#SOL16: March Challenge 31 – Tools!

Technology = Tools that make our life easier

Technology from my life – before beginning school . . .

How many do you recognize and know?

Tool # 5


No rotary dial for this phone.  It was a party line phone that hung on the wall in our living room.  One phone for the entire house and family that was attached to the wall.  And you had to listen for your “ring”!

My parents still had a party line in 2005.  Two couples still on the line with neither household willing to pay the cost of a private line. That last portable phone on the farm included a charging base and an answering machine. 

Tool #4

wringer washer

The wringer washer was dangerous.  Your arm could get caught in the rollers.  I remember running cloth diapers and sheets through the rollers . . . it seemed like hours!  Monday was traditionally wash day and this machine was accompanied by tubs of rinse water before clothes went on the line outside to dry.

Our first modern “washer” was purchased in 1970 when we moved into our new house. Goodbye rollers and rinse tubs full of water!  Goodby  Monday wash day!  Any day could now be wash day!

Tool #3


The television was black and white and the picture was black and white. We had three channels.  The remote control was one of the  kids who got up and physically changed the channel.  We watched Lawrence Welk on Saturday night and Bonanza and Ed Sullivan on Sunday nights.  There was no tv watching after school or during the week nights.

The black and white TV was replaced in 1970 when we moved into the new house – a console color TV was part of our family Christmas gift. No cable, no satellite, no NetFlix, no VCR!

Tool #2

record player.jpg

The record player was in the dining room.  It played two different sizes of vinyl records – the singles (45 rpm) or albums (33 1/3 rpm).  The phonograph player was in the dining room.  I was always allowed to play it while I ironed clothes.  The song I remember most was “Give Me 40 Acres and I’ll Turn this Rig Around” – yep, country western – probably “Best Hits”!

I remember this being stored in the basement of our house in later years.  It was also replaced by a stereo console in a cabinet with green velvet under wooden trim. . . 1970 Christmas gift as well!  The stereo also housed a radio that could make the house shake when the bass volume was high!

Tool #1

butter churn

The butter churn was the number one tool that I remember using on a weekly basis.  We would beg I would beg to churn butter each week.  I don’t remember what the alternative was, but churning butter meant that “baking” came next.  Yep!  We milked cows, ran a home separator to separate the cream from the milk, sold cream in a cream can and then also peeled the cream off the home pasteurized gallon of milk daily.  By the end of the week there was enough golden yellow cream to make butter.  Butter that went into cookies –  soft and melt in your mouth cookies.  Oatmeal raisin freezer cookies that were rolled up in waxed paper waiting to be sliced and baked.

I believe that Mom still has the butter churn.  It may have marbles in the bottom. It’s an antique so it’s welcome to hang around for a bit. .  . a tool to be admired.

What “technology” do you remember from your childhood that might be considered “pre-historic” today?

What memories are attached to those pieces of technology?

Process/Goals:  During drive time yesterday  I continued to think about the “Timeless” post  and wondered how else I could use an idea about how some household items have changed.  .  . not just in size but in terms of materials composition and even purposes of use!  I started typing some ideas, grabbed photos from Google images, numbered in blue.  And then I had the bright idea to add “the rest of the story” in italics . . . and right justified to set them off. Added categories, tags, proofed, and the #SOL16 to end the March Challenge which did not exist when I was a child!

And to dream of the devices used for this post that were not YET created in the time described in this post: laptop, internet, blogs, Google images, and no March Challenge connecting readers and writers around the world instantly!

Thank you, friends, for reading and commenting during the March Challenge Slice of Life!

slice of life 2016

Thank you, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey, and Tara. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.  It’s the March Slice of Life Challenge; posts are DAILY!

25 responses

  1. I remember the first time I saw a “cable box.” If you placed the knob in between the numbers “Just Right” you could see MTV. (Which our parents refused to subscribe to.) Also, just last night I was reading some older science lessons that referenced technology use as looking at the VCR tapes! My how things have changed!

