Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Old Stuff That Still Works

 

Many things we buy turn out to be a bad investment. We get little in return for the money we spend. Other times, we do better. My Dad cooks his breakfast every morning in a cast iron skillet which has been in our family for around 150 years. It shows no sign of wearing out. Whoever paid 50 cents (or whatever) for that pan in the mid-late 1800s got their money’s worth.

In my house, we have a few things like that. For example, this clothes hanger that came with the dry cleaning. Apparently a long time ago, because the business phone number is “Westhampton 1019.” We still use it every day. Whoever paid for dry cleaning that day got their money’s worth.

How many of you have one of these teapots in your house? I don’t know how old it is. My wife says it’s just always been around. I use it every morning to boil water for my coffee (I use a French press). Every morning. How much water has this little pot boiled over the years?

We also have old furniture and pictures of course, but it’s the little doodads that are old, inexpensive, and unremarkable that I find fascinating, for some reason. If only they could talk – the stories they could tell. I’m using them without thinking of them, just like many of my relatives who died long before I was born.

I love my new cell phone, my new laptop, and my spiffy new car.

But I love my old stuff too. Can’t help it.

Do you have any old doodads that you still use?

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There are 61 comments.

  1. Randy Webster Member

    My wife has some clothespins that her mother owned. They’re the spring-loaded kind, not the older ones without springs. We use them as bag clips for chips and such.

    • #1
    • November 10, 2019, at 12:08 PM PST
    • 14 likes
  2. OkieSailor Member

    I have an old toolbox full of wrenches and specialty tools that my dad bought used from a mechanics widow some 60 years ago which come in really handy from time to time. They will never wear out break nor become useless. There is also an air powered impact wrench that still works. Amazing workmanship went into thier manufacture. 

    • #2
    • November 10, 2019, at 12:27 PM PST
    • 12 likes
  3. Bruce Caward Thatcher

    I work out of town, so I don’t need a house. I live on my sailboat on weekends.

    During the winter, I bunk in my parents’ house, after seeing them off to Fla for the season. I pay all the bills for them all year, so the place stays warm and in shape through the cold, and all is well when they return in April. We have an enormous extended family (they have 18 grandchildren, and almost 50 great-grandchildren. I’ve lost count, by they haven’t.) So I also keep their place open in case any family is in town and needs a place to stay. The whole thing works out pretty well for everyone.

    Anyway, to the point: this is not the house I grew up in; I think they have moved 4 times since the 70s, always within a couple of miles though. But as I walk around this place, I can’t tell you how many of these small things you are talking about are still here, in fine shape, having survived the years and the moves. Same dishes (does Corellware ever die?), same silverware. Same dining room table and chairs. (I remember when they bought them new in 1970 or so – big investment. But they’ve lasted, unbroken, for almost 50 years. Who knew?)

    She still has some of the goofy stuff I made in shop class, and some of the painfully bad pottery I made in 10th grade.

    Welch’s or somebody used to sell jelly in shapely little jars, so you could keep them and use them as juice glasses. I thought they were nothing special in 1968, a little juice glass. 50 years later we still have about five of them. Glass doesn’t really wear out, and they work fine. I wish I knew how to insert a photo here, because I’m sure a bunch of you know exactly the glass I’m talking about.

    • #3
    • November 10, 2019, at 12:29 PM PST
    • 22 likes
  4. Jimmy Carter Member

    I’ve got a toothbrush from 1991 that still works after all these years.

    • #4
    • November 10, 2019, at 12:35 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  5. Scott Wilmot Member

    Back in Ohio I have an adze that was used in hewing the beams on our barn built in 1850. I’ve repurposed it into a grub hoe. With a bit of sharpening I’m sure it could still be used to hew a barn beam.

    • #5
    • November 10, 2019, at 12:49 PM PST
    • 14 likes
  6. Henry Castaigne Member

    My Dad has a knife that he bought in Spain, still cuts like it was crafted by Lady of the Lake. 

    • #6
    • November 10, 2019, at 1:22 PM PST
    • 11 likes
  7. Spin Coolidge

    I have a Leica M2 Rangefinder camera. They quit making them before I was born. It still works.

    • #7
    • November 10, 2019, at 1:50 PM PST
    • 15 likes
  8. Stad Thatcher

    I’m with you! I have an old coat hanger my grandfather had, and I still use it. I’ll post a pic when we get home (been on a Panama Canal cruise, will be back in Aiken tomorrow).

