Spotlight goes on old tech

KATARINA FILIPE
Last updated 05:00 27/05/2011
EARLY GADGETS: South Canterbury Museum staff, from left, Linda Roberts, Ashton Grey and Davina Davis with some of the items that will be included in the museum's Retro Techno: Devices of Domestic Bliss exhibition, opening tonight.
JOHN BISSET/ The Timaru Herald
EARLY GADGETS: South Canterbury Museum staff, from left, Linda Roberts, Ashton Grey and Davina Davis with some of the items that will be included in the museum's Retro Techno: Devices of Domestic Bliss exhibition, opening tonight.

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From brick cellphones to bulky televisions, a new exhibition at the South Canterbury Museum will show how quickly technology changes.

The Retro Techno: Devices of Domestic Bliss /exhibition, opening today at 5.30pm, will feature technology used in people's homes from the 1940s to 1980s.

Museum curator of collections Davina Davis said it was an exhibition that would appeal to a lot of people. "It's the fun aspect, that trip down memory lane ... It will give you a sense of appreciation of how far they have come."

Among the items on display will be the Swedish Ericofon, which is a landline phone with the numbers on the handpiece.

The phone was popular, especially in the United States, with 2.5 million made between 1956 and 1992.

Another item is the Sunbeam Junior, a pink mixer from the 1950s.

The first polaroid camera, The Swinger, will also be on display. Its 1965 advertisement boasted that it could produce a black and white picture within 15 seconds, all for just $US19.95. The camera also displayed a "yes" sign when the exposure was correct, so the photographer knew when to take the photo.

Ms Davis said preparing for the exhibition had helped her identify what items the museum would like in its collection.

"What's interesting is the things we don't have, like cassette players. Maybe it's because people are still using them. Another thing is Walkmans."

She said the exhibition also highlighted items, like the Neeco oven, which were made entirely in New Zealand because of import restrictions in the early 1950s.

It was interesting to see how some items took a long time to become commercially available, like the cellphone, she said. It was first created in 1973, but it was not until 10 years later that people could purchase it.

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- The Timaru Herald

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