They don’t make them like they used to! What’s the oldest item you still use?

PUBLISHED: 16:00 03 November 2019

A Philips food whisk, circa 1980 Picture: JAYNE LINDILL

A Philips food whisk, circa 1980 Picture: JAYNE LINDILL


What’s the oldest household item you have and are still using - perhaps a cooker, vacuum cleaner or food mixer that’s older than you are, handed down by a relative or friend?

Paul Geater with his saucepan/steamer which dates from the 1950s Picture: ARCHANTPaul Geater with his saucepan/steamer which dates from the 1950s Picture: ARCHANT

Or is it something you bought with your first-ever pay cheque? Do you still cherish your twin tub washing machine, manual typewriter or original vinyl record player?

We want to spotlight some of the oldest items still being used in our area, despite the fact that we now live in an increasingly throwaway society.

Natalie Sadler's husband still uses a tent he bought as an eight-year-old, 37 years ago.

"I am not sure which is the biggest driver behind my husband's thrifty lifestyle - saving money or protecting the environment," says Natalie.

Natalie Sadler's husband's tent, which is 37 years oldNatalie Sadler's husband's tent, which is 37 years old

"I was most shocked when we went to our first festival together and he took along his trusty three-man ridge tent, which is actually older than I am. He bought the Lichfield tent with the proceeds of his fruit picking money, aged just eight and he assured me it had never let him down.

"Sadly, a slightly inebriated festival-goer had tripped over a guy rope the year before, landed on the tent and ripped it. But he had sent it to his mum who used the tent bag to patch it up (you can see the patch over the left hand side of the porch). I have since convinced him to buy a slightly more spacious pup tent but he still tucks his old Lichfield into the boot for emergencies."

Saucepan dates back to the 1950s

Old saucepans and kitchen items are also used regularly by many people. Paul Geater still has a pudding saucepan/steamer dating back to the 1950s.

Mark Langford with his pocket dictionary from the 1970s Picture: ARCHANTMark Langford with his pocket dictionary from the 1970s Picture: ARCHANT

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He said: "I still use a steamer which was given to my mother as a wedding present in 1952 - meaning it is now 67 years old! She passed it on to me in the early 1980s. It still works perfectly, so I have never needed to replace it.

"Admittedly, I now usually tend to use it only once a year, to cook the Christmas pudding, but it does that to perfection."

Jayne Lindill has a Philips food whisk which she said is "circa 1980, possibly earlier, a marvellous bit of kitchen equipment. So handy, easy to clean, not as noisy as more modern kit. You can't beat it!"

Mark Langford's favourite everyday older item is a small pocket-sized Collins Gem English Dictionary, in a 1979 reprint edition, which he acquired at school as a 13-year-old.

He said: "I still use it all the time. I do have a hardback Oxford dictionary, but it is very handy for a quick check on how to spell a word. I have used it all through my time as a journalist, since 1987."

Many people find that, when they buy a new household appliance or gadget, it is now very difficult to repair it, and it ends up being thrown away as soon as it develops a fault.

In particular, mobile phones, laptops and tablets are not built to last. I received an Amazon Fire tablet as a birthday present three years ago, and downloaded lots of ebooks and apps.

However, after two years, a problem developed with the charging port. I went along to a friendly local computer shop and asked them if they could repair it - but they politely pointed out it would be cheaper to buy a new one!

Of course, some items do become unsafe with age. I used to preen myself on being thrifty and using the same old Christmas tree lights every year, until I saw a warning that old lights were more likely to start fires!

What is the oldest thing you have? Email your thoughts and photos.

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