Science Technology 8 Technology Revolutions That Are Now Relics By Staff Author Updated December 02, 2019 Share Twitter Pinterest Email Science Space Natural Science Technology Agriculture Energy Remember me? Photo: hdboy88/Flickr [CC by Before iPods, BlackBerrys and laptops became part of our plugged-in culture, there was a host of gizmos and gadgets that set our tech-fueled fever alight. When Sony shuttered widespread production of the Walkman in April of this year, it sent a nostalgic shockwave through our system, reminding us of all the forgotten technologies that once reigned supreme. Whether it's the VCR, Polaroid camera or — if you're brave enough to admit it, the eight-track cassette — here’s a look back at eight mainstream technologies that have since become obsolete. This article originally appeared on WomansDay.com and is republished here with permission. LaserDisc Collin Allen/Flickr. A precursor to the DVD, the LaserDisc emerged in the early ’80s. It offered a high-quality image (especially for the time); however, its price tag kept it from dominating the American market. Even so, it was popular enough to be in 2 percent of households in the 1990s. A favorite of film aficionados, LaserDiscs continued to be manufactured until January 2009. At that time, Pioneer, which had purchased a majority of the manufacturer's shares in the previous decade, killed off the product. After selling a total of 9.5 million discs worldwide, the company announced it would stop production. Floppy disk Public Domain Photos/Flickr. As the first portable storage device for personal computers, the floppy disk revolutionized home technology. It was hugely popular, becoming a fixture for tech-savvy Americans throughout the 1980s and 1990s. But then, as rewritable CDs, thumb drives and zip drives surfaced, the floppy disk — and its limited storage space — became less and less useful. Between the early ’70s and 2000s, manufacturers tried to make the disks more appealing for users, going from a disk that was 8 inches with a 1.5-megabyte capacity to 3 1/2 inches with 150–200 megabyte capacity. Despite the advancements, it wasn’t enough. Apple removed the floppy disk drive from its iMac in 1998 and Dell followed suit in 2003, officially rendering the disks outdated. VHS and VCR reuvenim/Flickr. The advent of the VCR in 1976 was monumental. It revolutionized the film industry and brought movies home to the masses via the VHS tapes it played. The VCR hit its peak in the late ’80s and early ’90s, when the price tag — at first in the thousands — dropped into the low hundreds and became much more affordable. Its popularity declined in the late ’90s, however, as other electronic devices emerged — namely, the DVD player. In October 2005, "A History of Violence" was the last major Hollywood release to be made in the VHS format; three years later, JVC, the last manufacturer of VCRs, ceased production. Music cassette tape Scorpions and Centaurs/Flickr. First introduced in the 1960s, the audio cassette (a.k.a. tape) was a small, portable magnetic sound-recording device that became a popular way to listen to music in the 1980s and 1990s. Whether you bought prerecorded albums or made your own "mix tapes," everyone was playing tunes at home, in the car, or even walking down the street with a boom box in hand. The cassette was the primary way to listen to music until it was overshadowed by CDs in the 1990s. The tapes were discontinued by major music labels in 2005. Though still produced in China, they’ve become an archaic technology for most of the music-loving market. Original Polaroid instant camera Arty Smokes (deaf mute)/Flickr. First introduced in 1948, the Polaroid instant camera, which developed photos within minutes of snapping a picture, was a miraculous invention for its time. By 1978, the product was a widespread novelty and only grew in popularity through the ’90s. But as digital cameras — with their fast, high-quality viewfinders — became the norm, Polaroid cameras stopped seeming so instant. In early February 2008, Polaroid Corporation announced plans to discontinue production of its instant film, the year after it had stopped producing its instant cameras. In the ensuing months there was a surprising backlash. Polaroid took note, and in January 2010, the company rolled out a new line of instant cameras with mini photos for the digital age. Eight-track RuffLife/Flickr. Despite the coexistence of the four-track, with its superior sound quality, the eight-track tape was the technology that seized America’s attention in the ’60s and ’70s. The precursor to the cassette tape, the eight-track was a magnetic tape sound-recording device for luxury cars that was introduced by the Ford Motor Company in 1965. Its popularity soared, leading to the development of the home eight-track player in 1966. By 1967, all Ford vehicles offered an eight-track tape-player option. By the late 1970s and 1980s, however, the cassette tape became a more popular music source and eight-track cartridges began to disappear from store shelves. By 1988, the last eight-tracks were released by major music labels. And while some artists have released collectors' eight-tracks since then, the format has otherwise been rendered obsolete. Carousel slide projectors rosefirerising/Flickr. Introduced by Kodak in 1961, the carousel slide projector was a popular way to view photographic slides in large-scale full color. A circular tray was filled with upside down and backward 35mm slides and mounted on a base that would then invert and project the images onto a screen. The creation of the projector resulted in the “slideshow” — a popular fixture for professionals as well as home parties. Projectors were extremely common in the 1960s and 1970s, but, given the rise of digital media, slowly declined in popularity until Kodak discontinued the product in 2004. Ditto machine firexbrat/Flickr. Before there were photocopiers, scanners and printers, there was the Ditto Machine (a.k.a. spirit duplicator), produced by the Illinois-based Ditto Corporation. Originally introduced in 1923, the Ditto Machine was a printing method that transferred ink onto a master copy made of smooth, waxy paper. An alcohol-based fluid (hence "spirit") was then applied to transfer the image to a copy. Primarily used by schools and churches, the Ditto became less and less commonplace as other copying technologies were brought to market. Its decline began in the 1970s, and by the mid 1990s, the Ditto was virtually extinct — although it can still be found on rare occasions, its appeal being that it does not require electrical power to run.