poetry and prose about place

from the pages of an old diary – technology

with 12 comments

The 1950’s were changing times.  Families in North America were experiencing a post-war boom and the first influx of new technology.  My great-aunt records some of this change in her diary. 

Here are some of the entries for 1957:

Jan. 3              ‘car wouldn’t start’

Feb. 23           ‘I got my electric egg beater to-day’

March 10        ‘went over to A.J. in evening to see T.V.’  

                          (her diary has several references to going to friend’s homes to watch T.V.)

May 1             ‘Electric men here from Pictou grounding the telephone. 

                          will be safe from lightning.’

May 7           ‘… our T.V. came to Drug store through Simpson’s. $269.95′

May 11           ‘ B. [and] A. set the T.V. up.  K., J. [and] I went to Forbes [a store] 

                           they stayed til after 11 to see T.V.’   –  after this, friends come regularly to watch

                          ‘the fights’ (Aug. 3, 1957) or ‘wrestling’ (Sept. 21, 1957)

Aug 31           ‘…car not working…’

Sept. 3             ‘…took the car to a garage.’

Sept. 4              ‘…car not working…’

Sept.5             ‘…Dad [her husband] took car up to L.S. to fix…’

Oct. 13           ‘…Our T.V. went on the blink’  ( after this she has several entries where her nephew,

                           my uncle, drops in to fix the T.V., for example Oct. 20, 1957)

Oct. 27           ‘…were home alone all eve. listening to T.V.’  

                            (note the used of the word ‘listening’ – they had listened to the radio)


A couple of entries for 1954 caught my eye:

Jan 4.                ‘…lights were out a lot in eve.’

Aug. 16             ‘Did a big wash. wringer not working right…’

Sept. 27            ‘… did a small wash by hand…’

Oct. 4                 ‘… S.M. came in eve [and] put new roller in washer.’


Today, our innovations come fast and furious.  I sometimes wonder what the next really ‘new’ technology will be and how my great-aunt would have recorded it in her diary.

What are your technology milestones?


Copyright  Jane Tims 2012

Written by jane tims

February 13, 2012 at 6:37 am

12 Responses

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  1. Fascinating look at the past.

    As for my latest technological milestones… well… I bought a new iron. First new iron in 30 years. I’m amazed at how much better it glides over the fabric than my old, quite worn out, iron did.



    February 16, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    • Hi. I won my first iron at bingo, 35 years ago, and finally bought a new one a couple of years ago. These things last so long, I wonder how the industry makes any money. Jane


      jane tims

      February 16, 2012 at 8:27 pm

  2. Some things have stayed the same – cars still break down too frequently!

    We’re thinking of upgrading to a flat screen/wide screen TV. The state-of-the-art TV we bought in 1993 still works fine but it is not wide enough and we get frustrated having faces and words cut off on either side of the screen. A remote control is still a marvel to me!


    Barbara Rodgers

    February 15, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    • Hi. My son is trying to get us to upgrade our TV as well. I think a PVR would be a good idea, because all of the shows I like are on so late… that way I could tape them and watch any time. The remote???!!!??? who made all those buttons and why did they???? Jane


      jane tims

      February 16, 2012 at 7:06 am

  3. A wringer sounds muscle-intensive!

    Getting an internet connection and a personal computer were my big technology milestones. I remember back before Google, when I didn’t know something about a subject, I’d have to go look in the old dusty set of encyclopedias. Now, immense knowledge is seconds away.


    Watching Seasons

    February 14, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    • Hi. It’s all quite amazing. I used to have to drive in to the University library, and now almost everything is on-line. I had a wringer washer when I was first married (early 1980’s). It was dangerous. If you got your hand stuck in a piece of clothing, you could get your hand hurt. Jane


      jane tims

      February 14, 2012 at 9:22 pm

  4. Thanks for another thoughtful reminder of how much things change and yet how much they stay the same, as well as another beautifully rendered drawing. My current tech milestone is trying to conquer blogging! 🙂



    February 14, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    • Hi. I’m sure you will conquer it! Thanks for the comment on the drawing. Jane


      jane tims

      February 14, 2012 at 9:19 pm

  5. I guess getting off the grid and going Solar is a milestone for me. Learning to consume much less electricity
    and being as efficient as possible is a challenge.All in all, I enjoy it.



    February 13, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    • Hi Jim. Although we will be on the grid, we are planning to install solar panels at our camp. I think you are a real pioneer!! Jane


      jane tims

      February 13, 2012 at 9:46 pm

  6. How lucky you are to have such treasures, Jane!



    February 13, 2012 at 8:54 am

    • Hi. You are right. I love being the keeper of such important family memories. Jane


      jane tims

      February 13, 2012 at 9:43 pm

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