air popcorn maker

When I was a youngster we had this nice heated air popcorn maker.

But after a couple of moves it became lost in the shuffle and then the microwave popcorn fad rolled into town.

I was never a fan of the microwave stuff and have become somewhat of a neo-expert on gas stove top pocorn making with a bit of olive oil and a well tuned ear.

love it.

Are there any other neat things from your childhood that have morphed into other forms and incarnations, although the original design is still alive?

I miss those things too. Microwave popcorn is terrible, just like everything else cooked by microwaves.

the kool-aid pitcher-guy. As a kool aid drinking kid I always liked that round smiley big eye guy.

Now, if you think about him, he’s survived pretty much intact considering his attackers:

Jim Jones and that metaphor;
the weight loss fads;
coke-pepsi battles;
jolt, buzz, redbull, etc…

My wife and I recently returned to popping popcorn in a large pot with some oil and the lid on (traditional way). The only disadvantage over microwave popcorn is the dirty pot. The cost advantage of popping corn in a pot is huge though. For the cost of three envelopes, you can buy a bag of popping corn that will last for year.

Along with spaghetti sauce in a can, this has to be the biggest food-fraud commited against humanity.

glass coke bottles. im talking about the smaller ones that a long time ago used to also be in vending machines (im not that old, but have seen Back to the Future).

In Europe glass Coke bottles are still used. Actually find the taste of the product is different and the cold feels colder than drinking from plastic. likely more environmental too…

one the other hand though, beer in plastic bottles is terrible and something i saw in europe but not over here (north america).


Board games are nearly extinct thanks to modern video games. Try to take away Wii controller from my 10yr old nephew. Btw, my fav game I played when I was young is Connect Four.

Oh I disagree, the biggest fraud is in coffee, that whole bean coffee you buy and take home is more than likey stale (coffee starts going stale as soon as its ouf the the roaster) and nobody sells “fresh roast” except if you hit lucky on your local roaster. So, lots of you pay 14 bucks a pound for a stale product.

I’ve found glass bottled sodas at our local Mexican market. After drinking a few I was amazed at how great it tasted, how much better than coke from a can.

Later I found out that the coke made in Mexico uses sugarcane, and not corn syrup. I think it’s that, combined with the glass bottle, that makes it so tasty.

Yeah it tends to be sweeter. I occasional stop by the Mexican Market to get me some amazing tacos and a “real” Pepsi. Good lunch right there.

not counting bottled water, of course. more per Litre/Gallon than gasoline, some (ie. Dasani) is just treated tap water.

but back to the original post-

something else i was thinking of that has changed over time:

desk fans-

before air conditioning, desk fans were common and built solid. i have a collection with a few cast metal examples from the 50’s/60’s. nowadays, all you can get is cheap plastic junk.

same actually goes for the majority of kitchen appliances (ie. mixers, blenders, etc.). very rare (except for over priced quasi-retro things) that anything made now will last more than a few years. im still using a 50’s chrome mixer and blender, that works better (minus fancy functions), that anything new. best part- i can repair it if need be, rather than trash it.

they just dont make things like they used to :slight_smile:


Not to weird you out, but I also have a small collection of desk top fans from the 30’s to the 60’s… I accidentally picked up a duplicate (far left 2) if you want to trade…
There is something so solid about products from this era.

Yes, I have a waffle maker from the 40’s, works like a charm even without Teflon. Some of this “don’t make it like they used to” is laid out our collective doors as designers. Factories are monsters, and must be fed new product to stay alive, a core concept in mass market. It is not all bad though, in the 80’s Volvo proposed a 20-year car, one that through the use of “modern materials and design” would last 20+ years for the average person, the counter was that a 20-year car would not have the benefit of all the innovations that would come along. They were part right, part wrong, one of my cars is a 89, 4 wheel disk brakes with anti lock, computer controlled turbocharged intercooled injected motor, heck even heated mirrors (not to mention all that leather) and except for gps pretty much what’s in the show rooms now. That said it cost $45,000 in 1989, guess you get what you pay for. Therefore, quality in design, materials, fabrication and technology (outside the digital world) has always cost more but in the end if cared for will last a long long time. Most people do not want to pay the high cost of true quality; they will pay a little for the illusion of quality and the image of it but not for the real deal.

wow, you do have quite a collection of fans. i only have 3, so not much here trade. got lots of other retro stuff though in my collection - 4 typewriters, 9 phones, 3 mixmasters, 4 record players… after moving back and forth to denmark lots of stuff is still stuck in boxes someplace though…

i agree about the solidity of product from this time. interesting to also compare the price and durability of products then vs. now. I dont think relative retail prices were more expensive then, but materials and quality was vastly superior.

here’s a few more from my collection (pic from a few years ago)-

oh man!

soda in bottles!

growing up in detroit i remember taking empty crates of towne club bottles back for full ones at my grandparents house. they also lived by a better-maid potato chip factory and we would get fresh chips in a waxed paper bag.

a couple of years ago when i lived in charlotte, pepsi tested a 12 oz bottle (glass) in that market. it tasted SO much better.

Wow, those are nice collection retro products, rkuchinsky. Are they products you have owned over time?

i’ve had the collection for a while. starting collecting when i was in university from local second had and thrift shops. none of the stuff i bought originally (ie. in the 60’s…i wasn’t alive) but some was passed down from family (ie. the chrome toaster was a wedding present for when my grandma got married - more than 50 years old and i use it everday!).

some stuff i’ve since sold, and some is packed away, but most stuff i try to collect are things i can use.


Could it be that they don’t make things like they used to because of children?
I mean just think of how easy it would be to lose a finger in those fans… Plus if you had one on the counter and the kid came along and pulled it off the table they could be seriously hurt. Versus a lighter weight, less durable product that wouldn’t hurt so badly.

true. and (esp. in the US), people are a lot more likely to sue these days for stupid mistakes and human error-caused accidents like cutting your arm off using a lawnmower to trim a hedge!


cutting your arm off using a lawnmower to trim a hedge

Well the thing has a spinning blade that cuts grass, why not try it with shrubs?

I don’t miss very many vintage products. I find alot of them too heavy and less easy to use than current products. Moreover, I take pretty good care of my products, or repair them myself, so I don’t find durability to be an issue with many newer products. Another factor is that plastics use less energy to produce and often pollute less than metal castings and chrome plating.

However, one product that I do miss is the rotary phone. I can’t explain why. They are slower than touch tone phones, never came in cordless variants…but still, there is just some kind of a connection I felt with a rotary phone that is missing with touch tone. Especially these old, bulky, generic ones:

Oh yeah!