The past century has been a whirlwind of innovation, with countless products and ideas coming and going. From beloved toys to iconic inventions, here’s a nostalgic journey through history to rediscover some of the things that no longer exist.
In 1918, RadiThor emerged as an energy drink containing radium, the newly discovered element. It gained popularity, but its health risks soon became evident. Industrialist Eben McBurney Byers, who consumed 1,400 bottles, experienced severe health issues. In 1931, the Federal Trade Commission intervened, leading to RadiThor’s demise.
Rotary phone 1919
Rotary dial phones, introduced by the American Bell Telephone Company in 1919, revolutionized communication. However, with the advent of push-button phones in 1963 and the rise of cellphones, rotary phones became a relic of the past.
Life Savers Malt-O-Milk 1920
Life Savers introduced Malt-O-Milk, a less popular flavor compared to its fruity counterparts. Failing to win hearts, it was discontinued within a few years.
Peace dollar 1921
The Peace Dollar, minted in 1921, featured a beautiful design but had a short lifespan. Depletion of silver in 1928 led to a halt in production until 1934 and 1935 when a limited number were minted.
Hand-wound gramophone 1922
Yamaha’s hand-wound gramophone inspired future sound technology but eventually gave way to modern record players.
A.C. Gilbert Company chemistry sets 1923
A.C. Gilbert Company’s chemistry sets initially included hazardous substances. Safety improvements in the 1960s led to safer kits, but by 1967, the company ceased operations.
The Moviola 1924
The Moviola, a film editing system introduced in 1924, was used by film editors until the 1960s. It played a crucial role in the film industry’s early days.
Burma Shave 1925
Burma-Shave brushless shaving cream gained popularity with a clever advertising campaign. After being acquired by Phillip Morris in 1963, production ceased in 1966.
Cathode ray tube televisions 1926
Cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions, introduced by John Lodgie Baird in 1926, were beloved until the 21st century when LCD and electronic displays took over. Sony shut down CRT production in 2008.
Iron lung 1927
The iron lung, invented by Philip Drinker and Louis Agassiz Shaw, helped polio patients during outbreaks. The invention of mechanical respirators made iron lungs obsolete, with only a few users in the U.S. today.
Raleigh cigarette 1928
Raleigh cigarettes, known for coupons on packs, were popular in 1928 but faded away over time.
Wonder Stories magazine 1929
Wonder Stories, founded by Hugo Gernsback in 1929, played a crucial role in establishing science fiction as a genre. It ceased publication in 1955 due to changing preferences.
Mickey Mouse comic strip 1930
Mickey Mouse’s comic strip debuted in 1930, captivating readers for 65 years across numerous countries.
Sleepy’s, founded in 1931, once had 1,000 stores nationwide but was acquired by Mattress Firm in 2015 and shifted to an online-only presence.
Cake breaker 1932
The multipronged cake breaker, invented in 1932, served its purpose but eventually faded into obscurity.
Parker Vacumatic pen 1933
The Parker Vacumatic fountain pen was a best-seller known for its advanced features. It was in production until 1948.
Betsy Wetsy doll 1934
The Betsy Wetsy doll, with lifelike actions, delighted children for decades but eventually gave way to newer toys.
Monopoly thimble 1935
The Monopoly thimble, a classic game piece, was removed from the selection in 2017, along with other tokens.
Life magazine 1936
Life magazine, founded in 1936, was renowned for photojournalism but ceased weekly publication in 1972. It’s now used for special features and books.
Pedal cars 1937
Pedal cars, introduced in 1937, were popular toys until the ’60s and ’70s, replaced by plastic pedal toys.
The Drunkometer, a precursor to the breathalyzer, helped measure alcohol consumption but was replaced by more advanced devices.
DDT pesticide 1939
DDT, discovered in 1939, was widely used but later banned due to environmental concerns in 1972.
Daring Mystery comics 1940
“Daring Mystery” comics, predating Marvel’s dominance, played a role in establishing the superhero comic genre.
Gourmet magazine 1941
Gourmet magazine was a culinary delight, gracing readers with glossy pages, stunning photography, and elevated recipes. However, it said goodbye in 2009, leaving food enthusiasts craving its exquisite content.
Hawaii overprint note 1942
During World War II, the U.S. government issued Hawaii overprint notes to prevent potential use by Japanese invaders. By 1944, these bills were taken out of circulation as the threat passed.
Steel pennies 1943
Steel and zinc replaced copper in pennies during WWII due to copper’s critical role in the war effort. Rare silver 1944 and copper 1943 pennies are still sought after by collectors today.
Lead pipe from Clue 1944
In the classic board game Clue, the lead pipe was one of the six weapon tokens. Over time, game versions evolved, and the lead pipe was retired.
$500 bill 1945
Featuring President William McKinley, the $500 bill ceased production in 1945 and was discontinued in 1969.
