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Top 10 Nearly Extinct Household Items

Growing up in the 1950s-1980s we were surrounded by household items that we just took for granted. They were part of our everyday lives, some decorative, most functional, sometimes both. And pretty much everywhere you went, everyone had them, your family, your neighbors, your friends. Sadly, today many of these old household staples are disappearing, going the way of the icebox, the hand crank telephone on the wall or the coal bin in the basement – things that everyone knew in the 1920s but were pretty much gone when I was a kid in the 1960s-1970s. Of course we are all nostalgic for “the way it used to be” and glamorize things that really were not all that great for our parents, but for which we have fond memories as children. Still, it is sad to see some of these items disappearing. And for those commenter’s who are hung up on “American-centrist” lists, that’s all I can write about because, obviously, that is where I grew up. Did other countries have some or all of these normal household items back in the 1950s-1980s? Probably. Or at least I think so. Anyway, here is a list of the top ten common household items that are going extinct.


Table Trays

Coffee%20Table%2046%20Mcintosh 01

For most households, food was eaten at the dinner table, and nowhere else. But if you were having a party and needed to spread out, there were the ubiquitous table trays. People could eat their piece of birthday cake and drink their glass of lemonade using one of these easy to fold and put together metal table trays. The trays usually had some sort of floral pattern on them, or some festive scene. They usually came six trays to a storage rack. The rack had a handle to carry them around. You could find the rack with the six trays neatly folded and positioned somewhere out of the way, beside the sofa and against the wall. Maybe hidden inside a coat closet. But they were always there. As kids we would set these trays up around the living room, get blankets, drape them over the trays, and use it as a fort. You seldom see these folding table tray sets anymore.




What family living-room or den did not have a hassock (often referred to as a “poof” in non-US English)? Those (usually) round, Naugahyde, vinyl or leather-covered foot rests that no one ever seemed to use to rest their feet on. In fact, in my entire life, I can hardly remember seeing anyone actually using a hassock for the purpose for which it was intended. But they were always there, silent sentinels in their garish colors, guarding the TV set.


Seasonal Decorations


Mothers were really good at placing seasonal decorations around the house. As a kid, you didn’t need to have a calendar or even know what month it was. Just look around the house and mom was on it. Shamrocks and leprechauns hanging on the front door? It was St Patrick’s Day. Cornucopias and pilgrims? Thanksgiving. Eggs and bunny rabbits clinging to the windows? Easter. Mom has a closet somewhere in the house where she kept all this stuff, and she needed a lot of it. Valentines, Fourth of July flags, Halloween ghosts and witches on brooms. And of course, lots of Christmas decorations. People today seem to keep the Christmas decorative spirit alive, and some of the other big ones like Halloween and Easter. But you see less and less of the Lincoln and Washington cut out busts hanging on the door. Only the truly dedicated seasonal decorator was all over Presidents Day. I think that is sad; I think we move too fast and are not as in touch with the changes to the seasons and the various signposts along the way. Valentines into St Patrick’s Day. Easter into Mothers Day. Fourth of July into Halloween. Halloween into Thanksgiving and then Christmas.


Standing TV Sets and Antennae


When I was in fourth grade, all the way back in 1968, our teacher told us someday TV sets would hang on the wall like pictures. At a time when few of us even had color TV sets in the house that was kind of hard to imagine. But she was right, it has come to pass that almost all TV sets today hang on the walls. And while these TV sets are fantastic, you seldom see the old TV sets that were made to be another piece of furniture in the house. Decorative sets made of wood that sat on four legs, on the floor, usually in the corner of the living room (with one of mom’s seasonal decorations sitting on top).

And since most people have cable or satellite TV, they also do not have the other staple of TV communication – the rooftop antennae. Setting up, positioning, and repairing the rooftop TV antennae was the suburban equivalent of medieval jousting. All suburban dads had to do it to prove their manhood. There they would be, in all weather, up there on the roof, precariously perched near the electrical and phone wires, trying to get the antennae positioned just right to bring in some far-off TV station they wanted (usually so they could watch a boxing match, football game, or other sporting event). Or more frequently, just to get the damn thing to work. Suburbia and cities used to have a skyline of various size and shapes of TV antennae. Not anymore. Now you have over-sized pizza pans pointed at the sky. And some guy from the satellite company comes and works on it if it needs repaired. Dads are off the hook. Still, the poor reception we get on our TVs when it rains, or when we have a bad cable connection, are far removed from the days of trying to watch a TV show through the snow, static, and rolling picture that used to come as a routine part of antennae sets.

One of the best memories of these old TV sets came several years back when we inherited an old black and white TV from my wife’s grandparents. I brought it home and plugged it in and got my two teenage sons with me to turn it on to see if it still worked. I switched on the set and nothing happened. They immediately gave up, thinking, “that’s it, the set is broke.” I knew better, of course, and told them to wait. About 30 seconds later, after the old vacuum tubes warmed up, the set made that unmistakable sound we all remember TV sets making as they switched on, that sci-fi like noise, and the picture slowly started coming on as a dot in the middle of the screen that slowly got larger and larger. My boys were beside themselves screaming – “TV sets really do that?!” “No way!” “They really do make that noise?!” “You’re kidding?!” “We thought that was made up?!” No, I told them, that was how all TV sets used to start, you turned them on, waited, and hoped.


Sewing Machines


My grandmother had a foot-pump sewing machine, but when I was a kid they were already antiques. Every woman had a sewing machine, usually a Singer model in a case that she could get out of the closet, put on the table, plug in, and sew away. What a fantastic skill to have, to be able to sew. To put patches on our uniforms. To repair torn clothing. To make a new dress from a pattern. It seemed all mothers had that skill when I was a kid and it was commonplace to see the family sewing machine being used. Something else that you seldom see.


Window and Floor Fans

Window Fan

Before everyone had window air-conditioners, and then central air-conditioning, people did one thing in the summer months. They sweat. Summer months, especially July and August, were something that had to be endured. Unless you went to a public place like a movie theater, there was no air-conditioning. If it was 95 and humid outside, your house was even hotter and more uncomfortable. Trying to sleep at night was a real difficulty. The old window fan that rattled away and sucked in slightly less hot air from the outside, during the night, was a staple of all households. Many other rooms had floor fans that you could plug in and circulate the hot humid air around the room at your feet. Or as a kid you could turn it on and lay on the floor with your face in it, feeling the moving air. With central air-conditioning being almost universal now, homes seldom use window or floor fans. Dads around the world no longer have the joy of cramming the window fan into the window, adjusting it, screwing it into place, and then taking it out come fall.


Storm and Screen Windows


And speaking of dad wrestling with windows, he had another biannual job to do, one even more hated than window fans. Putting in and taking out storm windows and screen windows. Again, in this age of air-conditioning and well fitted, double-panned, thermally insulated year-round windows, no one has to switch between storm windows in the winter and screens in the summer. But back then, this was a necessity. Screen windows had to be installed in the summer so you could let the air in without the bugs. Then at the end of the summer, the screen windows had to come out and the storm windows went back in. These storm windows were pathetic compared to modern windows – heavy, single-pane glass monstrosities that were hard to fit into the window slats and once in, rattled in the strong winter winds (and did a poor job keeping out the cold and wind). But like everything else back then, they were all you had. So they had to do. Thankfully, men don’t need to haul these things around and climb ladders to change windows anymore.


Wall Telephones


Family wall telephones were in every house back then. There may have also been some pedestal phone sitting on a coffee table or in your sister’s room. But somewhere, usually on the first floor, there was a phone hanging on the wall. Usually it came in the standard color – black. When it rang everyone knew someone was calling. The phone was usually located near some piece of furniture which had a drawer which contained two other disappearing pieces of the family household – the Yellow Pages phone directory, and mom’s little phone message book (that’s right, they had an app. for that even back then – it was called writing down the persons name and phone number in a little A-Z book). The original wall telephones came standard with 4-6 foot cords, so you pretty much had to stand at the phone to talk to whoever it was you were conversing with. Later on they developed 12 and even 18 foot long cords so mom could stretch that receiver over to the stove and keep cooking while she talked. We had one friend who had a mom who stretched their 6-foot cord into an 18-footer. We always joked she invented the extended reach telephone cord. Of course with cell phones, few people even have a phone in the house anymore, and the Yellow Pages may soon be extinct.


Playing Cards

10 Playing Cards

Every house had multiple sets of playing cards. Pinochle, bridge, or straight decks, usually all three. The area I grew up in was huge for pinochle, everyone had pinochle decks. You could walk into any corner store, department store, or convenience store and they sold decks of pinochle cards. Not anymore, pinochle decks are hard to find. They just don’t sell, so the stores stopped carrying them.

Playing cards was a social thing everyone seemed to do. Kids would get out cards and play a game of “war.” Mom would have pinochle or bridge parties and all her friends would come over, dressed to the nines, and mom would bring out all her best glassware. Dad might have some buddies over to drink beer and play poker. Card playing was just part of our lives. Sadly, we are not as social as we used to be, friends don’t just pop in to say hello and a card game spontaneously erupts. Moms don’t have regular card parties. If we play cards, it is on our smart phones or computers. Like that book “Bowling Alone,” we still play cards, just not with other people. How sad.


