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Yes, time travel is possible! (15 May, 2018)

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 9:18 am
by aardvark_admin
This column is archived at: https://aardvark.co.nz/daily/2018/0515.shtml

Thanks (once again) to dead-tree technology, I've been looking back in time to 1952 when everything tech-related was insanely expensive.

Seriously... the equivalent (in today's money) of $1,200 for a crappy old mantle-radio and $1,800 for the "delux" version with short-wave?

Compare that to the fact that you can now pick up a 44-inch 4K UHD TV set from The Warehouse for under $500 and marvel at how far we've come.

Also think about the cost of those toll calls and compare that to how little it costs to Skype someone -- with *video* for goodness sake!

And they used carrier pigeons for internet back then (or so I believe) :-)

Re: Yes, time travel is possible! (15 May, 2018)

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 9:41 am
by hagfish
If you're going to adjust the price for inflation, then you have to adjust the product, too. If you convert the original amount for the radio to NZ$ (2 dollars per pound) it's about $65, which a 'radio' still costs. A fairer comparison for this luxury item would be a flagship smartphone, which is north of $1500. The modern equivalent of the 'radio telephone' (an Iridium satellite phone) still costs a small fortune. Hi-tech is expensive.

With the labour-saving whiteware we take for granted, our 'luxuries' today would appear magical to the 1950s, but they're still quite spendy.

Re: Yes, time travel is possible! (15 May, 2018)

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 9:58 am
by aardvark_admin
But the cheapest "no frills" radio was still $1,200 back then -- yet today's cheapest smartphone is about $40.

There's also an ad in here for the Hayman electric clothes washer system (with wash-tub, wringer etc) and it's 107 quid which is over $6K in today's money. Makes even those expensive modern European washing machines look cheap!

On the upside, there were ads for teacher-training with "guaranteed jobs". No such thing these days eh? :-)

And an interesting article on the first TV transmissions in New Zealand which were undertaken by The School of Engineering, Canterbury University College. A bespectacled Mr B.T. Withers, senior lecturer in electrical engineering, had his image beamed two miles across Christchurch to a receiver in Riccarton.

This is fascinating stuff... perhaps I should scan it and upload it somewhere.

Re: Yes, time travel is possible! (15 May, 2018)

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 3:59 pm
by hagfish
aardvark_admin wrote:This is fascinating stuff... perhaps I should scan it and upload it somewhere.


Christchurch library has some earlier copies online. Maybe they would be interested.

Re: Yes, time travel is possible! (15 May, 2018)

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 9:56 pm
by Perry
Bruce wrote: It is clear from browsing the pages of this magazine that the standard of living back in the 1950s was vastly inferior to that which we enjoy today. Everything was so expensive (when adjusted for inflation) and wages were low. Cars were a luxury that required new-car buyers to have "overseas funds" and people "made do" with what they had, rather than blowing huge chunks of their weekly income on "disposable" items.

Different times. People my age (65) tend to look back at the past through rose-coloured glasses and it takes something like these old publications to remind us that those were pretty austere times and that not everything was as idyllic as we remember.

They may appear to be austere, but were they, really?

Family and family-related things were quite different. As in cohesively better, generally-speaking.

Unemployment? What was that? NZ had what was called 'overfull' employment. No CVs to hand in; walk in, look able-bodied, willing and capable and the job was yours!

I can vaguely recall the outrage in the newspapers when NZ had two murders in one year!

T'wasn't all austere, back then.