9 Things Rarely Seen Today

I thought it might be fun to share some of the past technologies and images that inspired or were described in my soon-to-be-published novel. My Soul To Keep is the story of a young woman who escapes her sheltered life and discovers personal, social, and political wrongs that must be righted. It takes place in the United States but in an alternate history. I had fun combing historical vehicles, communications, manufactured goods, and fashion. I had fun finding things rarely seen today. This is a small sample from My Soul to Keep.

Autogiro (or Autogyro)

Autogiro, 9 things rarely seen today, Lynette M Burrows
The autogiro is an aircraft with an unpowered horizontally rotating propeller that provides lift. It uses a powered, conventional propeller for forward propulsion. Created in the 1920s by Juan de la Cierva, a Spanish engineer, as a safe, low speeds aircraft. The Cierva Autogiro Company trademarked the term autogiro. Forcing other companies to use terms like Gyrocopter, gyroplane, and rotaplane.
An autogiro was the first aircraft to take off and land on a ship. It requires a runway to take off but has a very short or zero landing roll.
Costing less than a helicopter, Autogiros are not common, but in use all over the world. Used in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, they also are used by police and military across the globe.
Photo by Agustin Ruzafa (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Hudson Hornet

green Hudson Hornet, 9 things rarely seen today, Lynette M Burrows

The Hudson Motor Car Company, founded in 1909, became the eleventh-largest American car company. The Hudson’s peak was in 1929. Unfortunately, the Hudson could not recover from the Great Depression. Learn More. 

Photo by duggar11 (Duncan, OK Car Show, 1951 Hudson Hornet) [CC BY 2.0(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Burma Shave Signs

Burma Shave signs, 9 things rarely seen today, Lynette M Burrows

Burma Shave was an American brand of shaving cream first introduced in 1925. The Burma-Shave sign series first appeared on U.S. Highway 65 near Lakeville, Minnesota, in 1926. It remained a major advertising component along highways in the continental U.S. until 1963.  Learn More.

Photo courtesy of Carol M. Highsmith [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Public Phone Booths

public phone booths, 9 things rarely seen today, Lynette M Burrows

According to Time the first “telephone cabinet” was patented in 1883. The place of installation is unknown but thought to have been in high-dollar hotels.

The first patent for a coin-operated public phone was in 1889. This device was improved upon and adopted by phone companies across the world. Outdoor public phone booths first appeared in the 1900s. They weren’t common until the 1950s when glass and aluminum construction replaced wood.
Sadly, with the advent of the cellular phone, most U.S. public phones booths have been removed and destroyed or re-purposed.
Photo by DanTD (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Mimeograph Machine 

The Mimeograph was a low-cost duplicator. You typed or used a specialized stencil to write information on the stencil paper. The typewriter keys removed a portion of the paper, making that section of the paper permeable. Paper was fed between the roller and an impression drum to force ink through the stencil. The ink had a distinct odor and often stained your hands. We called the paper copies “Dittos.” Learn More.

SLR Cameras

SLR Camera, film, 9 things from the past, Lynette M Burrows
The single-lens reflex camera is not entirely gone from view in America today, though most are digital now. You put a roll of unexposed film into the back of the camera in a darkened room. Exposing the film to light obliterated any photographs on the film and rendered the film useless. Learn More.
Photo by Kotivalo (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Elvis Presley, Gospel Singer

Elvis received his first guitar, a gift from his mother, on his eleventh birthday. Gospel music was an important early musical influence. He won three Grammys for his Gospel albums and was posthumously inducted into the Gospel Music Association’s Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Learn More.

Dotted Swiss Party Dress

Yellow dotted Swiss dress, 9 things rarely seen today, Lynette M Burrows

Dotted Swiss is a sheer cotton fabric embellished with small dots. It’s often used in baby clothes, wedding dresses (currently), and curtains. My character’s dress is similar to the vintage dress pictured here, though with a more modest neckline.

Photo courtesy of kimvintage on Etsy.

Pillbox Hats

Pill box hat, 9 things rarely seen today, Lynette M Burrows

The pillbox hat, invented in the 1930s, is a small woman’s hat with a flat crown, straight sides, and no brim. Pillboxes were made out of animal furs, wool, and organdy among many other fabrics. According to Wikipedia, its precursor was military headgear and is named after small cylindrical or hexagonal boxes that pills were sold in. Learn More.

Photo by Universal Pictures (https://www.amazon.com/Doris-Day/e/B000APWSWI) [Public domain or CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Do you have any experiences with any of these things?

Please share your memories or any recent encounters you may have had in the comments below.

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