Burn Barrels


Of all the old household items I miss from my childhood, this is #1. The backyard burn barrel. It was a rusty old empty 55-gallon drum dad brought home from work or found at a junkyard, or God knows where he got it. In the autumn, my favorite time of the year, you knew winter was coming because the geese were flying south, you were playing football, school had started, and the smell of burning leaves was in the air (oh yeah, mom had the Halloween decorations up too). Everyone had one of these in their backyards to burn their fallen leaves. There were no curbside pick-ups to recycle the leaves back then. You just raked them up, and burned them. My mom loved it. She would stand there with an old broom stick handle, blackened at one end, and stir the smoldering leaves to get more air to them so they would combust better. We would rake up the leaves and walk over and dump arm fulls into the burning barrel. Then my mom would stir it like a witch attending her cauldron. There was just nothing like the smell of burning leaves in the autumn, and there still isn’t to this day. Most municipalities and cities banned the burning of leaves decades ago, so it is something you only found in more rural areas. Machines come around and vacuum up your leaves at the curb. Perhaps more environmentally friendly, but we have lost that wonderful seasonal odor as a result.


S&H Green Stamp Stuff

Leonhardt 650

Remember S&H Green Stamps your parents would get when they bought groceries and other stuff? You had those little books and you would save the stamps all year. Then one day your parents would break out the box of stamps and the books and you would all gather at the table and have a green stamp-sticking party. By the end you were down to the little tiny one-cent stamps, trying to fill that last book (and your fingers were green). Then you counted your books and got out the S&H Green Stamp catalog and looked to see what you could redeem your stamps for. Ten books got you a new basketball! Twenty-five books got mom a new frying pan. Thirty-five books got you a new cooler, or the ubiquitous American eagle table lamp. The stuff you were able to get with your S&H Green Stamp books could be found all over the house. This explains why every house in the 1970s had the Bicentennial American eagle table lamps. It also explains why so many houses had #10 and #9.

  • eejit

    These things are still common in a lot of houses. Rubbish list. Again. Do some research.

    • a

      You are a poo poo face.

    • Hey

      My dad can write a better list than your dad.

      • Ni99a

        Eye kant rite uh leest kauz eye am ileetuhrate.

    • what

      They are only common in the houses you see because you and all the people you know are poor, sorry to have to be the one to tell you :'(

      • WOOSH

        Thank-you Sir Trolls-a-lot

      • Benny

        My family household makes 120K a year and we have most of these things:
        Hassocks for storing my niece and nephew’s toys (and occasionally blankets)
        Folding tray because we usually eat at the couch when we have the grandparents over Landline because ATT and Verizon cellphones get NO service in our house
        Window and floor fans because we’ve found them to be cheaper than the AC
        Sewing machine because many people are moving AWAY from a disposable lifestyle Seasonal decorations because he aren’t bah-humbugs.

        • Silvia

          nah, I don’t think your family household makes that much. You’re just a poor beggar at the street along with your whole family.

      • LOL

        You mad cause you aren’t one of the people who have these things in your house? :P

      • Trudy

        Playing cards can actually make ya rich though.

        Also this list is garbage.

      • flingebunt

        Yesterday I found myself in need of playing cards. Went everywhere but couldn’t find any.

        Like many things on this list, they are really really hard to find.

        Floor fans though are still common in Australia (we are, for some reason, air-conditioning adverse in this country).

    • GrammerNazi

      eejit is right. All the items are common….if you live in Chernobyl.

    • Felatio

      I agree.

    • ConstableDubs

      No kidding, sounds like the author was born around 1999 and thinks these are all exotic things.

      • Marmy

        Everyone has hassocks, they just call them ottomans. The only truly nostalgic entry on the list was S&H Green Stamps. My heart always went out to the unwanted 1’s that were treated like litter because, like pennies, they just didn’t seem worth the effort.

    • Christine Vrey

      Many of these things cannot possibly be concidered “nearly extinct” concidering they are still being MASS produced and sold in shops. Playing cards??!! I agree there are many things that are extinct now, like records and man platforms and hairy ladys in p o r n, but most of what you listed is still in common use in many households!

    • LadyPuddlePie

      All my clothing is made from scratch as my mother is a dress maker hence the need for a sewing machine, I enjoy playing cards and I have a poof! I ensure you that I am not living in the dark ages nor am I an old F art! Am I right to assume that this was written by a male in his early twenties?

      • DanYC

        I’m a male in my early twenties, and my upper-middle class family still has all these things (except the stamps and burn barrel… What’s up with that? I guess its a rural thing…)

      • Agginym

        It said he was in 4th grade in 1968

      • Ruk

        I’m not even early 20s yet and the only thing off the list I’ve never seen before/don’t still have around is the stamps… and I’m just assuming that’s because I’m Scottish.

    • Totally curious as to what your motivation was for leaving such a post. Just to spread your lousy attitude around? Move along, man. Wow.

    • Ryan

      You use ‘rubbish’ as an adjective. You are therefore from the UK.

    • Trish

      “Poofs” are definitely “in” and very expensive. I’m looking to buy the exact one shown. This list is rubbish.

    • Brotron


  • Captain Kangaroo Pimp

    Ahhhh nostalgia

  • Jeremy

    Maybe it’s because I live in Maine which tends to be a little behind the times but some of these are still super common here. I see just as many seasonal decorations as I did as a kid, and everyone I know has screens over their windows and fans. I actually don’t know of anyone who has air conditioning in their house, it you want to cool off in the summer you throw the windows open and turn on the fans you have set up.

    • scarton

      I was in Maine this summer (when it was 100 in Portland!) and i bet there were a lot of window AC’s installed! The house where we were staying (in Friendship) had no AC (of course) so I went out to the Ace hardware and bought 4 window fans that looked exactly like the ones shown in this list!

    • i spent the last three years in rhode island where screens and storm windows are ubiquitous. living right on the new england coast means AC is often unnecessary, so screens/storm windows are quite necessary.

      maybe a rename for the list of “top 10 items i don’t see often so i’ll call them nearly extinct even though they’re not actually.”

    • JamJamJam

      Same for me, I live up in New Brunswick and we have most of this stuff too. Though having lived in England until three years ago I can see why the lister would think these items are almost extinct.

    • Norkio

      I live in Southern California and with the exception of storm windows, the TV antennas and burn barrels all this stuff is pretty common still.

  • Ozzy

    Another interesting list. But I can tell you no ones going to take my cards off me, they have so many uses: gambling, playing go fish and building card houses!

    • skywatcher

      And putting in bicycle spokes for that great sound!

      • Bubbles

        Bahahaha! I didnt remember that!!

      • Ozzy

        That too!

  • Jj

    My family still puts up seasonal decorations, has a sewing machine, a wall connected telephone, playing cards, stickers for future discounts at the market, and I still see burn barrels today, just not as much…

  • bluesman87

    Very cool ,like the writing style too, table trays, noble honest true…..RIP.

  • Jael

    I doubt a lot of these items are extinct. I may have grown up in the 90’s, but my family still has a lot of items purported to be “extinct” (such as the tv trays, holiday decorations, sewing machine, hassocks, floor fans, and playing cards). Hell, my friends and I all own sewing machines (mind you, we are in our twenties) because we are all avid cosplayers who have to make our own costumes rather than spend up to thousands of dollars for a custom made outfit. I know someone who even has a small side business creating custom capes and stuff for fellow cosplayers.

    • Ni99a

      Weabo detected, get some sunshine, that cosplay of yours is how you protect your virginity I see.

      • Xalimn

        Just cosplaying doesn’t make someone a weeaboo.

        • Anony

          No it does, you weeaboo.

  • Fid

    I hate to complain about lists but I have to agree. Most of these are still common in both the US and Canada. Only the designs have changed somewhat. And TVs with legs are more rare. Except for green stamps which I’ve never seen perhaps because I was born in the late 60s and/or grew up on Canada.

  • Senor_Shutter

    I have AC but I still own 1 window fan and 4 floor fans! Most people I know own at least 2 fans. Even the people I know with central air have a couple of fans to help circulate the cool air.

    Also I JUST bought a pair of rabbit ears in case my cable goes out. I found that I get 5 stations with rabbit ears I picked up at a Dollar Store.

  • a


    • Ni99a

      You can always try better dear, don’t let them trolls stop your pursuit to be number one. I once knew a great first poster in 10 Amazing Facts About the Transit of Venus. He too start from a humble beginning but he persevere and became a successful person he is today.

      • a

        You are a poop face.

  • Amrendra

    what a great list. we can all over the world relate to all these things!!!fantastic.

  • René

    I still have hassocks, two pairs in blue and white. My kids use them as… well… everything. They love to roll them around the house and then use them as stands to reach hard to reach places. I use them as a seat when both kids decide to stretch out a bit and occupy the sofas. A bit dated, I know, but useful for now.

    • Suvro

      The list is too…

      (scroll down)

  • Sylko

    I’m 40. Live in California, & I have nothing on this list in my house! But I did grow up with all of them.

  • Veronica

    I find this list a bit insulting, not sure why… Did a twelve year old write it?

  • Ah yes, the smell of smoldering leaves… quite nostalgic.

    What about cassette recorders and cassette tapes?

    • Missy

      Still got an old cassette player. My late mum-in-law had an old dictation cassette machine and mum has a old Singer treadle sewing machine. What about the old manual typewriters? Not many have those. I’ve seen the old electric typewriters around, the ones with the old white-out ribbon.
      I still use the old playing cards to tell fortunes.

  • NIJ

    I don’t get the purpose of the list, things that’s used to be common but aren’t as much now? Just doesn’t seem interesting in the slightest, also you could have made this list with out writing anything but the title above each picture, I didn’t need to be told the concept of playing cards

    • Ni99a

      In china coal iron is no longer used.

