.

What a Time to be Alive

Different modern devices on color background
Credit: Shutterstock

As developments occur we advance, and that’s a good thing. We should definitely be more appreciative of what we have now and the ease in obtaining it. Sometimes, we just need a small nostalgic reminder of just how far we have come and how much we truly have to be grateful for. Let’s take a moment to think back to times that were simpler as we have a look at some of the gadgets from yesteryear.

Read More: Can You Guess the Top Kitchen Gadget in Each Country Around the World?

Remember These Gadgets?

Dublin, Ireland - May 2022: Sony Sports Walkman radio cassette player. Retro vintage portable audio music device 1980s. Earphones or in-ear headphones attached.
Credit: Shutterstock

Take a look at the following images and let us know if you remember them or what they were called and used for!

Any idea what this odd gadget could be?

needle threader

You guessed it! It’s a needle threader, and no repurposed biscuit tin sewing kit would be complete without one. If you struggled to thread a needle, this handy little gadget was your saving grace!

How about these colorful little disk-like items?

The tailor's hands are marking the pattern with chalk. Sewing and design of clothes.
Credit: Shutterstock

Keeping with the sewing theme, these brightly colored gadgets are what’s known as tailor’s chalk. Specifically created to draw on fabric when making adjustments or putting a garment together.

What’s That Gadget?

Here are a few more weird little gadgets from years past. We hope they give you that same nostalgic feeling as it did us!

Etch a Sketch

This one is for the 80’s kids who didn’t have iPads for those long car drives![2]

Record Adapters

record adaptor

This peculiar-looking device is a Record Adapter. If you listen to vinyl, you’ll know what it is and how it was used. They help records fit onto record players of varying sizes.[3]

Read More: Do You Know How to Use This Odd-Looking Kitchen Tool?

Overhead Projector

overhead projector

This odd-looking, bulky gadget was used by schools to show a visual aid to the classroom. Paired up with special plastic sheets, everyone could see what was being taught. Those from the 80s or 90s should remember these bad boys.[4]


tic tac toe

Okay, I’ll admit, I had no idea what this was until now. Parker Brothers created this handheld tic tac toe gaming device. Not to mention it was designed by NASA![5]

Church Keys

bottle opener

Back when twist-off bottle caps didn’t exist, these strange silver-colored gadgets were used to open containers and bottles.[6]

Wonder Sauna Hot Pants

sauna pants

Okay, this one made us chuckle! You’ll be forgiven if you have never seen a pair of these before. Those born before the 70s would remember if they wanted to lose weight – people believed they would help decrease their waist size by making them sweat. Of course, they were not very effective.[7]

Corn-on-the-Cob Holders

corn on the cob holders

I actually still have a few of these! They made picking up hot corn on the cob so much easier, and they looked like tiny ears of corn, too![8]

Bead Hair Bands

bead hair bands

Back when these hairbands were popular, every girl had little baubles on their heads! These things hurt – a lot. Why anyone thought this was a good idea to tie up someone’s hair with is beyond me![9]



iPod? What’s that? If you owned one of these bad boys, you were one of the cool kids. The first portable device to listen to your cassette tapes on the go. Paired with some awful spongy headphones and you were good to go![10]

Read More: How to Use Those ‘Useless’ Cupboards Above the Fridge


  1. Elon Musk: The man who sent his sports car into space.” BBC. Joel Gunter. February 10, 2018
  2. Etch a Sketch.” Spin Master.
  3. The History of the 45 RPM Adapter.” Electro Home.
  4. Overhead Projector.” Wikipedia.
  5. I Miss Merlin, the First Electronic Game I Ever Played.” Gizmodo.
  6. Church Keys.” Wikipedia.
  7. ‘Wonder Sauna Hot Pants’ was the most ’70s product to hit the market.” MeTV.
  8. Corn on the cob is simple food. Why are there so many gadgets to help us eat it?” Washington Post.
  9. 21 glorious hair accessories from the ’90s that you can buy on Amazon.” Hello Giggles.
  10. Walkman Story: The Early Years of the Iconic Personal Cassette Player.” Nippon.