    • #8
    • November 10, 2019, at 1:51 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  9. EJHill Podcaster

    My wife has a useless little gadget she has kept around the house for the last 27 years. It doesn’t really do anything. It just sits there most of the time taking up space and collecting dust. She says she loves it and won’t throw it out.

    Guess I’m pretty lucky, eh?

    • #9
    • November 10, 2019, at 1:55 PM PST
    • 27 likes
  10. MarciN Member

    I have an Electrolux vacuum that is 40 years old and still works better than any other vacuum I’ve considered replacing it with.

    • #10
    • November 10, 2019, at 2:22 PM PST
    • 13 likes
  11. Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. Coolidge

    Over the last few years, as incandenscent bulbs in our house have burned out, I have been replacing them with LED bulbs. But for some reason, the clear bulbs over our bathroom mirrors are unusually long-lived: of the eight that were installed when our house was built in 1992, four are still burning. Twenty-seven years and counting. I don’t care how energy-inefficient they are, I’m in no hurry to replace those.

    • #11
    • November 10, 2019, at 2:23 PM PST
    • 12 likes
  12. She Thatcher
    She

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    My wife has some clothespins that her mother owned. They’re the spring-loaded kind, not the older ones without springs. We use them as bag clips for chips and such.

    I have some ancient clothespins too (they call them “clothes pegs” in the UK). They’re nice because they don’t fall apart like the new, snowflaky ones, which are always pinging all over the place.

    I use them for . . . wait for it . . . hanging out the washing.

    I love my old potato peeler. And sticking with the wardrobe-y theme of the post, I love my shoe trees. I love my old teapot. And my vast supply of knitting needles (which I grew up calling “knitting pins,”) some of which are pre-WWII.

    • #12
    • November 10, 2019, at 3:13 PM PST
    • 13 likes
  13. Randy Webster Member

    She (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    My wife has some clothespins that her mother owned. They’re the spring-loaded kind, not the older ones without springs. We use them as bag clips for chips and such.

    I have some ancient clothespins too (they call them “clothes pegs” in the UK). They’re nice because they don’t fall apart like the new, snowflaky ones, which are always pinging all over the place.

    I use them for . . . wait for it . . . hanging out the washing.

    I love my old potato peeler. And sticking with the wardrobe-y theme of the post, I love my shoe trees. I love my old teapot. And my vast supply of knitting needles (which I grew up calling “knitting pins,”) some of which are pre-WWII.

    Hanging out the wash is verboten in our subdivision.

    • #13
    • November 10, 2019, at 3:43 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  14. Kay of MT Member

    I gave all my grandmother’s knitting needles to my grandson’s wife. But still have every one of her crochet hooks. I have some newer hooks and the old ones are a different gauge, by a fraction. I just had a rocking chair that is over 150 years old refurbished. (new cane for seat and one rocker replaced) and my glass top dining table and chairs bought in 1975 are in excellent condition.

    • #14
    • November 10, 2019, at 3:45 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  15. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member

    Dr. Bastiat: How many of you have one of these teapots in your house? I don’t know how old it is.

    Those Corningware items with the blue design are from the late ’60s early ’70s. I still have Corningware cookware from that time. It went along with the first smooth-top electric stoves and microwave ovens. We had both…a Corning glass cooktop and a Radarange. People used to come over and watch food in the microwave.

    People pay a lot of money for old cast iron cookware.

    Stad (View Comment):
    I have an old coat hanger my grandfather had, and I still use it.

    I have two wooden hangers from the Mandarin Hotel in Hong Kong. My parents brought them back in the late ’60s. They are built like aircraft carriers. 

     

    • #15
    • November 10, 2019, at 4:26 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  16. OldPhil Coolidge

    I have the dining table my Mom and Dad received from his parents for their wedding in 1949.

    IMG_20191110_194200564.jpg

    • #16
    • November 10, 2019, at 4:55 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  17. Susan Quinn Contributor

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    I have the dining table my Mom and Dad received from his parents for their wedding in 1949.

     

    Good grief, @oldphil, that’s the year I was born. I inherited my mother’s White Sewing Machine, which she bought the same year!

