Advertisements are a cross-section of our culture, and looking back at the tech ads of the past is like taking a peek into what life was like at that time. Not all of these hilarious vintage ads are very old, but they are all funny in their own way. Above, Motorola insists the watching television in general is actually good for your kids – try making that claim today. And maybe taking a giant, awkward-looking computer to bed with you was normal a few decades ago, but today it’s a far cry from the notebooks, netbooks and handhelds we now cuddle up with.
Sex sells, of course, and it always has. On the left, an ad for a “stacked” kitchen cooking system is not-so-subtly compared to a well-endowed female model who is clearly more interested in her cocktail than in cooking anything. And on the right, it’s not clear how a postage meter will prevent murder, but this 1953 ad makes it pretty obvious that the women of 60 years ago were expected by their husbands to not only cook and clean, but take care of mail-related issues as well…or else.
Most aged gadget advertisements are funny purely because the evolution of technology has made the products in them obsolete. On the left, this “compact” and “mobile” computer probably weighed more than the small urban cars of today. On the right, this classic ad reminds us that voice synthesizing software was once pretty remarkable.
It’s only by looking backward at yesterday’s technology that we can remember just how far we’ve come. The “sexy” modem on the left is what we might call “boxy,” “clunky,” or even “unsexy” today. And on the right, this massive Burroughs computer rages against other machines: computers sold on the basis of their name alone. We wonder how angry the big young thing would be today.