With advancements in technology and changes in human lifestyle, objects all around us become obsolete. There are a bunch of things that are no longer used at home as well, although they were once a prominent part of the house. Do you remember your grandmother’s Hoosier cabinet? Did you ever see a house with a root cellar? Let’s discover things that are no longer needed.
Once upon a time, everyone heated their homes with coal. That practiced might still be used in rural areas around the world, but it’s not as common. Houses were equipped with a tiny door and a chute that lead to the furnace. Coal deliverymen would just place it there right away so that homeowners didn’t have to worry. Now, newer homes don’t even have them.
Can you imagine having ice constantly delivered as if it was mail? Well, there was once an ice door specifically designed so that the deliverymen could place it there. Long ago, most kitchens came with an icebox. The door facilitated the delivery without strangers getting inside the house. With the invention of fridges, it was no longer necessary.
Now, this is something that a lot of people probably wish was still used in most homes and apartments. Dumbwaiters were essentially a tiny elevator that was manually raised with a pulley system. It was popular in commercial buildings such as hotels and used to deliver food to the upper floors. The issue is that a lot of kids could fit inside and would get trapped there. This led to injuries and, eventually, people stopped using dumbwaiters.
Nowadays, everyone just uses their cellphones, but a few people still have a landline. However, not a lot of people have a phone niche. Telephones were originally pretty big, and designers started adding a specific place for it at every home. It was also considered pretty cute, which is why some modern homes still have it. However, people might put another kind of decoration on there.
You might have noticed that weird thing in the wall that’s not used by anyone, and it’s not for connecting your charger. Well, those are phone jacks for landlines. Just like phone niches, they have fallen into disuse because people prefer their cellphones. Modern homes are now adding more advanced sockets and getting rid of these unnecessary jacks.
Just like coal and ice, people had milk delivered at home. If you are Millenial or Gen Z, you might not remember milkmen but have probably seen them in movies. There was a time where people couldn’t go to the supermarket all the time. Deliveries were crucial. Therefore, people invented the milk door or chute. You placed your empty glass bottles there, and the milkman would replace them with fresh ones.
Although you might see these cabinets in some kitchens still, especially if people love vintage stuff, they are not that common anymore. They were designed as a cabinet/workstation for the kitchen. It was the quintessential housewife item for several decades. Nowadays, the entire kitchens come with several shelves, cabinets, and islands that made them not as vital.
This might still be used in hotels and other commercial buildings, but people used to have them at home as well. Laundry machines were most likely in the basement because they were so big, and it was a huge pain carrying all the household loads down there. Therefore, there was a laundry chute to throw all dirty clothes into a basket in the basement. Nowadays, laundry rooms are just off the kitchen because machines have become smaller with time.
You might have seen this item sometimes, but never someone using them. Boot scrapers were iron gadget located right at the entrance of a house. From the French word “decrottoir”, they were used to remove poop and dirt from shoes. Since people don’t walk on dirt roads a lot anymore, they became obsolete.
There are many homes that still use radiators, although many people prefer HVAC systems. Steam radiators were invented in 1855 and made with cast or wrought iron. However, some of these vintage radiators have several features that modern designs don’t have. Some were used to dry clothes, some were humidifiers, warming racks, and more. A few were even custom-designed if the buyer was wealthy and wanted some pretty in wrought iron.
If you have visited an old home, you might have noticed a second smaller staircase. It was used by the help of the house. Long ago, big houses and wealthy families had several people on staff, but they should not have been seen. So, the houses added a staircase so that servants didn’t have to walk through the rest of the house to do their duties.
People these days are more interested in home gardening and organic meals, but long ago, that was the only option. People grew their own stuff. However, vegetables and fruits were harvested at certain times of the year. So, these items needed to be preserved somehow. That’s where canneries and root cellars came in. People would store their goods in mason jars, make jams, preserves, and more to keep in that space.
Most modern homes don’t have them, but you have probably seen them in pictures, movies, or elsewhere. Some doors were equipped with a window right above it. Those are transom doors meant to make rooms brighter. They were mostly designed back when electricity was not available. Nowadays, they are not really needed.
Now, this might not be that common to spot in real life. But you probably remember seeing them in Disney’s ‘Cinderella’. Each room in the house had a rope that would extend downstairs to the help’s quarters. So, whenever you needed something, you rang the bell. They became obsolete thanks to modern systems like intercoms and buzzers.
Nowadays, everyone hangs their pictures on the wall with a nail and a hammer. However, long ago, it was more common to have picture hanging molding, as it was strong and didn’t damage the wall. This was invented in the 1840s, but after 100 years, they were no longer that popular. Luckily, if you want to give your house a nice vintage feel, you can still buy them.
It’s pretty interesting to discover how convenient things are now. Let us know if you have seen any of these things at an older house. If you liked this article, share it with your friends that love learning about vintage stuff and customs. See you next time!