Not all obsolete technology deserves its place in the dustbin of history. In fact, some of it has made a comeback in certain circles, where a sense of style and a cool-factor outweigh other points like efficiency or potential in the marketplace. There is a reason a ’57 Chevy remains hipper than a Toyota Prius.
No matter its relevance to the world of today, some technology simply transcends its era. Let’s take a look at some obsolete technologies that need to make a comeback.
Steampunk is an Example of Obsolete Tech Gone Cool
The steam-powered era of the 19th Century still resonates today. Train buffs jump at the chance to go for a quick excursion on one of the many examples of historical steam trains currently in operation. Nostalgic longing for that time, combined with an edgier, fantasy vibe inspired by Jules Verne and others, led to the popular 60s TV show, The Wild Wild West.
That TV show both inspired and shared inspiration with the recent Steampunk movement in science fiction literature, fashion, art, and gaming. A wide range of Victorian era technology — both real and imagined — exists within this movement providing a nearly endless supply of obsolete tech that has a cool factor far exceeding that of its original time.
Let Zeppelins Fly Again
One piece of technology seen in the world of Steampunk that needs to return is the concept of lighter than air travel. While the Hindenburg Disaster and other similar events led to the demise of passenger air travel using zeppelins, there is no reason other than the efficiency of the airline industry that travel by dirigible couldn’t exist in the market today.
Imagine slowly sailing in the sky at around 1,000 feet in an airship powered by the safer methods used by the Goodyear Blimp. Enjoying the scenery of places like California’s Monterrey Peninsula, the Grand Canyon, or Yellowstone National Park in a zeppelin-like airship could be a successful niche industry today.
The Haunting Sound of the Theremin still Rings Out
While its status as one of the first electronic sound synthesizers has long been rendered obsolete, the haunting sounds of the theremin, heard in movies like The Day the Earth Stood Still or in any number of psychedelic rock songs, still ring out today. In fact, Moog Music, a company formed by legendary synth inventor, Robert Moog, sells theremin kits as well as finished models. While many other synths, either in hardware or some form of computer or tablet app, feature state of the art tech, there is nothing that sounds quite like a real theremin.
Obsolescence doesn’t necessarily mean worthless. There are many examples of older technologies that either deserve a return to fame or still hold a small niche in today’s marketplace.