Monday, February 21, 2011

Week 8 of 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History: Technology

Week 8 of 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History: Technology.  What are some of the technological advances that happened during your childhood? What types of technology to you enjoy using today, and which do you avoid?

Well, ah, um ... color TV.

Ah, but I see that Linda McCauley at Documenting the Details has recorded her early memories of color TV - and they are the same as mine! Going over to a neighbor’s house to watch Bonanza. One thing I miss is the NBC peacock and the original music that was played when the peacock was shown.

I thought of several things that I believed might have been invented in the 1950s - Melmac, Tupperware, baggies/Ziploc bags - and it turns out that they were actually invented earlier. Ziploc bags may actually date to the 50s/60s; there is some dispute about that, depending on what you call a baggie or Ziploc bag. I just remember seeing the commercials for them, which claimed that they were something really new, appearing on TV in the 50s and 60s.

OK, so there was Teflon. My mother loved that. Saran wrap (1953) was another thing she loved. For me, it was always a love-hate relationship. Saran wrap had that Scotch tape thing - it just had to stick to itself. So that’s why I loved baggies and Ziploc bags. Well, if you count baggies as those things that had the fold-over flap, they weren’t good for too much - the sandwich would dry out. But Ziploc bags - now there is a truly great invention. But, as I said, they were not actually invented when I was a child.

I know that my contemporaries will be able to come up with much more than this. The thing was, most high-tech inventions did not trickle down to families at our end of the income curve for quite a while. I remember hand-held calculators (1967) coming out in the late 1960s and early 1970s. When I went to a National Science Foundation summer program at Hardin-Simmons in the summer of 1971, I remember that my instructors had those. They were clunky and expensive and they didn’t do a whole lot.

If it didn’t have to do with the kitchen or entertainment, my family was not greatly affected by advances in technology. The computer, of course, has changed my life, but I did not really get into using it to its full potential until I started genealogy. Something about little children having to have my complete attention during every minute of the day....

I am not an early adopter of much of anything, since I like to let the developers get the bugs out first and I have to save my money until I can afford these items. This year I was given a wand scanner and a MacBook Pro. Next year - a FlipPal scanner. The year after that - an iPad, for which I’ll get a Kindle app. Fancy phone - not so much. Phones are tyrants. Perhaps when I am out shopping or traveling or visiting without my phone, I am missing things. But I also enjoy a great feeling of freedom.

So, to answer the prompt, color TV it is.


  1. I wonder when microwaves came into widespread use? I guess I could "google" it -- another wonderful advancement.

  2. And let me count the ways that I use ziplock baggies -- ahh, no, if I did, I would just find that there was another use -- and on and on

  3. I remember my Bluebird troop went to a demonstration of the futuristic microwave. We thought it was like the Jetsons. Great series Greta!

  4. For me...TV--black and white. I didn't watch tv until I was about 3 or 4. Then Cisco Kid, Lone Ranger, Kookluk Fran and Ollie, Annie Oakley, Superman -- those all became must-sees. Eventually Flash Gordon (shoot-had to miss church to watch that one!) I had a make-believe "gang" made up of tv characters! Well, thanks for commenting on my dress - designer grandma. That was fast! I just got it up and there you were!

  5. Kathy - Hmm, I'm trying to remember when I became aware of microwaves ... can't. Didn't buy one until about 21-22 years ago, though.

    Linda - Glad to do it!

    Joan - Ziplocs have made my life so much easier!

    Valerie - I've often wondered whether the young me would think that the old me is living a "Jetson" life!

    Linda - I love the idea that you had a "gang"! TV characters definitely had a place in my fantasy life, too!

  6. Neat to see think about the different things you mentioned. I think all our tvs were color-but I'm going to ask Granny and see.