      In the ghettos we no longer have the big radios that we put on our shoulder and walk round the street.

      In Africa they still have some mud huts.

      There, international enough?

  • ummoi

    too western. can you do a more universal list, just want to relate

    • Hellion

      Sorry. We don’t care about the rest of the world. Just being honest.

    • Scott

      Please shut up.

  • somename

    This list is like a W.A.S.P’s must have item list from years ago. Growing up hispanic on the U.S.- Mexico border I can only relate to the phone and cards. Even those are still pretty much in use today unless gambling is going out of style or something?

    • Meg

      No, the list was written for mostly people who have resided in the US and/or Canada. No one said anything about Mexico/US border.

      • somename

        That wasn’t the point, I just mean this list applies to a pretty select audience and when a site posts just one thing a day maybe they could try for something more people could feel nostalgic about?

  • Name

    Playing Cards? #2??? WTF. Their were a couple dumb ones. Table Trays? Seasonal Decorations? Are people not buying Christmas trees nowadays? Man…It’d be pretty tough to find a person that could make a worst “Top 10 Nearly Extinct Household Items”.

  • Captin-laffin

    Hahahahahahahahaha. Ah, Hahahahahahahahaha. Good list!

  • flgh

    Outside North America, #4 (mozzies are prevalent year-round in tropical countries) & #1 (the chinese use ’em for burning religious offerings) are nowhere near extinct yet

  • Doo Doo Kerplunkins

    Nice list Patrick, I enjoyed it! Made me reminisce about my childhood days.

  • necropenguin

    I remember when my grandma was still alive, we would burn her garbage in a burn barrel, not just leaves. Actually, it was all garbage, nobody burned leaves around here.

    I think those green stamps were a little bit before my time.

    When i was a kid we never had to change the windows. We had some really nice plexiglass windows with a screen behind it. No rattling like at my grandma’s house.

    I love these nostalgia type lists.

    • Ni99a

      Then when my Grandma gets too old to be taken care of we burn her in the same barrel we used to burn them leaves. She did not look happy with the smell of the burnt leaves though.

  • andrewtpepper

    Bit of an insight into the USA of 1950s/60s – in the UK, we had very few of these – only a sewing machine! Like most people, we didn’t have a phone in the house until the 1960s – our first phone in 1965 used the operator – we had to pick up the phone, the operator said “Number, please?” and she’d actually connect us – a dial was quite a luxury.

    I think one of the biggest changes is that in 1963, when we left the house the only electrical item that was actually taking power was a wall clock.

    • DanF

      I remember my Gran told me she was one of the first to get a telephone, here telephone number was ‘6’

    • Ni99a

      When I skimmed through your comment, I thought I saw wall c0ck.
      I was like,”You guys do glory hole in your house?”

  • Nice list, I do agree that most of these are nearly extinct. #8 is the one i disagree with (and #2), even thou many people don’t splurge on holiday decor anymore, you still get those few that have that box bought plastic Christmas tree at the corner of the dining room. Oh, could have added

    the VCR

    Cassettes (and the pen one used to rewind it)

    the Iron you had to put on a stove to heat up

    the Wasplank (Board used when washing clothes)

    Stiffy Disks

  • Will Trame

    Ah, the old dinner trays…I remember them well. My family got to the point in the mid-to-late 70s we utilized these things to eat dinner in front of the TV set. But then, TV programming was much better. My mother still has her old sewing machine I recall from my childhood days. I still have my old cassette tape recorder I utilized to tape songs off the radio during my high school days, my old boom box radio from my college days and my old typewriter (notable omission). Also add in my old collection of over 200 vinyl record albums.

    I’m 54; thanks for the stroll down memory lane.

    • Ni99a

      54?!! Better start ordering your coffin granpa. Go away, you are making us youngster feel awkward here.

      • Will Trame

        Do you hope to escape aging? LOL

  • fraterhater

    Hmmm, most of these things are in my immediate field of vision, the rest are in other rooms and the poof is somewhere out in the shed…

    • Nate

      You make no sense and for a “frater hater” you sure do spend a lot of time on listverse.

      • fraterhater

        Well, why do you care?
        Anyway I’ll simplify it for you, I can either see them or I have them in other rooms.

        The name is just a name, get over it & as for being on listverse a lot, since when does reading each list constitute a lot of time?

      • fraterhater

        Well, why do you care?

        Anyway I’ll simplify it for you, I can either see them or I have them in other rooms.

        The name is just a name, get over it & as for being on listverse a lot, since when does reading each list constitute a lot of time?

        • fraterhater

          Damn double posts!

  • Vincent

    When I was a kid in Gwalia, W Australia (1970s), we lived in a house that had an outhouse that backed up against a lane running down the middle of the block. Once a week the Shire’s sanitation truck would come by. His job was to remove the full can from the outhouse and put in an empty one. He was affectionately known as the turd burglar. That service was eventually phased out and we had to install a septic system with flushing toilet. It’s probably the opposite of nostalgia; not something we particularly think back on with affection..

    Certain things were phased in, like flushing toilets. There was no TV service there either, now its all satellite. That’s a whole other list.

  • Dalek6450

    Still got everything except for 9,8,1 which we never had.

  • Jessie

    I don’t know if it’s just my house or it’s Australia but I have a lot of these things. And who doesn’t love a fire pot

    • Beej

      Gotta agree Jessie. I’m in Sth Aust. and I have 5 out of 10 of these. The only reason I don’t have a 44g drum is we aren’t allowed to use them for burning. Shame really.

  • Leeann

    My ten yr old daughter as a 3DS an android tablet and a touch screen smart phone , she puts them all to one side to build playing card houses or to have a game of cheat with her siblings . That makes me smile greatly , I hope we never see the end of the good old playing card ……:)

    • Ni99a

      She is afraid you would confiscate her gadgets because old people like you keep nagging her with your “back in the days” stories.

      Go sew something or read the newspaper.

    • WallaceIII

      Your 10 year old need all that? Seriously?

      • Leeann

        seriously ? Yes !

        • Meg

          Seriously NO! You are obviously a mother who gives in to every tantrum the kid throws for a new gadget. Get real…..

          • Leeann

            Kids don’t get rewarded for bad behaviour in my house , and how would you know what kind of mother I am ? That is very rude and ignorant of u to prosume something like that ! Let’s hope your children are not as moronic as you .

  • shi jia

    burn barrels’ quite common in singapore.. used to burn incense paper when praying to god or ancestors.

  • Carlos Estimbo

    I remember the wall phone, especially the one with the metal dial, those things were heavy duty! I also remember my Mom collecting S&H green stamps. Nostalgic list. While not all of the items are extinct, they’re not as common as when I was a kid.

  • forsythia

    I am 20, I live in Boston (NOT behind the times) and I have table trays, decorate for Holidays and play cards pretty regularly. Poker for money…but still.
    An okay list I suppose, but some of the items seems to be pushing it.

  • djalabajoe

    My own list would be –

    Indoor paraffin ( kerosine ) heaters
    Ice on the inside of the windows in winter
    Hard shiny Izal toilet paper
    A larder with mesh vents to keep the butter and milk cool.
    Snuff boxes
    Pipe rack with a selection of pipes
    A coal shed
    A Radiogram
    Hand knitted Balaclavas
    and a zinc bathtub that you filled from the kettle on the stove.
    This pretty much descibes my grandparents house in the mid 1970’s and would not be that much different from the mid 1870’s

  • Andyman

    Ah, the classic burn barrel. We would find one at a nearby dump, open the top and burn off whatever toxic substance was left in it. We burned everything and anything trash that could be burned. And some things that shouldn’t be burned. Many green army men perished trying to cross the metal grate that covered the barrel.

    No wonder they were banned around here.

  • Crumpet

    Pointless list is pointless.

  • oouchan

    I have many of these items and they are STAPLES where I live…and cheaper then their alternatives. Some things like the rotary phone I can see as no longer needed, but fun to have all the same. But floor fans are a needed item here.

    Not a good list in total.

    • segues

      The phone, a landline, not a wall phone though, is still required in my neighborhood. Our house is in a little dale in the woods, and the cell signals don’t reach us. Oh! There are 3 one square foot areas in which you can occasionally get a signal, but it doesn’t always last throughout a call.

  • Jobrag

    In English a hassock is something you kneel on in church.

  • I thought this was an interesting list and very well written.

    I’m in the UK so some of the items are not things I remember but things like the wall phone with the stretched out cord brought a smile.

    This list also made me want to watch all the episodes of ‘The Wonder Years’ from back in the day. Winnie was a heartbreaker….

    Thanks for the list Patrick.

  • Gregatron

    Yeah for real… Playing cards? Who the f*ck doesn’t have playing cards?… and screens?? SCREENS??? I live in NYC and I see 100 screens right now…. I’m not mad… I’m just sayin….

    • Hellion

      You’re exactly right on about the screens. How does this author open his windows on a nice day and not fill his house up with flies?

      • WallaceIII

        There’s no flies on the moon. Or playing cards.

  • Zair

    Good list I remember all of these things except the green stamps and still have a couple of these items thrown in the basement :)

  • Nignog

    Playing cards are NOT extinct. Many people I know have them, and I have some in my drawer right next to me. Cmon listverse, you can do better than that.

  • SMLoyd

    Screw the absence of playing cards! I’m still a high school student and trust me, at my school, nearly everyone owns a deck of cards. It’s mainly for study hall or lunch, but it’s still one of the most popular things, like those un-social smartphones…

    • Ni99a

      Oldfag detected.