    • #17
    • November 10, 2019, at 5:01 PM PST
    • 9 likes
  18. The Reticulator Member

    A few years ago I was scanning 35mm negatives that I had recently inherited, and was having trouble reading the numbers on the film strips so as to get them in the right order. I needed a magnifying glass. And then I remembered that my grandfather (born in 1887) had one. Yup, it was still in the cardboard box of his things that I inherited, along with the straight razor I remember him using in the early 50s and the safety razor he used sometime later, and his financial records from the late 20s and early 30s, letters and postcards, etc., etc. So even though it was an old-man appliance, I figured I could use it as I’m now getting close to his age when he was using it. Or maybe I’m past that age. The glass is a bit cloudy, but still good enough. It comes in handy when I’m trying to read the letters and numbers imprinted on a computer motherboard, or the tiny, shrunken manual that comes with an SSD drive, or stuff like that. 

    • #18
    • November 10, 2019, at 5:58 PM PST
    • 12 likes
  19. Al French, poor excuse for a p… Member

    I still have the “piggy” bank my father got for his (only) Christmas present when he was about six.

    And the candlestick he made in junior high shop in the early twenties.

    They both still work!

    • #19
    • November 10, 2019, at 6:17 PM PST
    • 16 likes
  20. Full Size Tabby Member

    A Tupperware orange peeler tool Mrs. Tabby got before we were married in 1981. It has been used to score and peel thousands of (mostly Navel) oranges. 

    • #20
    • November 10, 2019, at 7:11 PM PST
    • 11 likes
  21. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    My wife has some clothespins that her mother owned. They’re the spring-loaded kind, not the older ones without springs. We use them as bag clips for chips and such.

    I have some ancient clothespins too (they call them “clothes pegs” in the UK). They’re nice because they don’t fall apart like the new, snowflaky ones, which are always pinging all over the place.

    I use them for . . . wait for it . . . hanging out the washing.

    I love my old potato peeler. And sticking with the wardrobe-y theme of the post, I love my shoe trees. I love my old teapot. And my vast supply of knitting needles (which I grew up calling “knitting pins,”) some of which are pre-WWII.

    Hanging out the wash if verboten in our subdivision.

    I hate it when people air their clean laundry in public. 

    • #21
    • November 10, 2019, at 7:22 PM PST
    • 14 likes
  22. GLDIII Temporarily Essential Thatcher

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    My wife has some clothespins that her mother owned. They’re the spring-loaded kind, not the older ones without springs. We use them as bag clips for chips and such.

    I have some ancient clothespins too (they call them “clothes pegs” in the UK). They’re nice because they don’t fall apart like the new, snowflaky ones, which are always pinging all over the place.

    I use them for . . . wait for it . . . hanging out the washing.

    I love my old potato peeler. And sticking with the wardrobe-y theme of the post, I love my shoe trees. I love my old teapot. And my vast supply of knitting needles (which I grew up calling “knitting pins,”) some of which are pre-WWII.

    Hanging out the wash if verboten in our subdivision.

    You just need to know how to sell it…..

    • #22
    • November 10, 2019, at 7:33 PM PST
    • 20 likes
  23. Jules PA Member

    Stad (View Comment):

    I’m with you! I have an old coat hanger my grandfather had, and I still use it. I’ll post a pic when we get home (been on a Panama Canal cruise, will be back in Aiken tomorrow).

    I have wooden suit hangars from my grandfather. I enjoy using them, and they are sturdy!

    • #23
    • November 10, 2019, at 9:30 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  24. Jules PA Member

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    A Tupperware orange peeler tool Mrs. Tabby got before we were married in 1981. It has been used to score and peel thousands of (mostly Navel) oranges.

    I have one of those Tupperware orange peelers, and an assortment of other Tupperware from my grandmother and mom. 

    • #24
    • November 10, 2019, at 9:34 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  25. Mark Camp Member

    A gadget that’s even more useful to me than the old cast iron skillet I cook our eggs on each morning is the Heat Engine. Centuries old, still working as well as the day Sadi Carnot manufactured it from intellectual scrap lying around in his mind.

    Low maintenance–a few billion per year in STEM classes to replace worn-out brains with fresh ones.

    [2019-11-13 20:07. It’s a peculiar comment, which must have been made by a peculiar person. We know that there are four other odd people: those who “liked” it. What do these five people have in common? I don’t know, except that they’re all apparently not conventional thinkers.]