    1. I remember when an “overhead” was considered technology. Oh well, times have changed, for sure!

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. So… cool. We do had one family phone on the wall in the kitchen –but it was rotary. The cars were so different – no seatbelts and walkmen – remember those!! Funny how we age ourselves with this activity. It would be fun to do with a mixed generation group and figure out what really is timeless. I missed the Timeless post yesterday — so I am off to check that out. Thanks, as always, for inspiring and pushing my thinking!

    1. Clare,
      A mixed group would be fun . . . new event for the next family gathering! ❤

  3. Fran, Thanks for this post. My dad was a milkman and so my mom made butter all the time. Homemade butter meant leftover buttermilk to make THE BEST buttermilk pancakes ever made!
    You’ve got me drooling.

    1. Christine, you are welcome!
      Forgot about the buttermilk! I know ours went into a chocolate cake recipe. I was also thinking of a flour sifter! Sifting flour for cake was a long process – at least three times!

  4. Oh, Fran! I recognized many of these “tools.” So much fun. My Great Aunt Elda had one of those washing machines in her cellar, I think I could write a story about it! Wow! The television, record player – but the butter churn – never saw it before! Thanks for including a picture of each one. I have visited you many times for all the wonderful pieces – so different – and yet with each one, attention to process. I think I have at least four ideas for writing from this one post. See you here on Tuesdays, I hope!

    1. Lynne,
      I will be here on Tuesdays! Have several other projects now to “catch up” but have to keep the writing muscles in shape!

      I think this year I have truly benefitted the most from the ideas that I have gained from every post I read. So important a reader and writer to BE! ❤

      THANKS for reading and commenting so faithfully. And I chuckled – I had an Aunt Ethel! CLOSE!

  5. Nifty idea in words and visuals, Fran. Made me remember some of the eight-track tapes from my childhood. I wonder what items might land in this post decades from now…

    1. Brian,
      I don’t think I have any old eight-track tapes but I do remember them. The evolution of “many” products would make an interesting story!

  6. It sounds like life really changed for your family in 1970. It made me wonder what happened that year to bring in so much change. I really enjoyed the pictures you included!

  7. I’ve used all of these “tools” & have my grandmother’s butter churn, just like yours, Fran. Until junior high (old term) I lived in a little town, and we could walk up to the telephone office & if we sat quietly the operators would let us watch them plug & unplug, say “operator”, etc. We were fascinated. I started my marriage with a ringer washer, then sold it in a garage sale to an artist who wanted it to make paper (mixing the pulp etc.). What a lot of good memories shared today.Thanks for endings and beginnings.

    1. You are welcome, Linda! So many changes to think about in the world. I remember seeing a telephone office – maybe it was connected to the post office in one of our small offices.

      Memories for sure!!!

  8. Loved this walk through past times – save for the churn, I remember them all!

    1. So interesting, Tara. I didn’t know if some of these were “regional” items or mostly just gently aged items! 🙂

  9. We didn’t have the butter churn, but we did have all of the others. Oh my! Thanks for the memories, I think.

    1. Memories are GREAT! You just have such a wide repertoire of knowledge! LOL

  10. Such an enjoyable post – especially for a nostalgic soul like myself!

    1. Love your description . . . nostalgic soul!

  11. Fran – I so loved this final post! I remember all that technology except for the butter churn; we never had one of those. But I can so clearly remember listening in on the party line to the neighbor girl’s conversation with her boyfriend. So fun!

    1. Thanks, Karen! Several did not know the butter churn – I’m guessing not farm families!!!

  12. I remember 5, 3, and 2. My grandmother still has an old phone in her dining room, and we loved playing with it growing up. My parents had a record player in the living room, and we had a knobbed TV in the basement. 🙂

    1. Ashley,
      So great that you could make some connections to some of this “storied” items! LOL

  13. I love your walk down memory lane, Fran! Our black & white TV was replaced by a color console that was delivered on a Saturday morning. The Roadrunner was the first show I watched in color! When Patty Duke died earlier this week, I remember wanting a princess phone like hers. I never got one, but love my pretty new rose gold iPhone!

    1. I’m fascinated by the memories of simple household appliances – whether they were in our own house or grandparent’s, etc. Fun to think and write about! 🙂

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