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Top 5 things we don’t use anymore

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There’s no doubt that the advent of technology has made our lives infinitely more convenient, time-saving and easier.

But ultimately, this has meant that certain office products have died away only to become relics of history, residing in the memory, and the archives.

Who can remember using carbon paper to create a carbon copy, for example? Once upon a time it was an absolute office essential along with typewriter ribbons.

How about floppy discs? Typewriters and fax machines? Yellow Pages?

All quite revolutionary at the time but now laid to rest in that great office products cupboard in the sky.

Without many of these items, if you think back long and hard, businesses around the world would not have been able to survive. So, let’s take a moment to honour office equipment of the past which once served us so well.

Typewriters

After their invention in the 1860s, typewriters were pretty much an indispensable everyday tool for all forms of writing other than handwriting.

But when Brother produced its last typewriter in 2012 it was symbolic that the firm didn’t sell it to a business – instead it went straight to London’s Science Museum where it will sit behind a pane of glass forever.

However, in a nod to its predecessor, modern day keyboards still have their letters in the same arrangement, with QWERTY being the first five letters on the top row.

And, according to legend, the reason for this layout is that it allowed typewriter salesmen to impress their customers by being able to easily type out the example word “typewriter”, which can be spelled using the letters on the top row of a keyboard.

So, in one sense, a typewriter is always at our fingertips.

Floppy discs

In 2010 Sony said that it was halting its production of floppy discs due to dwindling demand, which was probably triggered by Apple’s decision to not include a floppy disc drive in its computers many years earlier.

Also fighting the rise of USBs, and increasingly free cloud storage solutions, a number of other computer companies followed in Sony and Apple’s footsteps and eliminated the device altogether.

But, up until that point, the 3.5-inch floppy was a ubiquitous and necessary component for storing and transferring files between personal computers, with its existence keeping companies ticking over for nearly three decades.

Pagers

In 1921 the first pager was used by the Detroit Police Department and by 1980 there were around 3.2 million of the devices being used worldwide.

However, at that point, most were still only used for people occupying the same physical space needing to communicate with each other over distance – such as hospital staff.

By 1990, popularity grew threefold and within just four years over 61 million pagers were in widespread use.

Business people could suddenly be contacted about urgent matters when off company premises – but then they had to find a payphone in order to get in touch with the person who contacted them.

In retrospect, this was hardly convenient so it’s easy to see how mobile phones quickly surpassed the little beeping machine.

Fax

The fax machine as we know it came into being in the 1970s and while many may expect it to now be completely obsolete, the hardy machine is just about hanging on.

While fax machines gather dust in many corners of the world, Japan is one place where they are still going strong, despite the nation’s fame for being one of the most technologically-advanced place in the world.

The culture of handwriting and aspiring to have beautiful calligraphy has meant that many Japanese business people still see it as an essential tool.

In most other countries, however, it is likely to be stored in a dark corner only to be switched on once a year – probably when the scanner fails or a signature is required.

Tipp-ex

In the age of the delete button, this old faithful is increasingly being left behind.

Once revolutionary and a staple in offices everywhere, the convenience of being able to hide errors was life-saving. So much so that if a bottle was left open for the brush to go hard, it often resulted in panic and pandemonium until a fresh pot could be located.

Now the original brush and bottle design has been complemented by a mouse style correction fluid but it is used by considerably fewer people and mainly only people in school.