      • Trudy

        You need to work on your trolling you posted like 7 times and i’m the only response you have. Try harder your a disappointment.

        • Ni99a

          Sorry master, for I have shamed you and your legacy. Thank you for replying.

  • Steve

    You forget the typewriter, big ashtrays, phone books, photo slides, every day use of thermos for lunch, belt to hold sanitary napkin (the did not use to stick on the panties), tape recorder, hair spay in those huge aerosol cans…

  • talkthattalk9

    you whiny babies… nothing is going to please any of you. write your own lists if you are so smart and perfect. god, you all make coming to this site annoying as fuck.

  • Peter

    This list brings back lots of memories. It’s written from a very personal point of view but thats fine. Growing up in Sydney Australia I can relate to most of these so I am sure lots of other people can. To those saying these things are still around, the author said “going extinct” and “nearly extinct” and it obviously depends where you are living. In sydney we still have lots of window screens,we call them fly screens. Good list!

  • TheItalian

    Nice list. It seems the people who dislike it don’t get it. Screens aren’t extinct, changing them each year with storm windows is, for example.
    I recall and miss each of these.

  • person

    Call us old fashioned but we still have folding table trays and we use it quite often as well. We have those fans in every room in the house. My mother owns a sewing machine that even I know how to use and my grandmother still owns and uses the one that uses a pedal that I know how to use as well. We have screen windows and telephones plus yellow pages and a phone book. Lastly, each of my siblings including me owns a set of playing cards and our favorite pastime is to play them especially during family gatherings

  • Mikerodz

    coupon organizer!

  • charlie maneth

    well my parents still have seven of the ten at their house.

    • sister

      I have 7/10 and i’m only 35. and i USE them, too

  • DJCarlos

    “Pouffe” man, “pouffe”.

    “Poof” is something entirely different.

    • Lalala

      Isn’t it strange that “pouffe” looks gayer than “poof”?

  • While I can admit to not owning a hassock, most of the other items are found in my house.

    Poor list.

  • Super Hans

    Teddy told me that in Greek, “nostalgia” literally means, “the pain from an old wound”. It’s a twinge in your heart, far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn’t a spaceship. It’s a time machine. It goes backwards, forwards. It takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It’s not called the Wheel. It’s called a Carousel. It lets us travel the way a child travels. Around and around, and back home again… to a place where we know we are loved.

    • ShoresLady

      Finally, someone understands.

  • James

    Poofs are still hugely common here in England, most houses I find myself in has at least one. They’re usually square and about the same height as the seat of the armchair or sofa. Btw for people wondering, we pronounce poof with an extended “o” sound like “swoosh” rather than a short one like “woof”, over here, pronouncing it that way is a slang term for a gay person. Also, I don’t think if I walked down my road now and entered every house I could find one without any playing cards in it. Or a phone for that matter.

  • EMG

    An interesting list and I enjoyed the read.
    An aside, we still use our “hassock” and yes, we use the (now politically incorrect)slang term “poof” for it but the correct word is “Pouffe”.

  • Jacob Tysz

    What a crummy list…we have in our house (in order of list here): table trays, two hassocks, seasonal decorations (we have kids), a sewing machine, two window fans (no need for AC in upstate NY), storm windows, and at least one deck of cards. Please get outside your own head and look around before pronouncing your “findings”.

  • bucslim

    Your Mom is my hassock.

  • timmar68

    I wish that the old-time landline phone was still a staple. The quality of sound was phenomenol. Nowadays I’m always asking people to speak up. It’s not just my phone, it’s any phone that I use. Annoying!

    • Hellion

      Maybe it’s your hearing?

  • sister

    i have 7 out of ten of these and still use them and i’m only 35. try again.

  • mom424

    I live in semi-rural Ontario – potatoes and pigs are the main-stay – we still have burn barrels. In fact in order to get a fire permit (that’s the new part/only $5 btw) within the village limits, you have to have one. Out in the township all that’s required is a pit. Of course I cheat and lie and have the fire in a pit anyway – what good is a fire in a can? Geez that’s no fun.

    I understand what Patrick’s referring to when he talks seasonal decorations – our family didn’t but many did change up their homes according to season – not just Christmas. Fall would have corn husks and cornucopias, spring would have bunnies and flowers and and and – their homes always looked like the kitsch department at Woolworth’s. In a good way, of course. :)

    Table trays are awesome -wishing I had my mom’s old set. Keeps the crumbs off the carpet. Handy, handy, handy. Going to watch out for garage sales this spring.

    I agree that the playing cards/board game decline is a sad thing – face to face socialization trumps the anonymous kind that we all partake nowadays.

    I didn’t think this too bad an offering. Well except maybe the foot stool/hassock item. I know tons of folks that still have ’em. In fact, some pretty cool leather ones that double as storage. Otherwise did fire the nostalgia part of my brain – mission accomplished.

  • Rudi

    You know what I’ll miss when it’s gone? That deep thunderous “bong” you get when you turn on one of those massive tube TVs from the early 90s. Love that.

    • Zagging

      That isn’t the only bong I miss. Ahhh, the college years…

  • Sbtier

    I only agree with 3 of these, hassock, TV antenna and burn barrel. Sewing machine being extinct is particularly ridiculous. Go to amazon and search for sewing machine and you’ll see they are popular. Every woman I know owns a sewing machine. Window screens are another mysterious entry. When did insects become extinct so we don’t need screens any more?

  • If you live in the south east asia you would find that fans can be found almost everywhere. Houses were infested with ceiling fans which goes on non-stop. Even in the city too, we seldom turn on the AC unless it’s burning like hell.

  • Martin

    I think the listwriter should broaden his view a little bit more… Just because you don’t have something in your house anymore, it doesn’t mean nobody has it anymore… Table trays, poofs, storm screens, seasonal decorations and sewing machines are still very commonplace… Do some research next time! ;-)

  • Sbtier

    The author could have typed these things into a search engine and discovered not only are most not extinct, they are popular. Like sewing machines, which every woman I know has at least one. There seems to be a misunderstanding about window screens. Having central air has nothing to do with screens, you still open your windows.

  • catherineadele

    Lame list. Sorry. Fans? Almost extinct? I don’t know anyone who doesn’t use either window fans or ceiling fans. Sewing machines? Again, almost everyone I know owns a sewing machine – and I’m not in my 60’s, I’m 31. Playing cards, seriously? Poofs or ottomans? Why would those become extinct? And seasonal decorations? Are you kidding me??

  • Sillyperson14

    Wow, I have everything 6-1.

  • Maybe endangered, but not extinct. I’m only 33 and we have 7 of the things in your list in our home.

  • Roro

    Patrick, I think you and I had the exact same childhood. This list perfectly described my life growing up haha I rather liked it.

  • darren

    Terrible list it makes no sense

  • MegalSchweelyba

    I live with my nieces and I made Groundhog’s Day really elaborate this year – just for shits and giggles. We colored pictures of Mr. P. Phil himself and hung them all over the house; bought a cake; threw a party and waited…shadow or no shadow. Haha. They are 3 and 5 and it was fun and quirky. I hope they always decorate for Groundhog’s Day. I smell a new tradition.

  • Gabriel Thorn

    An exquisitely affective list! Can’t believe it’s taking (pubescent?) flak for being supposedly off-target.

    Patrick is making some general, as well as personal points, here, concerning ‘nearly’ extinct symbols of his childhood. Instead of gratuitous nitpicking, we should respect the man’s memories, scroll back to some of our own (I’m in my mid 20’s, grew up in Europe, and can easily relate to the list’s intertext), and maybe think about what kind of world is that which replaces the burning (memories) of autumn leaves with the hygienic amnesia of recycling trucks.

  • Mike

    Please do not create another list sir. Listverse, step it up with the content. whatever happend to the bizzare and mystery lists. That is what first made me love your website. Now I barely read any list here. You can do better.

    • Hellion

      I feel the same exact way. I’ve learned a lot from this site but lists like this one teaches me nothing.

  • Bubbles

    My grandma has 5 of the items in the list ^_^

  • iocan

    Wow. I’m less than 30, and I grew up with most of these things around. The house I grew up in still has window screens, a burn barrel, a sewing machine, and seasonal decorations. Cool list.

  • GrammerNazi

    I can remember the only time the Hassocks were used in my great-grandparents house was when he had us over. Us little kids would sit on them while he told us stories from the war. I can remember him getting a little teary eyed when he told us about his best friend dying right next to him. His best friend fell from a guard tower in auschwitz and landed right next to him. It’s times like that when you with WWII never happend. The things the german soldiers had to see, and endure. But I guess someone had to do it.

  • NeesahD22

    I dnt know where u guys are from. I’m from California and I dnt see any of this. When I saw that barrel I had no idea what it could be for. I thought it was for the winter time to keep warm. And the least says nearly. The only holidays ppl decorate around here are the ones he mentioned.
    likeed ur method of writing. Reminds me of the movies that portray the 60s where there’s always a narrator. I actually liked this list.

  • MaggieXawesomeness

    I have number 10, 9, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3 ,2 and 1

  • undaunted warrior 1

    This list brought back some fond memories of my youth, the Table tray I made in woodwork class at school as a present for my folks, the ” poof ” still has a place in my study at home.

    Our radio in the lounge was a old valve type ( I

  • Hellion

    This is a good list if you are in your 50’s.

    What about VHS tapes, answering machines, newspapers, polaroids, Atari, and let’s not forget MTV (a television channel dedicated to music not teen moms).

