Retro Style Tech: 10 Modern Gadgets with a Nostalgic Look


[ By Steph in Technology & Vintage & Retro. ]

philco pc

If you’re nostalgic for Walkman-equipped jogs, need a desktop computer that fits into a midcentury modern design scheme or just want to gaze lovingly at cassette tapes and reminisce while you’re working, these gadgets will scratch that itch while still providing all the functions you expect from contemporary technology.

CURVED/labs Macintosh-Inspired Computer

retro tech macintosh

This computer by CURVED/LAbs features the same sleek aluminum casing seen on the latest slimline Apple computers, but takes the aesthetics in the other direction – way back to the original Macintosh released in 1984. The computer mimics the original in looks, but features a 11.6-inch touchscreen, SD card slots, speakers, microphones and all of the other modern functions and accessories you’d expect.

Rotary iPhone Dock

retro tech rotary iphone dock

Cast in resin to perfectly replicate vintage rotary phones, this iPhone dock by iRetrofone on Etsy features a spot that fits various generations of iPhones just right. It’ll charge your phone, and the handset is actually usable, so you can pretend like it’s 1985 while chatting, even as you swipe at apps on your screen.

Audio Infuser Stereo & Record Player

retro tech audio infuser 2
retro tech audio infuser 1

It may look like it could be, but designer Todd Kumpf emphasizes of the Audio Infuser 4700 that it’s “not your grandpa’s stereo.” The exterior looks just like retro stereos with its stained wood and brushed aluminum, but in addition to playing records, it’s equipped with a Linux-driven Raspberri Pi that operates as the wifi receiver so the stereo can stream music wirelessly from any mobile device, laptop or desktop computer. It can even stream music from the record player out to other wifi enabled speakers.

Vintage Camera iPhone Dock

vintage camera iphone dock

Sometimes high-tech gadgets just don’t fit in with the aesthetics of your personal space. Anyone with a vintage flair in their interior design might like an iPhone charger that fits in with the decor on their bedside table, like the camera docks created by Etsy shop Laboratorio Altieri.

Gramaphone for iPhone

iphone gramaphone

Take it way back to the early 20th century with an iphone amplifier made to look just like an old gramophone, with a solid walnut dock. It’s available at Restoration Hardware.


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House of Glass: Cabin Facade from Antique Window Frames


[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

house glass front facade

On an unusual kind of cross-country road trip, this couple visited garage sales, antique dealers and added these to other roadside finds, all toward the quest of assembling an an eccentric collection of windows for a unique dream home.

house of glass

house glass room interior

Creators Lilah Horwitz and Nick Olson are, respectively, a designer and photographer, but with a common architectural vision of a home where one whole facade would be made of windows. The goal: let sunsets illuminate the structure’s entire interior space, creating a multitude of views, wood-framed through artfully arranged window openings.

house glass night view

The result sits on the sunny hills of West Virginia, a rustic-style cabin in which the front-facing fenestration is the dominant design feature. The assemblage reflects their personalities – the hands-on approach Olson takes with his camera and images, and the landscaping and fashion experience of Horwitz.

house glass hill context

house glass exterior view

In turn, Matt Glass and Jordan Wayne Long interviewed the couple for a short seven-minute film on Half Cut Tea. The result shows the pair of creatives but also the context of their creation via shots of the surrounding landscape and entry path as well as the dwelling itself by daylight and at night.

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Suburb-Terranean: 70s Bunker Home Simulates Day & Night


[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

underground bunker home

It is a dream home like any other of its era, with brick walls, sliding doors, stock windows and shingle roofs as well as a lawn, garden, trees and pool. The difference? It is set two stories underground in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the faux flora never wilts nor does it grow, and it is for sale.

underground home day night

If this real-life 1970s home seems like something out of a science-fiction movie, you may be remembering the film Blast from the Past, in which the protagonist spends decades underground in vintage fallout shelter styled after a mid-century suburban home and garden.

underground house kitchen pool

Listed at 1.7 million dollars, this foreclosed property looks conventional at street level, but hides a stunning set of secret spaces below, including two bedrooms, three bathrooms, a kitchen and every other space you would expect inside and outside of a single-family house on the surface.

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Dental Nightmare: 17 Truly Terrifying Tooth-Related Objects


[ By Steph in Technology & Vintage & Retro. ]

Creepy Dental Main

As if going to the dentist wasn’t scary enough already, you can now augment your odontophobia with a series of nightmare-inducing dental training devices, antique drills and tooth-related objects. Artificial mouths with frighteningly flappy lips and gums, robotic dental mannequins that blink and choke, and dentures you can wear around your wrist are among the horrors found here.

The Scariest Calendar in the History of the World

Creepy Dental Calendar

If you enjoy having nightmares, hang this calendar in a prominent place where you’ll see it right before you go to bed. Made by Practicon, which produces the dental mannequins whose faces are Photoshopped over those of actual human models, the calendar was originally intended only for dental offices and purchasers of their products. But it went viral in late 2012, causing Practicon to release it to the general public.