Ayds diet pills 1946
Ayds diet candy, with flavors like chocolate and butterscotch, was once a dieting trend. However, it declined in the mid-1980s due to unfortunate associations with the AIDS crisis.
Polaroid cameras 1947
Polaroid cameras, introduced in 1947, revolutionized photography. Despite a brief resurgence in interest, digital cameras and smartphones have largely replaced them.
Tiny-mite radio 1948
The Tiny-mite radio brought joy to kids during the holidays, offering a fun way to tune into broadcasts.
Man-from-Mars Radio Hat 1949
Inventor Victor T. Hoeflich’s Man-from-Mars Radio Hat was a portable radio accessory, available in vibrant hues. It paved the way for portable audio devices like transistor radios.
Early remote control 1950
Zenith’s TV remote journey began with the Lazy Bones, a motorized knob connected by a cable. It evolved into the Flash-Matic and the Space Command, marking the birth of television remotes.
Videotape recorder 1951
Charles Ginsberg’s invention of the videotape recorder transformed how we watched television and movies. It later led to the development of at-home VCRs in the 1970s.
‘Abbott and Costello Show’ 1952
The comedy duo found new success on television with their own show after their film career began to decline. They later appeared together in a final film before pursuing individual paths.
Rabbit ears 1953
Marvin P. Middlemark’s rabbit ears improved TV reception in 1953. Modern digital antennas offer similar benefits, keeping the concept alive.
Transistor radio 1954
The Regency TR-1 transistor radio brought portable music to teenagers in 1954. While the original has faded, modern iterations maintain its spirit.
Cissy doll 1955
Madame Alexander’s Cissy doll, a fashion icon, boasted a lovely figure and various outfits, leaving a legacy in the world of dolls.
The Ladder 1956
America’s first national lesbian magazine, The Ladder, provided a platform for marginalized voices. Despite its positive impact, it folded in 1972 due to financial constraints and differing visions.
Ford Edsel 1957
Henry Ford’s ambitious project, the Edsel, was a major disappointment despite significant investment, lasting only two years on the market.
RCA Victor tape cartridge 1958
The RCA Victor tape cartridge aimed to offer high-quality recording in a convenient format but ceased production in 1964.
Chatty Cathy 1959
Mattel’s Chatty Cathy, the talking doll, was a hit but was discontinued in 1964, leaving collectors with fond memories.
The Chevrolet Corvair 1960
The Chevrolet Corvair, introduced in 1960, faced controversy over safety concerns and was eventually phased out despite its design accolades.
Somewhere perfume 1961
In the early ’60s, Avon introduced a new fragrance called Somewhere. However, this green-floral scent didn’t quite find its way into people’s hearts and, sadly, didn’t stick around for long.
Fizzies were fizzy tablets that you could drop into a glass of water to make it bubbly and fruity for a brief moment. These tablets, created by the Emerson Drug Company, became quite popular, even outselling Kool-Aid at one point. Unfortunately, they contained saccharin and cyclamates, which were later banned. Along with their short-lived fizz and diluted flavor, this led to the eventual disappearance of Fizzies. The brand has made a few comebacks but hasn’t managed to recapture its past glory.
Mister Rogers 1963
In 1963, the beloved classic “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” made its debut on CBC as “Misterogers” before moving to PBS in 1968. Fred Rogers, an ordained Presbyterian minister, used his show to encourage kindness and compassion among America’s youth. While the show ran continuously until 2001, its legacy lives on through full episodes available for streaming and the fond memories of its young viewers.
Celery-flavored Jell-O 1964
Jell-O took an interesting turn in 1964 when it attempted to meet fruit and veggie nutrition requirements by introducing celery-flavored Jell-O. Unsurprisingly, this unique flavor didn’t find many takers, and it was swiftly removed from store shelves.
Goody Two Shoes doll 1965
Little girls in 1965 adored the Goody Two Shoes doll from Ideal Toy Company. This battery-operated plastic doll not only looked charming in her blue cotton dress but also walked, adding an extra element of delight to playtime.
Computer Weekly 1966
Back in 1966, “Computer Weekly” became the world’s first weekly IT newspaper. While it’s no longer in print, it lives on as a digital publication, continuing to reach millions of IT enthusiasts.
Floppy disk drive 1967
In 1967, Alan Shugart invented the floppy disk drive at IBM. These drives initially used 8-inch disks, which eventually shrank in size and became known as diskettes. Sony was the last manufacturer of floppy disks, but they ceased production in 2011.
Flower-flavored PEZ 1968
PEZ candies are known for their delightful dispensers and fizzy flavors. However, when PEZ introduced flower-flavored candy in 1968, it didn’t quite capture the same delight as other PEZ favorites. It quickly fell out of fashion, only to be briefly revived in the ’90s.
Flatsy doll 1969
Ideal Toy Company’s Flatsy dolls were a hit among little girls when they made their debut in 1963. Despite their popularity, these dolls, which could be flattened for storage, saw their popularity decline and ultimately disappeared from the toy scene in 1973.