  • Lola

    Wow. Um, I have one of almost everything on this list.
    TV tray: check (although, admittedly not in a set of six)
    Screens on my windows: check (I should note that my house is only 5 years old)
    Fan: check (why turn the a/c on when I’m the only one who is hot?)
    Sewing machine: check
    Season decorations: double check (who doesn’t decorate for the holidays?)

    I’ll give the writer burn barrels and stamp books, but this list is ridiculous….find me some things that used to be common but no one really has any more…like typrewriters, record players, VCRs (oh, wait, still got one of those, too!), rotary phones, trash compactors, etc

  • Deb

    I made a hassock the year before last out of red, black, and beige vinyl. We actually do use it for a footrest… lol. I made it with my sewing machine, which is one of my most prized possessions. And burn barrels are till fairly common in my mom’s neighborhood. I’m sure if I thought about it I could come up with examples of other things on this list. Fun reading, but not very accurate.

  • Giannis 2000

    ooh, sweet childhood

  • Lajith

    I like to include a few housed hold things that are going to extinct or extinct by now.
    1. Coal powered iron box
    2. Mails (letters)
    3. Tape recorder/Casette player
    4. Photo albums
    5. Radio set
    are a few to name.

  • FlameHorse

    Better than that crapper from yesterday. I have a burn barrel, by the way. Get your friends together for a party and talk over it on a cold night.

    • Josh

      Frank Stallone-style!!!

  • weegmc

    Liked the concept but the list kind of stunk. Off the top of my head I’d go rotary phones rather than wall phones, console stereo systems, VCRs, Radios, milk boxes

  • Josh

    My mother’s dildo, now that my step-dad has moved back in.

  • carlos

    one thing i have to add is the stereo. i remember those big machines with about 4 large loudspeakers and a boxy dials. my mom used to put our trophies atop it. Now everyone just uses and ipod dock. much more convenient

  • Aaron

    Ha, 10,8,6,5, and 4 are all still being used by my parents!

  • Rob

    Playing cards and seasonal decorations are extremely common all around the country….

  • Meredith

    Really? People don’t have sewing machines anymore? Damn, now I’ll have to go onto my craft website and tell them all that we don’t actually have sewing machines and are just imagining it.

    Also I worked at Michael’s craft store during Fall-Christmas. Trust me. People still buy seasonal decorations. In obscene amounts.

  • dave

    Where do you live? Come below the Bible belt. These are mostly perfectly common.

    I’d agree with the phone, tv, and hassock; although I’ve never known many people to have a hassock.

    • taylor


  • PisspotyDont

    Good list.

  • taylor

    Pretty much entirely correct, I own a grand total of 1 (cards) and Christmas decorations but everybody does that.

  • Libbihn

    My husband and I have many of these things. The screens, the playing cards (we love card games), fans, sewing machine… The screens and the fans are just practical, it saves on expensive electricity bills in the summer. Maybe we’re just old-fashioned though…

  • JG

    Wow – a lot of caustic comments on here today. I don’t think the items he mentioned are nearly as common as they were twenty or so years ago. And it’s an opinion, at least he took the time to compile a list. Take a deep breath and remember, the lists aren’t personal. And it’s national margarita day, maybe a few of you should indulge and relax.

  • King of Spades

    Playing cards should definitely not be at #2, or even on this list for that matter. I teach at an elementary school and the kids there still love playing War and other card games.

  • Lifeschool

    I remember most of these and still have a ‘poof’ today – looking at it right now. I’ve used it everyday for resting my legs on while watching TV since I got ahold of one like 15 years ago when someone was throwing one out. It’s real leather too. As for the rest, I still have a landline phone you have to stand next to in order to have a conversation (don’t like mobiles, poor reception, expensive, can get lost/stolen easily). What else? Seasonal decorations – I haven’t bothered with those since leaving home. My TV is a standing TV connected to an arial on the roof. It’s an old 28″ CRT – does the job just fine! My mom had one of those footpedal old sewing machines – I guess it would be worth a fortune now. You used to be able to fould it down inside itself and use the cabinet as a table. I guess you could be said knitting, bobbins, and needles and threads too. Never had window fans or storm screens here in the UK. Never been a card fans – not even Top Trumps. As for burn barrels I guess I see your point – although still very common in India.

    In general I thought this list was crafted to serve as a nostalgia trip – and certainly read like one. I felt a little uncomfortable reading ‘Dad does this, Mom does that’ in such a steriotypical way (I come from a one parent family) – but then I guess that’s just political correctness having tainted my views. Besides that, Dads LIKE doing all those DIY jobs often much more than women do.

    • skeptomatik

      Our “poof” sat right next to the 21 inch screen but six foot long Zenith TV !

  • hmm

    this person probably misses segregation

  • Dickon

    You know what I don’t see that often? Articles on the internet that are actually well researched and written.

    Instead we get something like this, and individual’s impression which he generalizes to everyone, everywhere.

    Get a clue.

  • Meg

    Is it bad that I’m 24 and can find these things around my home and my grandparents home? I’m starting to appreciate the south more because these items are still used by people here, even the most modern southerner has had a “Burn Barrel” for some reason or another. Time really is slower in the south.

    • Lalala

      I agree. I’m 20 and from the South, and I would never consider some of these things even outdated, much less “nearly extinct.” The only difference I can think of is that we don’t use a “burn barrel,” just a pit behind the house. I’ve lived in houses without AC. Furthermore, I would guess that this list mostly represents upper middle class suburban Americans more than the experience I have heard of in the rural South. My mom grew up without a house phone, and she didn’t buy one for her mother until well into the eighties. I grew up using TV trays and playing cards. I don’t even understand why sewing machines would be dying out, just less common, with the price and quality of clothing being much lower than it was in the past. Now I’m just rambling. Anyway, I definitely agree that the South moves a little more slowly, and I don’t think that I would want it any other way.

  • Tait

    Thankfully my family still has a farm so I get to see a Burn Barrel all the time. We are also lucky enough to have an outdoor homemade spit – an old furnace with one quarter cut out the side and a very long metal rod, this bad by makes the best turkey I’ve ever had.

  • Justbeingsilly

    I eat my food on tv trays, my mom insists on putting up decorations, I play with decks of cards all the time, I have a standing tv and I have a sewing machine! Does that mean I’m vintage? WAHOO! ;)

  • Britni

    I still have a sewing machine and home phone. Playing cards is great and I can’t live without a floor fan, I like the white noise. I have a cellphone but it’s just as useless as almost everything on this list since technology evolved so rapidly.

  • Maggot

    That’s a poor picture for item #10 Table Trays, and isn’t representative of what Pat is describing in the entry. As some have already mentioned, they are actually called “TV Trays”, typically used for, obviously, eating dinner in front of the television set instead of at the dinner table. You know, since there was no streaming media internet or DVRs or anything like that, you had to actually watch your favorite TV shows right when they aired, or else wait six months later to try and catch it during summer re-runs. So if that conflicted with dinner time, well what else could you do? Refrain from watching the “idiot box” altogether and actually engage in an enjoyable family mealtime discussion about the happenings of the day? Pshaw…

    Here is a much better picture of what these tacky things really look like:

    Other than that, it’s a pretty amusing list, though yeah some of these things are still commonly used today.

    • skeptomatik

      I remember eating Swanson TV dinners on those tables!

  • Ashley

    This list is so wrong, I see almost all of these things all the time, including in my own house… and I’m only 24 years old. Waste of time reading this

    • Evan

      I want to marry you.

  • Erin

    I was born in 1982 and we had family stamp licking parties! I remember my fingers being green…I wonder where my parents got those stamps, they weren’t handing them out at the grocery store. I have also told my 8 year old son about storm windows and our 2 window A/C units that Dad would only turn on when HE said so! Ha! Saturday morning cartoons are another thing that gone away, my son can’t even imagine having to wait for cartoons to come on!

    P.S. We eat at table trays sometimes, they are pretty nice, from Target. I also use my mom’s old sewing machine that is older than me!

  • Bill

    VCR’s, DVD’s and cassette players should be on this list.

  • Ariel

    I was expecting things like VCR players, cassette tapes, landlines and things of the like. Not TV trays or poufs…or barrels…

    I mean, playing cards? Of all things?

  • Spaz

    I have 4 table trays. They are nicer than the picture that you have. Also, you have got to be kidding about playing cards. I have 4 decks and my kids have a few decks each for children games. Most of my friends play poker at each other homed each month. Go to just about any store in Southern California and they have cards near the registers. Maybe the list should be called Top 10 Nearly Extinct Household Items on my Block.

  • Crimsyn

    These items are commonplace in New England. I’ve seen or used every one, and I’m not old.

  • P-Oed_tenant

    Some of the items go in and out, depending on the current fashions, such as the hassock. Others, such as wall-phones, are truly obsolete (in a day when most people have some type of portable/cell phone.)

    I wish your statement about the windows wasn’t a hasty generalization, though. In the apartment building where I live, the 52 year old aluminum single-pane windows are still intact, though more or less, falling apart. My landlord looked into replacing them last year, but found it would cost a whopping $30,000 to do the whole building. (“Can’t afford it!”) Never mind the fact that the building was totally paid for, for the past 35 years, and that my landlord rakes in $1,000,000 in rent EVERY 5.4 years, for the 12 units in this building–yes, that’s one million dollars! (Since the building, itself, dates from 1928, and was purchased in 1960, the landlord is covered under the old California tax structure and only pays about $2,000 per year in total property taxes. )

    But, I digress….

