10 old tech gadgets you forgot they existed

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  • Tiger Electronics portable game console

The world is full of gadgets. And it’s been going on for a long time. While some high-tech gadgets have stood the test of time, others have long been forgotten. Some things that were commonplace ten years ago are relics today.

Some old gadgets like the Game Boy and iPod are still fondly remembered. However, many were only popular for a short period of time. You’ve probably forgotten about many gadgets. Let’s refresh that memory.

Tiger Electronics portable game console

When the Game Boy was at its peak, everyone wanted a piece of the handheld gaming pie. Tiger Electronics produced a large number of cartridge-free plastic handheld game consoles with a monochrome LCD screen and only one game. They were cheap, simple games, and surprisingly you can still buy them.

Kasap Studio /

There was a time when you could contact anyone anywhere, but that didn’t necessarily mean they would talk to you. Pagers, or “buzzers”, were commonly used as a means of telling someone to call you. You could send small messages back and forth, but they were primarily a way to get someone’s attention so you could talk to them in another way. It’s pretty strange now that I think about it.

trackball mouse

mouse with trackball
Enter Photo /

The trusty computer mouse hasn’t gone anywhere, but it’s changed quite a bit since the first one. Mice used to have a trackball that rolled in a cage beneath the mouse and translated its movements into a cursor on the screen. They were finicky and needed to be cleaned from time to time. Modern laser mice are much better.

overhead projector

overhead projector
J. Robert Williams /

If you’re of a certain age, you probably remember overhead projectors being carried around on carts at school. They used light to project their handwriting with transparent slides and markers onto a larger image. The light source is under a transparent film and illuminates a mirror and lens tilted towards the wall. Today we use digital projectors connected to computer displays.

car phone

car phone
Felix Mizioznikov/

A car phone, as the name suggests, is a phone that is wired into your car. There was a time when car phones and mobile phones coexisted, but car phones were more popular. Cell phones were big and bulky, but it made sense to have one to use while driving. Today we all have phones that we can use while driving and anywhere else.

Also, check out this video.

mobile phone shoulder rest

mobile phone shoulder rest

Speaking of phones, remember landlines? Maybe so, but there was also a world of accessories surrounding them. Holding the phone to your ear can be tiring when talking for a long time. Naturally, I try to use my shoulders for support, but that doesn’t work either. A “shoulder rest” is a piece of plastic that allows you to ergonomically hold your phone on your shoulder. You can still buy it.


Before Wi-Fi and cheap smart plugs and light bulbs, home automation required a lot more creativity. “The Clapper” was a device that turned things on and off by clapping your hands. When you plug it into an outlet and plug something like a lamp into it, it will turn on and off when it detects a loud rattling sound. Cool, right? Clapper surprisingly still exists.

talkboy deluxe

The year is 1992. Macaulay Culkin was starring in Home Alone 2, a sequel to the hugely popular original version. In the movie, he uses a super cool toy that can record audio and apply effects. That toy was Talk Boy He Deluxe, an authentic product that was popular during the 1993 holiday season. Now you can recreate it with a phone app.

cd burner

Thrift store video CD player
Hannah Stryker / How To GeekHannah Stryker / Review GeekHannah Stryker / LifeSavvy

You probably remember that compact discs (CDs) became the primary music distribution medium in the ’90s and 2000s, but were then overtaken by vinyl. However, most of the CDs I had to “burn” myself. Having a computer with a CD-ROM drive that could burn songs to CD was a big deal. It’s the modern equivalent of a cassette mixtape.

You may not have forgotten all about these gadgets. Perhaps some of them may still be in use. But for most people, these gadgets have long been replaced. It’s fun to remember things you don’t need anymore.

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