Frighteningly Lifelike Robotic Dental Patient

Creepy Dental Mannequin 1

Robotic dental patient Showa Hanako 2 has been described as ‘remarkably lifelike,’ which is true if you’re used to looking at people with dead eyes and terrifyingly elastic mouths. She can blink, sneeze, cough and even choke, mimicking many of the natural movements dentists and dental hygienists will have to get used to in real live patients. Showa Hanako 1 was only a little bit less frightening.

Antique Dental Model

Creepy Dental Aluminum Model

Creepy Dental Antique Model 2

This thing looks more like some kind of medieval torture device than a dental learning aid. Antique dental models like this one can be found in shops and on eBay, and they’re all totally unique thanks to the work that’s been done on their teeth, like excisions and gold fillings.

Vintage Dental School Teaching Device

Creepy Dental Vintage Training Device

Creepy Dental WWZ Zombie Teeth

Let’s say you find this yellowed dental school teaching device in an antique store, and figure it would be a cool thing to display on your shelf. Just don’t be surprised when it starts mysteriously moving itself around your home at night, and then appears on the pillow next to you one morning, its teeth chattering like those of that one zombie in the only truly creepy scene of World War Z.

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Bizarre Inventions: 15 Idiotic Ideas from the Past


[ By Steph in Technology & Vintage & Retro. ]

Bizarre inventions main

For every invention that actually makes it to production, there are dozens of failed ideas, most of which failed for very good reasons. Like the fact that they’re painfully inefficient, totally unnecessary or just plain bizarre.  These 15 weird and wacky creations developed between the 1920s and 1970s might be ridiculous, but they’re fun to look (and laugh) at.

The Isolator

Bizarre inventions the isolator

The Isolator, by Hugo Gernsback: a terrifying hood with an attached oxygen tank, for when you want to be really, really isolated. “Outside noises being eliminated, the worker can concentrate with ease upon the subject at hand.”

Wooden Swimsuits

Bizarre Inventions Wooden Swimsuit

Swimsuits have come a long way since the days when they were long-sleeved wool monstrosities, but this wooden swimsuit invention, pictured in Washington State in 1929, wasn’t exactly a step forward.

Hangover Mask

Bizarre inventions hangover mask

Nothing will make you feel better when you’re suffering from a hangover than a mask that looks like this.

Radio Hat

Bizarre Inventions Radio Hat

All this poor guy wanted was an iPod. The portable straw radio hat was made by an American inventor in 1931.

Bicycle Tire Swimming Aid

Bizarre Inventions Inner Tube Swimming Aid

This group of teenagers in 1925 Germany seem pretty proud of their invention, a swimming aid made of bicycle tires.

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The Red Menace: 15 Vintage Anti-Communist Ads & Propaganda


[ By Steph in Design & Graphics & Branding. ]

Cold War Ads and Propaganda Main

Look out – communists are infiltrating the country with nefarious plans to sterilize our men, steal our women and convert children! Dramatic and overwrought, anti-communist ads and propaganda from the Cold War era attempted to inspire loyalty to democracy and fear of the atomic bomb-wielding enemy – and at the same time, somehow soothe Americans’ concerns about the possibility of ‘total destruction.’ These 15 examples include ads for everything from telephone services to milk, as well as pamphlets, comic books and films.

After Total War Can Come Total Living

Cold War Ads After Total War

(image via:

Would this poster make you feel any better about the possibility of total nuclear annihilation? The government distributed propaganda like this during the Cold War to soothe the fears of U.S. citizens after the military strategy of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) Doctrine was put into place, which proclaimed that if either the United States or the Soviet Union dropped a bomb, the other would drop one in retaliation, continuing until both countries were destroyed.

Sure I Want to Fight Communism – But How?

Cold War Ads Truth Dollars

(image via:

The average citizen couldn’t exactly go out and ‘fight communism’ in any real way, but they were given plenty of small ways to support the cause. The public was asked to donate “truth dollars” to support causes like Radio Free Europe, which aimed to “keep up the morale of the Communist-ruled peoples, and express the kinship of the free nations, with the captive peoples.”

If Russia Should Win

Cold War Ads If Russia Should Win

(image via:

“If Russia and the Communists should win the next world war, many American men would be sterilized. In case the Communists should conquer, our women would be helpless beneath the boots of the Asiatic Russians.”

Take a Good Look

Cold War Ads Take a Good Look

(image via: michigan civil defense)

“Take a good look,” urges this advertisement, alongside an image of an undressed woman protecting her modesty. But it’s not really the woman that the Federal Sign and Signal Corporation wants you to notice. They’re just using her to call your attention to their air raid warning signal. “Other matters may have taken your attention, but few if any can be more important.”

Is Your Washroom Breeding Bolsheviks?

Cold War Ads Is Your Washroom Breeding Bolsheviks

(image via: the society pages)

This advertisement might seem like a joke, but it’s a real vintage Scot Tissue ad that first appeared in the 1930s. “Employees lose respect for a company that fails to provide decent facilities for their comfort,” it reads.