    Interesting list, or at least an interesting concept for a list.

  • MyTwoCents

    The onle one I really wanted to see on here was ‘egg beater’ :) I haven’t seen one of those things in ages!

    I still have a sewing machine.. and screens on my windows… and tv tables… and OF COURSE playing cards. Maybe it means I’m way out of date?

  • vicsick

    I’ve never seen a tray table, although everyone in the 80s used to have nested occasional tables which you hardly ever see now. Nor have I ever seen a storm screen – although I put that down to living in the UK.

    However, I still have a sewing machine as do more than half of my friends and relatives. I mean, I don’t make clothes like my mum used to but it’s great for crafts and making or altering curtains. I don’t think they are rare yet! We also have seasonal decorations, too, especially for Yule and at Halloween. We put out the corn dolly at harvest time, and eggs in the spring. We also play cards a lot still. I play poker and sh*thead with my grown up son and his friends, patience and snap with my little one and rummy round the family dinner table with the oldies.

    Nailed it with the others, though. My nan collected book after book of Green Shield stamps – I’d forgotten about them! When I was a kid, everyone’s parents had a fondue set and a rumtopf. They must have been a 70s craze. I wish they would come back!

  • Darren

    sewing machines and playing cards, come on these are still common items.

  • veve

    i have more than half that stuff xD weird

  • skeptomatik

    I used to hate dialing phone numbers that had a lot of nines and zeroes in them!

    • lawn

      Yeah, my best friend’s phone number was ##9-9989. It was quicker to walk over there and talk.

  • lawn

    That was fun. In fact, I’m typing this on a TV tray. I, too, can remember when, back in the 60’s, they said TVs would someday be flat and hang on the wall. They also said we’d have flying cars by now too, though.

    This makes up for yesterday’s mega stupid list.

  • Stacey

    What sort of idiot are you. How did you come up with this list?
    Get a life. You need to get out more.

  • Shan

    Most of these items are still common in households… Might want to do better research next time.. Just saying.

  • lord119

    i have 8 of those things in this very room i have 6 of the 8

  • theDogter

    This is a horrible list. The only thing on the list that is actually going extinct is the home phone and even then not really. Re-design dosen’t mean extinction. I really feels like this list was written by some smug rich snob who chooses not to see whats there or when he does thinks its so out of date that those unfortunate fools who still own them are too beneath him to count.

    • segues

      The home phone will still be used as long as cell reception is not absolutely universally available. By that I mean, it isn’t able to be received in some places where the geography or the immediate surroundings prevent the signal from being received. Someday, soon, that won’t be a problem, but it still is in some areas.

  • tastless

    This list is way too american

    • Scott

      Good for you

  • Dan

    I agree with most of these. To some of the other commenters: It isn’t that they’re extinct, it’s that they’re no longer something the younger generations go out and buy for their home. I have yet to see any of my friends put a folding table or TV trays on their wedding registry, but they’re almost ubiquitous in households over the age of 40.

    The one thing I dissagree with is storm windows. I work for a construction company and I see tons of the things, they’re even sold modern-day as a way to improve energy efficiency without the 10k plus cost of new double or triple-pane windows.

  • Eanor

    All you have to do is go into a Michael’s or Hobby Lobby to see that seasonal decs are alive and well. Here in IN, fans, decks of cards, and sewing machines are very well-used. Get on the Internet for tutorials (Pinterest) and you’ll see more people than ever are sewing.

  • Ellie

    Wow reading this list really brought back memories. My mum still does sewing, making me outfits, hair pieces and even knitting. But then I’m only in my 20s, but I remember when we finally got stailite tv, we were a hit in the neighbourhood. I also remember when we first got cordless telephones, it all seemed really high tech back then. But now, I agree that we are moving too fast, maybe to fast for our own good.

  • Scott

    Amazing how people can’t comprehend. He was not saying that screens are becoming extinct; he’s saying how having to switch out storm and screen windows are.

  • livestellar

    Seasonal decorations? Whaaat? With all of the DIY blogs and etsy, people are making and displaying all kinds of seasonal things.

  • We still have tv trays, and wal mart and JC Penney still sell them (along with bed bath and beyond), fans are every where, even homes with ac have fans because they circulate the cool air. poof thingies were always used to crash on when stoned. AND BURN BARRELS here are everywhere, as well as fire pits.

  • Cat

    We still have TV trays, floor fans, a sewing machine, and playing cards are a must in this house. We still have poker games. And, we still have a table rotary phone that works(granted it’s for more for decorative purposes as our house line is mainly for a heart monitor). And up until a few years ago, we had a console TV. I don’t think most items on this list are nearly extinct as much as they just aren’t as common.

  • polishkingski


  • Jeo

    What a stupid list.

  • V

    I install the satellite dish myself. If your signal drops when it rains… guess what? It’s poorly installed of course. It should not do that. NEVER. Also, the cable might not be correctly protected and water that gets inside the cable might run all the way to the receiver and even cause a fire, aside from bad reception lol because the cable actually runs like a capillary for water.
    So get out there and fix it…. that if, of course….. you’re a man!

  • ela

    In California, don’t really need the storm windows. We still use window screens!

  • segues

    Some of these items are rare, perhaps. The S&H green stamps, no longer around, were something I remember from growing up. My mum always had book after book of stamps and got some great stuff with them.
    We have two sets of the wooden tray tables. Those are handy items!
    Screens are necessary, and not just because we live in the woods. How else do keep insects from flying inside? Or birds? Even with screens, because we sometimes leave the window or door open a bit too long, a lizard or frog will come inside!!! Without screens I’d be sharing a house with all sorts of critters.
    When I was a kid we had an incinerator. It was a big cement oven in the backyard. All the burnable trash, as well as leaves and other garden stuff, would be burned on our burn day. L.A. did ban burning, finally.
    Most of the other items are still in use, to some degree, depending on the area of the country.

  • Scott

    I have never had an issue with any of the lists on this site but this list just seems bizarrely out of touch. No TV trays, no window fans, no playing cards, no storm and screen windows? These are all very common in the area of Minneapolis where I live. Maybe not in the suburbs but I guess this list shows the specific environment in which the author lives…

  • ameerjeff

    this is a very western list, you need to realize that somehow you have made a site which has international appeal, kindly start acting like it and making lists which appeal to all masses or name lists accordingly.

  • sami71290

    I live in the Washington, DC area and my mom has a Singer sewing machine (she’s practically a seamstress), we have a wall phone, my brother and I play cards all the time, I use window fans/ACs in college (very common in all dorms), and I have a table tray in my dorm room along with a pouf. I don’t think these are anywhere near extinct.

    • DocBrown

      You’re just behind the times

  • k.quadra

    What a waste of time! How did you even made this on listverse and can somebody please mark this in top 10 wackiest listverse lists?

  • Iggystar

    Well, some of these items are still staples in my home and the homes of those I know. Eating in the living room, table tray. We still play cards. My mother just sewed an dress the other day and my daughter took her first sewing class recently. Before it’s too hot in the summer, we use a window fan for a cool breeze.

  • k.quadra

    What a waste of time! How did you even made this here and can somebody please mark this number 1 in top ten wackiest lists of listverse?

  • alicia

    i agree. I thinkthey only got a couple of the things correct. The rest i have in my house now, and don’t see them going in the near future…. complete failure of a list!

  • asdss

    piece of shit list …. listverse WTF????

  • Aliquot

    Where the heck does the author live that people don’t open their windows when the weather is nice? Majority of people I know use open windows and fans in the summer until the heat becomes unbearable, and only then do they turn the AC on…if they have it. Author makes it sound like everyone these days just goes straight from heat to air conditioning.

  • Ruth

    Well, I saw a lot of these things as a kid–but you still see a lot of stuff like this in the South, and it’s being used! (I had an old bw Zenith as a teenager, used it as a table in my room.) As for sewing machines, what planet are you from? There are a lot of girls, and guys, who sew. It’s more popular now than it has been in years. And yes, there are a lot of burn barrels around still being used, but it’s definitely out of the city where you see them. And cards? Really? Most people still have decks around. We even used them to teach our kids counting and other games. Guess it’s mostly older folks using, landlines, but I still prefer them to cell phones. Though I actually have both!

  • Christine Vrey

    I tent to like your lists, but this one was sadly dissapointing…. We have a sewing maching for shortening pants and such, AC but still floor fans aswell, Cards are a must have for drinking games and poker, a wall telephone, and get this, Fax =P… It isnt just because I live in Africa, its because they are still usefull items to be had… More things that I grew up with in the 90’s are extinct now, than it seemss, the thing you grew up wit in the 60’s and 70’s. No more floppys, no more cassetes, no more walkmans, no more video players, no more sega carteradge consoles, no more dailup, no more good music =P Im sure there are many things that you could have used that that are allot more “extinct” than the ones listed, especially things you cannot buy anymore, which would of course add to there endangered status – Those circular photo viewer glasses, platforms for men, records, hairy women in porn ect

  • sporenut

    In Singapore, Burn barrels are still very common., and it is exactly as seen in the picture above. They are used by some religions for burning talismans or offerings for the dead, and they are everywhere during the Lunar seventh month, also known as Hungry Ghost Festival (where ghost are released from the gates of hell to roam the Earth).

  • mersch

    Almost every house in Australia has a fly screen. Although usually we keep them up all year because Australia.

  • tintreas

    I don’t own any of these. Or indeed any tv or home phone! Thank god for the internet.

