Electric inventions that changed our lives

When we were kids, the world was a vastly different place. Some may say it was simple but we liked it that way! That was, until electric versions of our household items were replaced! My parents couldn’t afford a TV, but when I was out of home in the early 70s, I bought a tiny little set and it was a revelation. Here’s some other things that revolutionised the way we lived, just by adding a spark to them:

Typewriter vs keyboard

My first job was as a typist for a telecommunications company and it was so enjoyable. I was in a room of typists and we just loved our job, typing away frantically on our little machines. There was no room for errors! Years after I left, they replaced all the typewriters with keyboards and computers and a little part of me was sad. We had such a camaraderie.

Vacuum cleaner

We always had an old Hoover with the bag – I sometimes tried to change it and dust would fly everywhere! While it was always electric, we now have bagless and my vacuum I have now doesn’t do as good of a job as the bagged type. With my back I can’t change the bags as easily anymore but I would prefer one like mum had if I could! That or an expensive Dyson.

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hoover dyson

Hoover image via Vintageadbrowser


I’ll always remember the whistle of the kettle on the stove early of a morning. My mum would always boil water for my dad’s tea at 6am every day using our stovetop kettle. Some friends had an electric kettle but mum never thought we needed one! It wasn’t until my 30s that I bought a nice steel one and my, did it boil water fast. I didn’t have to wait around at the stove, I could leave and come back and it was done.

kettle1 kettl2

Images via Etsy and Houzz


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Toasters were always electric but they weren’t always automatic! Mum had to take the toast out herself, checking it carefully every few minutes. Sunbeam brought out an automatic toaster and it was one of few household items mum rushed out to buy. It was very popular in those days and it meant we didn’t nearly burn the house down every time we wanted breakfast.

toaster toaster1
Sewing machine

We’ve all seen one of the old Singer sewing machines – my grandmother handed hers down to me, complete with treadle table and I used it well past when electric machine were everywhere! They were reliable and did the job, plus they looked very elegant. I do love my new electric machine I bought this past year but was it ever as good as the original?

Washing machine

My mother used the old washing machines for all our clothes and linen – the one with the barrel and the wringer on the top. We couldn’t afford an electric Westinghouse washing machine like some had, but I always and still think mum’s old way of doing it always made the clothes smell much fresher than my machine now!

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washing washing1

Vintage image via thegearpage
Radio to Walkmans to iPods

All throughout my childhood and even into adulthood, I always had a radio in my house. We’d have it on through the day and up until dinner – it was the only source of entertainment we had sometimes. When my son turned 9, we bought him a Sony Walkman – he could put his cassette in and listen to music on the go, which was something he’d not been able to do before! I bought myself one to listen to when I went for walks and it really blew me away. I could listen to my Stevie Wonder tape and not have anyone hear! In the early 2000s, the iPod came along and challenged me even more: you mean that thing can hold music without a cassette or CD attached?

vintage Walkman Ipod_2G


What inventions changed your life? Do you remember using any of these? Share your favourite memories with us below!