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[ By Steph in Design & Graphics & Branding. ]

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Future Past: 7 Wonders Predicted 100+ Years Ago


[ By Steph in Technology & Vintage & Retro. ]

Future Past Predictions Main

“These prophecies will seem strange, almost impossible,” reads the intro to a 1900 article printed in the Ladies Home Journal entitled ‘What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years.‘ And over a century later, many of them do. The “wisest and most careful men in our great institutions of science and learning” envisioned that by the year 2001, we humans would have willfully made all wild animals extinct to make room for ourselves, and we’d be eating sterile foods zipped from laboratories to our homes via pneumatic tubes. But some of these ideas are more prescient than others, accurately imagining innovations like factory farming and even the internet.

Wild Animals Don’t Exist Anymore, Except in Zoos

Future Past Predictions Wild Animals

(image via: paleofuture)

“Man’s steadily increasing need for more space will eventually force untamed beasts to pay their way in the scheme of things, or join the species already extinct,” reads a 1926 article in the Galveston Daily News. That attitude was surprisingly common during the early 20th century, despite the fact that the predictions in the Ladies Home Journal article underestimated a century of future population growth by billions. The Ladies Home Journal article predicted that animals wouldn’t exist in the wild anymore at all, and would only be found in zoos, unless they were in use as livestock or service animals.

The article predicts that rats and mice will have been completely exterminated (along with mosquitoes, flies and roaches, which would require filling in all swamplands and chemically treating all still-water streams) and that cows will be so fat, they’ll be as slow as livestock pigs. “Food animals will be bred to expend practically all of their life energy in producing meat, milk, wool and other by-products. Horns, bones, muscles and lungs will have been neglected.” Sounds like modern-day conditions at many of America’s largest factory farms.

Purchases and Pre-Cooked Meals Are Delivered via Pneumatic Tubes

Future Past Predictions Pneumatic Tubes

(image via: machinelake)

In an era when compressed food tablets actually seemed like a great idea, sterile pre-cooked meals made in laboratories rather than kitchens were an appealing concept. The Ladies Home Journal article imagines that ready-cooked meals would zoom from these central labs to private homes via a vast system of pneumatic tubes. Equipped with all manner of electrical gadgets not found in homes, these laboratories would also be able to supply food cheaper than it would cost to cook for yourself, since they’re buying ingredients in such large quantities. You press a button, your food zips to you within minutes, and then you send the packaging and utensils back to be chemically cleaned. Store purchases and mail would be delivered in much the same way.

Furthermore, you’d never have to worry about anyone breathing on your food, or exposing it to the atmosphere of the busy streets. Shopkeepers would be arrested if they dared to store food that wasn’t essentially hermetically sealed, or if they sold “stale or adulterated produce.” The miracle of always-fresh produce would be achieved using liquid-air refrigerators.

The idea of pneumatic delivery hasn’t gone away altogether – some cities use pneumatic tubes to dispose of trash, and a company called the Foodtubes Project aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by transferring much of the UK’s deliveries from trucks on the roads to underground tubes.

The Suburb is the Promised Land for Taller, Healthier Americans

Future Past Predictions Broadacre Suburbia

(image via:

The suburbs seemed like utopia for people living in clogged, smoggy cities. The predictions of the day envisioned Americans not only living much longer thanks to quiet lives in the peaceful suburbs, but also be one to two inches taller on average thanks to better health “due to vast reforms in medicine, sanitation, food and athletics.” In fact, suburbs would be so amazingly beneficial for mankind, city housing would be practically eliminated, and building in blocks would be illegal.

Americans, and humans in general, are indeed taller than we were in the year 1900, thanks to ample amounts of nutritious foods, though that could very well change with the unhealthy fast-food diets that have become increasingly common over recent decades. The suburban dream hit its peak during the ’50s, however, and is now starting to fizzle, with many young people choosing to live in cities for access to efficient transportation, jobs and culture.

Zero Traffic Noise in Cities as Transit Goes Underground

Future Past Predictions Carless Cities

(image via: wikimedia commons)

The dream of the suburbs would be achieved with quiet, high-speed transportation that was virtually invisible at surface level, with “well-lighted and well-ventilated” underground railways in broad subways or tunnels, as well as monorails and elevated streets. Trains would take passengers from New York to San Francisco in a day and a night (imagine!). It’s easy to see why this seemed so readily achievable in the year 1900; the first underground railway in the world opened in London in 1863 and transportation grew more efficient by the year. People hadn’t yet been seduced by the status and freedom of individual automobiles.

We may have high-speed trains in much of the world (though sadly, still not in most of America), but car-free cities “free from all noises” are far from our current reality. However, at least one city may be able to achieve that ideal: ‘Great City’, a dense carless metropolis being built from scratch in a rural area outside Chengdu, China.

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Future Past 7 Wonders Predicted 100 Years Ago

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