Mayukh Saha
Mayukh Saha
May 14, 2024 ·  5 min read

In 1972 Over 70% Of Homes Had 1, Now Only 18% Have One…What Is It?

Forty to fifty years ago, almost every house was stocked with certain things that have long been forgotten. Over the years, times change, and some things just don’t stick around. For instance, in 1972, over 70% of homes had one particular thing, but now only 18% have one. Do you think you can guess what is it? Take a look at this list we but together of mostly obsolete household items, and you’ll find the answer at the end (psst, its #17).

One Household Necessities, Now Nothing More Than ‘Old Things’

1. Vintage Wooden Box TVs


This is not your 4K Ultra Slim Smart TV. This is a 50kg TV that was delivered to your grandfather’s house by a couple of extremely burly men. It had just a few channels and could be operated using a knob. No remote. 

2. A Metal Ice Tray

vintage ice tray

Ice trays come in various designs and materials. But back there, there was a metal ice tray, where the ice literally stuck at the bottom. You would have to give it a solid whack to remove it.

3. Film Rolls

A film roll.
Image Credits: Pexels | Miscellaneous Das

We live in the digital age. But back then, film rolls were the way to get pictures from cameras. You would never know how the picture turned out till at least a month later when it was finally developed and printed by a studio.

4. Crochet Bedspread

A crotchet bedspread
Image Credits: Pinterest

Every household had that. Was very cozy during winters, but could be suffocating during the summers. 

5. Crock Pot

Image Credit: Etsy | BungalowBotanics 

We may still have crackpots today, but they sure as heck don’t look like this. Wood trim crackpots need a comeback.  Something tells me your grandmother’s chili recipe would taste even better in something like this.

6. Mercurochrome

A bottle of mercurochrome.
Image Credits: Pinterest

This bottle of medicine used to be the immediate first-aid for any kind of cuts and gashes that kids would suffer while playing. It was completely red in color and stung like crazy. Now, though, there are much better and less painful disinfectants. 

7. Landline Phones

A vintage landline phone.
Image Credits: Pixabay | viarami

Once upon a time, the only way to talk with other people was to dial their landline phone numbers. The phone was the family’s communal phone, meaning anyone in the house could and will pick it up. It was really up to luck if you managed to connect with the person you wanted to.

8. Personal Desktop Computers

Image source: Wikipedia

In 1975, the first modern desktop computer was released by IBM (IBM 5100). It wasn’t the first desktop computer, but the first to look somewhat like more modern versions with a qwerty keyboard and monitor. Desktops became much more popular through the 1980s, 90s, and 2000s; however, their dominance has faded with the introduction of affordable and powerful laptops and smartphones. Desktops are still relevant for their potential for sheer computing power and customizability, but this is not relevant for the average person.

9. Mail

A collection of physical letters.
Image Credits: Pixabay | va703b

Before computers were a thing, people sent letters to each other. They took time, but they reached. In 1996, Hotmail created the first free email service that would send messages immediately. Letters are not completely obsolete, as important government documents are still delivered through them.

10. Books

A shelf of physical books.
Image Credits: Pixabay | jarmoluk

Back in the 70s, people craved hardbound books. But with the growing price of books, people move towards digital books. Kindle is all the craze now. After all, you can carry around a seemingly unlimited number of books in a palm with Kindle.

11. Cable TV

The logo for the HBO cable tv channel.
Image Credits: Wikipedia

Before Blockbuster and other streaming platforms, TVs had cable. They could choose to watch NBC, CBS, HBO, or MTV, and could only watch the shows that these channels decided to air depending on their schedules. It was fun in its own way. People still have cable, but not in the traditional sense. Everything will eventually be online and streaming in some way or another.

12. Incandescent Light Bulbs

An incandescent light bulbt
Image Credits: Pixabay | jplenio

Incandescent light bulbs aren’t completely out of the picture yet, but their deathbed has been made. They are quickly being replaced by much more energy-efficient bulbs.

13. DVD Players

A DVD player by Yamaha
Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

In the world of handheld phones and streaming devices, who even purchases a DVD player? It is quite unnecessary. In fact, you will be hard-pressed to even find a DVD to put into it.

14. Typewriter

A vintage typewriter.
Image Credits: Pixabay | ha11ok

Something that shouldn’t have gone defunct purely due to aesthetics. But, typing on a computer is far easier, isn’t it?

15. Electronic Popcorn Popper

An electronic popcorn popper by West Bend.
Image Credits: Wikipedia

We get packaged popcorn these days. No need to waste electricity on popping popcorn. Moreover, we have microwaves that do the job in a way less messy way.

16. Burn Barrel


Burn barrels are giant barrels where you throw your trash and burn them. Quite cathartic, but messes with the environment. 

17. Ashtray

A glass ashtray.
Image Credits: Pixabay | hansbenn

The answer you have been looking for is an ashtray. A lot of families had it in the past, but through advertising, the number of cigarette smokers has been going down steadily enough. Also, people just expel the ash outside one’s homes, so there is no need for an ashtray anymore. 

So, what are some of the old things that you liked from the list? Or do you have any such item you would like to talk about? Write to us in the comments below!

Keep Reading: Can you identify these vintage items?


  1. 35 Things Literally Everyone Used To Have In Their Home 30 Years Ago That Basically No One Has Anymore.” Buzzfeed. Dave Stopera. July 7, 2022
  2. 50 ways home life has changed in the last 50 years.” Stacker. Keri Wiginton. December 18, 2018
  3. 21 Obsolete Household Items That We All Had 10 Years Ago.” Huffpost. Julie R. Thomson. December 6, 2017.
  4. 15 Household Mainstays from Your Childhood That You Won’t Find in New Homes.” Bob Vila. Jennifer Noonan
  5. In 1972 Over 70% Of Homes Had 1, Now Only 18% Have One…What Is It?.” Iheart. May 22, 2023