  • I’m seeing alot of things we’ve had in my household not long ago that went in the last ten years. Some things still there. My dad brags that he was the first to get a color tv on his street

  • John

    This is the worst list since…. well, since the other day.. but still!

  • narmin

    I really enjoyed this list

  • Meghan

    I remember an episode of The Brady Bunch when the kids were fighting over what to get with the stamps. The girls wanted a sewing machine, and I forget what the boys wanted, but they ended up compromising on a tv. My mother still decorates for every holiday, even Valentine’s Day.

  • acc

    I’m guessing #10 is an end table, not a tv tray.

  • Bones

    Like another poster, I thought this list was a bit insulting too. Playing cards are quite common among kids and adults. Kids in schools play card games all the time at lunch! Screens – how are window screens obsolete? How else are you going to keep bugs and pests out? Unless you never open a window… Fans? Everyone has fans. Sewing machines? Seriously?

    So, basically, the author insinuated people that don’t live like he does are living obsolete. I think that’s what I found insulting. Hog wash. OK, Hog Wash might be obsolete.

    • vanowensbody

      If you got that impression from reading my list I apologize. I never meant what I wrote to be judgmental or insulting.

  • vanowensbody

    I seldom respond to comments on my lists but one theme of criticism here has been that these things are not extinct. I agree, I never said they were. The title of the list is “nearly” extinct household items. Perhaps a better choice of wording would have been “going” extinct.

    And, yes, I have some of these items in my house. I’d have a burn barrel out back if my Municipality allowed it. My point is, my parents generation had ALL of these things, and today, in US households, you see less and less of them. Like many things, they slowly go away because they are no longer fashionable, people lose the skill set to use them, they are no longer functional, the company is no longer in business, they have been banned, or technology and innovation have provided better alternatives.

    I think people my age (52) who grew up in the US suburbs during the 1950’s-1980’s understand the point of my list. It was to be nostalgic and fun, not a serious list (like I usually write – people burning alive and what not).

    And I really do miss burn barrels.

    • carpedog

      here is what you said that was ridiculous:

      “almost all TV sets today hang on the walls” and “with central air-conditioning being almost universal now”

      I don’t know where you live but I only know two people with central air and only one person with a wall-mounted TV.

      • segues

        seize the dog? Really?

    • segues

      I like the list. It’s a nice bit of nostalgia for you, and for many, even if it isn’t accurate everywhere. No list will please everyone.

  • tchudson

    Let’s see… I see tray tables all the time. We own a sewing machine, as do a number of people I know. Nearly everyone where I live has a window fan as few people have air conditioning (I do live at 7000′ in Colorado, though), and I don’t know how many packs of playing cards we have.

  • chunky

    How about the Gramophone?

  • chunky

    Too Ameracanized. How about gramophone, typewriter,tape recorder, stamps, old cash register that sounds cashinggg, and also I almost forgot:moral.

  • HMK

    Wow, this list seems to have pissed some people off and elicited some … unpleasant … comments. I enjoyed the list, brought back some fun memories, especially the visits to the S&H Greenstamps store! I didn’t read through all the comments but I’d also add transistor radios (we have a couple ourselves!) and those slightly-foggy clear vinyl covers people used to entomb their sofa and chairs in (remember those?). We never had them but we knew people who did. One still sat at the very edge of the chair since the inference of those plastic covers was that the furniture really should not be sat upon at all!

  • chunky

    Too Ameracanized. How about gramophone, typewriter,tape recorder, stamps, old cash register that sounds cashinggg, and also I almost forgot:morale.

  • chunk

    Too Ameracanized. How about gramophone, typewriter,tape recorder, stamps, old cash register that sounds cashinggg, and also I almost forgot:morale.


    We have a wall phone, a stand up TV, at least 5 decks of cards, a sewing machine, and pretty much everything else…

  • Cheese

    I have to say that I may be part of the new and horribly uncultured generation, but I have many of these items in my house. The wall phone and standing tv are outdated and so we don’t have either but being from a primarily agricultural county, we have nearly all the other things on the list. My mom decorates for each holiday and both her and my sister own sewing machines. Cards a re a must have. We play euchre, texas hold em and smear constantly. We have one table tray that is in very poor condition though. We have a burn barrel that gets use and we have screened storm windows. Actually we have some original windows in our home that are nearly 100 years old and are actually wavey from years of sitting there. Have some faith in our generation. Some of us still cling to the old values and customs. My kids will all know how to play euchre and will have a respect for the “good ole days” like I do. I find I’m a rare individual among my peers but there are others like me I hope.

  • SheilaPairADice

    Great list, what a wonderful trip down memory lane. Growing up in the mid 70’s-early 80’s in the Midwest we had all these items in our house! BTW I still put up seasonal decorations and I do own a sewing machine although I haven’t used it for years!

  • Mabel

    I have a tray (although a plant is sitting on it right now), a window fan for nice days, a sewing machine (to make skating dresses–I skate and I can’t afford the readymade ones), a wall phone in case the power goes out (I can only afford DSL so I need a landline), and some cards around here somewhere.

    My TV is modern and I have other electronics. I’m old enough to remember console TVs but not the ones that had to warm up. My parents did have a little portable black-and-white TV, though. Some stuff lasts forever, like Tupperware. Remember THAT????

  • emilyhemily

    Still play card games, nearly everyone I know has a burn bin, poofs in the lounge room and we have fly screens for the summer, as it gets pretty hot here in aus!

  • Allison

    So the fact that stores dedicate entire aisles (or departments) to fans in the warmer months is proof that they’re nearly-extinct? Why not the VCR? The turntable? Answering machines?

  • Marianne

    I think the hassock things are supposed to be called poufés, though in Wiltshire (UK) where I’m from, the grandparents called it a puffy xD

  • officedog

    This should be called “a list of things I haven’t seen in a while, but that’s because I live alone in a basement”. Most of these things are used every day by lots of people.

  • UnderSure

    This sounds more like a list of things and old person is afraid has been lost to time, when in actuality they’re almost all fairly common objects. Old tv’s aren’t household items anymore because they’re OLD!
    I didn’t realize ranting about things you’re nostalgic for counted as a list.

  • Mohan

    In response to all the ingrates who have critisized this article, I have something to tell the author…good job…good in the sense that you made an effort to actually put down some things that you miss…it is not your fault if others are still stuck with those things…I am not from the US (am an Indian), but a few things mentioned here, such as tv sets with antennaes and wall telephones stuck a chord with me. Don’t mind all those who play spoilsport. Its a nice dose of nostalgia.

  • I think the title should be changed to “ten things I don’t usually see in my little American neighborhood in the middle of the city anymore”

    I could go on and on about how many people still have cards and enjoy a good poker game, or own a sewing machine for crafting and such, but I’ll just point out one thing.

    You shouldn’t really keep your AC turned on all day even in summer. That’s both waste of energy and bad for your health. Sometimes a cool breeze is much better, and screen window definitely helps keeping bugs away.

    Also, almost every Canadian house/apartment has a screen window installed, even if it has state-of-the-art central air conditioning system.

  • ANL

    where i live, deep south texas, ppl still have window screens, but the solar kind cuz it gets really hot down here in summer. it lets in the sunlight, but keeps out the heat. window units are also common as a large number of ppl are poor here and cant afford central air. burn barrels are also still common in the country. my gma has an old ass sewing maching, pastel green and still works. they also just recently got rid of there standing tv. it still works…they sold it to what we call winter texans…come down her for the winter to escape the snow storms.

  • carpedog

    “With central air-conditioning being almost universal now”.

    “almost all TV sets today hang on the walls”

    Are you kidding? On what planet do you live?

    what an idiotic list.

  • Moi

    Maybe I just live in a backwards kinda household but we still have all of these except hassocks (we never had those) and a standing tv set. I use rabbit ears to get my tv, mend my clothes on my mother’s old sewing machine, decorate for as many holidays as I can, use floor fans to move around what cool air there is in the summer, have a phone on the wall in the kitchen and a drawer full of playing cards, and there’s a burn barrel outside, waiting for the spring to clean up the downed branches. I’m not totally backwards though since I work in a high-tech job, own a smart phone, drive a new car… I just don’t get rid of the things that still work for me, just cos there’s something newer that comes along.

  • MT

    I know this list is just an OPINION list because I currently use and know a lot of people that still use most of the things on this list like:

    Seasonal decorations
    Sewing machines
    Tray tables
    Hassocks (AKA Ottomans) Who doesn’t have an ottoman in their living room or den?
    Window/Floor fans ( I have my fan on right now)
    Burn barrels (probably a Southern America thing)
    Screens ( I switch then out each season)
    Playing Cards…are you kidding me? I have 4-5 decks in my house. You can buy them at the gas station. What do you think you need to play poker with?

    This is a bad list. Try again.

  • joebecca

    Ok, I CAN’T let this go by!!! Is the list writer on crack?? First of all, hassocks, or otherwise known as ottomans are VERY common. So are seasonal decorations, sewing machines, burn barrels, and playing cards..

    With the giant surge of Texas Hold ‘Em here in the states over the last ten years, everyone I know has at least 2-3 decks of cards… Maybe the items have been updated or modernized, but besides the wall phone and tv antenna, everything on this list is still quite common and no where near going extinct. Jeez.. can’t they find someone with something interesting or accurate to write a list??? Where the fUck is JFrater???

  • fendabenda

    Meh. No mention of a vinyl record player? Besides, a deck of playing cards isn’t obsolete. No f*kking way. :)

  • joe jim

    I love the list on this site but this is a stupid list, reminds me of a list somewhere Else about tubes (electronics) which has a softer sound than digital.
    burn barrels? What upscale ritzy area do you live?
    playing cards?
    screen windows?
    they will aways be apart of the economy.
    Get in touch with the real world.

