The ghosts of technology in today’s language

I wonder sometimes what would be the oldest extant word based on technology no longer in use. Taping an interview? Dialing someone?

I received many more answers than I expected, although it soon became obvious how my rules were impossible to follow, even by me: What exactly is technology, and which technology ever truly goes away?

A phone with a dial and a hanging earpiece
A tuning dial and radio buttons
Left: Tabs (conceptual) that look like radio buttons (physical), above radio buttons (conceptual) · Right: Tabs (physical)
Rolling down a window long time ago
The play, rewind, and fast forward triangles tell you exactly which reel you’re moving to, and how fast
Bitts on the ship · The thing at the bottom is a keel, normally submerged
A vintage music album and a vintage photo album (is Picard a hipster or did the movie creators lack imagination? you decide!)
A record label
(Midnight) oil lamp, a limelight, and “Gas light”
One of my favourite patent illustrations: carbon paper. It’s pretty goddamn straightforward · A carbon copy made with pen
Early magic lantern doing some sliding of slides · Lantern slides · Their 35mm children
The upper case above the lower case. The upper case also contained small caps, not to be confused with small letters, which are in the lower case. Obviously.
A tablet (made of clay) and a scroll (made of papyrus)
A vintage branding iron, and cattle earmarking tools. Ouch.
A modern cinderblock (sans cinder) and a modern bootstrap
A beautiful rolodex and a directory
Remember all the iPod ads about podcasting? Me neither.

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Marcin Wichary

Marcin Wichary

Designer/typographer · Writing a book on the history of keyboards: https://aresluna.org/shift-happens