    • #25
    • November 11, 2019, at 1:54 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  26. Sandy Member

    Sears is dying, but not my 41-year-Old Kenmore freezer. It even rose from the dead after after a basement flood ten years ago. Just needed to dry out a bit.

    • #26
    • November 11, 2019, at 1:57 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  27. Skyler Coolidge

    I have had the same soap dish since 1980. A few weeks ago I was so impressed by my soap dish that I wrote an ode.

    Ode on a Soap Dish, by Skyler in October 2019
    With Apologies to John Keats

    Thou still unravish’d depository of whiteness,
    Thou foster-child of protection from waste,
    Plastic historian, who canst thus express
    A sudsy tale more completely than you’ve faced:
    What encrusted legend haunts about thy case
    Of Ivories or Dials, or Lever,
    In shower stall or in some shaving kit?
    What adventures have you joined? What brand, Receiver?
    What climate and weather? What shower place?
    What harms endured? What crusted deposit?

    When first away from home, I found you there
    At the campus bookstore, and with no thought;
    Selected you by hue, but no other care,
    And though with you there were others I bought:
    Candy bar or note pad, I can’t recall,
    There was no attraction, had no allure.
    Since that day you were tasked to hold the bar,
    To keep water from inside. Through it all
    Never failing to protect, no matter how far
    You journeyed, you were there without failure.

    And travel you did, to many locales,
    Some venues were austere, some were more lush.
    Places I’ve lived or to visit some pals
    Sometimes in service to live in the bush
    From lands of Rising Sun, Fire and Ice
    Land of El Cid and the Ivory Coast,
    Giant trees you’ve seen and mortars you’ve heard,
    Some of these places you seen more than twice.
    Sometimes alone, and sometimes with a host.
    You were tested, tried and always endured.

    Unblemished? No, heaven’s sake you were not.
    Your hinges unhinged, your latch was dislatched.
    Yet strangely kept sealed, for such was your lot.
    No need to be fixed, repaired, or dispatched
    To the trash with many other things bought
    Then and since. Strangely your lid sat in place
    It never came off, in 39 years
    Buying another was never a thought
    As soap dishes go, you were the best case
    There was none to compare, none of your peers.

    O Plastic shape! Fair attitude! with scum
    Of bathing myself. Leftover cakes
    That cover you daily, with soap that’s from
    Taking showers, with its froths and its flakes
    Service eternal: Enduring Dish!
    When old age shall this generation waste,
    Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
    Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st,
    “Soapy is truth, truth soapy, as you wish
    To know on Earth, and all ye need to know”

    No photo description available.

    • #27
    • November 11, 2019, at 3:44 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  28. Skyler Coolidge

    Sandy (View Comment):

    Sears is dying, but not my 41-year-Old Kenmore freezer. It even rose from the dead after after a basement flood ten years ago. Just needed to dry out a bit.

    My parents have a kenmore freezer that has been in constant operation (except for moves or power outages) since the mid-1960’s. When they leave this world, I will drive to Virginia to take it if my siblings don’t.

    • #28
    • November 11, 2019, at 3:47 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  29. Skyler Coolidge

    Jules PA (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    A Tupperware orange peeler tool Mrs. Tabby got before we were married in 1981. It has been used to score and peel thousands of (mostly Navel) oranges.

    I have one of those Tupperware orange peelers, and an assortment of other Tupperware from my grandmother and mom.

    My wife read that Tupperware has traces of lead so she went and threw away all the Tupperware I got from my grandmother.

    • #29
    • November 11, 2019, at 3:48 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  30. Mark Camp Member

    Skyler (View Comment):

    I have had the same soap dish since 1980. A few weeks ago I was so impressed by my soap dish that I wrote an ode.

    Ode on a Soap Dish, by Skyler in October 2019
    With Apologies to John Keats

    Thou still unravish’d depository of whiteness,

    Hoo boy. This is so good I can’t even finish it right now. My brain reels with the idea that one of us wrote it. Halfway through, that emotional reaction to the “meta-poetry” becomes a denial-of-service attack, blocking the actual reading of the poetry itself.

    Sure, I know that the poetry mostly just serves the purpose of comedy, of parody. But the meta-poetic meaning–that one of us poor Ricochet slobs had the creativity, logical powers, and education to produce it–is serious.

     

    • #30
    • November 11, 2019, at 4:20 AM PST
    • 5 likes