  • Robbesmith
  • Kerminainen

    Burn barrel it isn’t ever a household item. Do you live near a petroleum station? hahaha
    shit list

  • Bren

    Awesome! I too remember most if not all the items on that list.

  • Ash

    Most of these things are still found in households, except for the t.v. with antennae.

  • tommie

    oh my gosh! i forgot all about s&h green stamps! my mom let me collect all the stamps we would get from the grocery store and i saved up to get my parakeets and brand spanking new bird cage! mine you not just any old bird cage….a brass barred one! LOL! boy, that was the good ole’ days….

  • jbjr

    My neighbor has a burn barell. Transistor radios and record player counsoles seem to be scarce.

  • JB1996

    Playing cards? How are they number two? Everyone I know has at least three packs of cards in their houses, they’re still very common. I’m not sure why they’re on this list, let alone at number two.

    • I can’t tell if people are just looking for a list to jump up and scream about or what but I have never seen such an outpouring of vitriol over such an innocuous thing as this list. He says ‘nearly’ extinct, not extinct and for a lot of them, if you say it’s not true your either lying so you can be a jerk to the guy or you’re just not paying attention.

      I own cards too. Pinochle as well. It’s harder and harder to find a pinochle game. Kids and families do not grow up playing cards the way we used to. They play video games. Do I never, ever, ever play cards anymore? No. But I play a lot less than I used to because not as many people do that anymore.

      Wall phones? There are a lot less of them. That’s all he’s saying. Do I know people who have one? Yes, I do. But it’s more and more rare to find them in someone’s house anymore.

      Burn barrels? With the advent of greater ecological consciousness and denser populations, there are less of them. That’s all he’s saying. Does that mean that no one has them or they have disappeared from American life? No. But there’s fewer and that number is going to keep decreasing. (Me, I don’t really care but you see less of them.)

      I could go on but why bother? A lot of you all just seem to want spew bile.

      What is it, you have no place else to vent your frustrations? And pay attention to the tone and wording of the list more, if you just can’t wait to jump all over someone’s case. Man.

  • popsnorman

    My mum is only in her earky 40’s and she has a hand crank Singer sewing machine they are still around but they are not common to say the least.

  • bob

    Um, I have decorations, playing cards, a hassock, screen windows, and I know several people with wall telephones and sewing machines.

  • Emily

    My parents have all but maybe two of these :) makes me happy.

  • G.H.O.S.T.

    Still rocking storm/screen windows, playing cards, floor fans, and the burn barrel over here, but this list definitely got me thinking about things that used to be common in my home, but aren’t any longer (I was born in 1983, by the way).

    Radio/tape player/CD player:

    I’m actually listening to my iPod on its speaker dock right now. I listen to all of my albums that way now, instead of CDs that played until they got to that certain track that would make the CD skip and throw the experience off track. The way I (and millions of others) listen to music has changed.

    Alarm clock:

    This was very common back in my elementary school days. That annoying buzzing was my cue to get up and remember where I left my book bag. Now I use the alarm on my cell phone to know when to rise and get ready for work. This actually works better, because freak power outages no longer make me late!

    Coffee filters: I’m not sure who came up with the idea of including a re-usable coffee filter in the coffee maker I currently possess, but sweet crap it rules.

    I’m not saying any of these items have gone extinct or anything. I was just thinking about how common those particular items were to me and others in my household, but can no longer be found in my house. It’s interesting how technology changes little things like that over time.

    • segues

      G.H.O.S.T. “…I’m not sure who came up with the idea of including a re-usable coffee filter in the coffee maker I currently possess, but sweet crap…”

      One of those gold mesh filters?
      Those are wonderful! They keep the coffee so clean tasting it’s amazing. I love mine.

  • Anonymous

    Too American! :P

  • Joe

    Not really a bad list, but definitely a very opinionated and naive one. I think Listverse was really reaching with this one, but entertaining nonetheless.

  • yeahme

    You need to look at the calender to know what month it is ? FAIL

  • Rachel

    We still use the burn barrels daily.

  • Grunnada

    I do not know where you get your info, but,the only thing on your list that is extinct are the green stamps. Everything else is something that myself and most people I know, still use quite frequently. In fact, I proudly own and use a Wringer Washer for the cleansing of cloth based goods and I use a Clothesline to dry them. I also sew a lot of the stuff we use in our household, thus I use a Sewing Machine. TV trays – still in use here. Same with analog tv with good old rabbit ears, Only get 3 channels but who needs more when you have a computer.
    Honestly. Do that list over. Add yourself to it cos your p.o.v. is extinct.

  • Mai

    Reblogged this on Mai's Blog.

  • Luis

    This is a very nostalgia-inducing list, and I’m not even that old. I’m not even a United Statesman. I do remember my aunts bought a 50 ft. coil up phone cord because the phone was in the living room, and when it rang, they would answer it and take the receiver into their room and slam the door. I remember seeing the white cord running the length of the house; my sisters and cousins and I would tug on them until we got screamed at from behind a closed door, then we would run off screaming and laughing. :)

  • Jessica H

    I really enjoyed this list! It made me smile, it’s always nice to have a little reminder of the simple things in life that we never give a thought to, and eventually they are gone.

  • oregonmade

    I enjoyed this list and it did make me feel a bit nostalgic. I don’t not think many of these items are becoming extinct but the list did bring back a lot of memories. My Mom was a huge decorator and mainly did so for the fun of it for us kids and now her grand kids. I remember the first time I tuned into a color television set, it was probably around 1969 or 1970 and I watched The Wonderful World of Disney and was just amazed at all the beautiful colors of the opening sequence. I also remember our first used color television and how the color was off a bit and everything had a “green” hue to it but was happy with it none the less. We had an external television antennae on the roof that captured a signal off of the local community “translator” and had four fuzzy channels, we were so excited when they added a fifth! It was a battle every year to raise the outside antennae higher due to the trees growing and blocking the reception. My family had that exact same telephone in the same color and it was the only one in the house. The cord on that ugly, avocado green phone was stretched to the limit because to get any privacy you had to go into the bathroom to talk. A burn barrel we had but I lived rural so we also had burn piles, we had to get a permit for (and still do). I also remember filling in the green stamp books and thinking of the neat stuff we could get with them. Items on the list might not be extinct but it was nostalgic to me! Thanks!

  • Sasha

    I’m 26, and the only thing I haven’t seen are the stamps! You can still find those things… minus the tv set, everyone has a plasma or something…

  • Seshy

    uh, yeah, completely disagree with most of these. i still have almost all items on this list in my home, including a wall phone and a standing TV set. not because I can’t afford the other things that have replaced them, either. sad, sad list.

    • I don’t get people’s acid about this list. You may have a standing TV set with antennae. But you wouldn’t say there are fewer? A lot fewer? You wouldn’t say there are far, far fewer wall phones than there used to be even ten years ago? Really? Do you really, really believe that just as many families play cards as in they did in the Fifties? Or, with the advent of video games, internet, Netflix, etc., the explosion of media in general, wouldn’t you say people play cards way less often than they used to?

  • barry

    hey the classic playing cards is still common

  • stevey

    i have very few of these but rember most of them i dot even have a phone in my house anymore just cellphones

  • Laura

    Where on Earth are you living? We still have most of those things and use them. In Ontario we put winter tires on the cars as well as storm doors and windows on the house. The doors and windows are year round.

    I got my sewing machine as a wedding present. I make holiday and seasonal decorations on it. I tend to hand sew when I’m doing little things like buttons, badges and mending. I was also given a great fan which does sit on the floor (now and then I put it on a table – even a TV tray/ table). We had a burn barrel at our last house – this one is not allowed due to being closer to the neighbours.

    We play cards almost every week. We use TV trays because it’s nice to watch TV when there are usually only one or two people at home.

  • jane

    This list is very inaccurate.

  • Robyn

    ???? My family has everything except ottomans, analogue TV, burn barrels, and S&H Green Stamps. I am not poor. We have a plasma, AC, a heated inground pool (kept no lower than 85 during swimming season), a housekeeper, family doctor, a pool table/ping pong table, an air hockey table, two satellite dishes, two PVR’s, and we also own a condo in Florida.

  • uhhh ok

    FOOTRESTS are still around and it depends on fashion. I have floor fans because I enjoy listening to them when I fall to sleep and have since I was a child, who doesn’t have playing cards? Looking at oak tray tables right now, and also decorate for Christmas and fourth of July so pppphhhhffffffttttttt

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  • Chloe-cheesypancakes

    Sorry, for a minute I thought you’d written Non-US English??? Oh wait, you did. That’s more commonly known as English. It’s a language originating in England and is ours, your ‘language’ is US English or Americanised English. Come on, Anglophobe.

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  • Susan

    Ha!! We must be old fashioned!! Not only do we have table trays (we call them TV trays) we have a rotary dial phone, always have playing cards and living in the country, we have a regulary use, our burn barrel.

  • Birdy

    I have a sewing machine and standing television, but that’s about it.

  • Good list! Fun. never had a burn thing though- but one thing I do miss are answering machines (too modern?) liked the antenna one, but guess what- more and more are ditching pay TV and going the antenna route. Good ones are not cheap, either

  • Ted

    Extinct?! Then why we still have all of it? Except for the television and burn barrel.
    This list will be more interesting in the year 2112, I think.