14th Jul 2016, 17:04
As I'd mentioned, I restore and collect old stuff. I have 2 fridges and 1 deep freeze, all from the 50s. Other than defrosting, they will probably outlast me. The stereo console in the living room is a 1959 Motorola with the sales tag attached to the cord still. In 1959 it cost $850, which was a lot back then, and still a lot today.
The thing is that people kept things like that because they cost so much to produce. Everything was more or less hand made. The wiring in that console is all hand-wired and there are no circuit boards. But they were also serviceable, and after I overhauled it, all it might need moving forward is an occasional tube. We are also talking about a generation that bought these who were like my Grandfather who grew up in the depression, fought in WW2, came back, and really appreciated what they got in return.
The things we buy today are often assembled by machines. I'd mentioned in an earlier post that the US actually manufactures more now than they did in the 1980s. The reason that it doesn't seem so is because as also mentioned, a lot of what's made are things you don't find in a big box store, and secondly the plants making them are now very heavily automated and require less workers on the floor. This holds true for computers, TV sets, and even cars.
I think today we take for granted that the cars we drive are in many ways more reliable than cars of the past. My Volt is the most complex thing I've owned, having 2 separate cooling systems, 2 drivetrains, and then all the other stuff that is stuck in such as the power seats/mirrors/AC/heating/windows and a billion other things. Time will tell if this will be a reliable car, but 5 years on and 78,000 miles and so far so good. The engine coolant, transmission fluid and even engine oil lasts for long periods of time. In fact little maintenance other than changing the oil once a year is required. Back in the day you needed to adjust the points, change the plugs, change the oil, and other stuff on a more frequent basis. My 60 year old Mercury also has around 15 Zerk fittings that require greasing.