AT Inbox: Equipment evolution

From the comptometer to Quickbooks
I collect adding machines. Have a very old cylinderical Addic machine and then progress forward to the hand-held calculator. I learned the comptometer when in collage and was a whiz at it – what a cumbersome machine that was – whiz was very, very slow.  Also did double entry bookkeeping in a ledger and now – Wow the simple to use Peachtree, Quickbooks etc.  (Obviously, I have been around a while.) I owe it to my son who insisted  I keep up with technology, that I am using a computer and many of its programs.
— Ethel Geary
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Party line to satellite service
When I was a child, my family (like, I’m sure, many of the other Antique Trader readers) was on a party line. I remember, our ring was two long, one short … and my Mom always told us: The only time you kids should pick up the phone is if I tell you to! (I wonder if she told my Dad the same thing, and if that’s why he still won’t answer the phone …) Mom used to complain about “old so-and-so” listening in, and what busybodies the neighbors were.

Anyway, in a matter of a few short decades, we’ve gone from big, clunky, heavyweight phones (that had the potential to be deadly weapons!) to tiny little devices that weigh merely ounces. I admire the design and production efforts that have been put into old telephones. Old phones have style. They have grace. Whether it’s a candlestick phone or a brass and porcelain polyflame — old phones all have character. New phones have microchips!

And, way back when, you had to use the operator to “reach out and touch someone.” Now? I don’t even remember the last time I dialed zero — or even 411, for that matter. I don’t even know why I have a paper telephone book. The online versions of the white pages or yellow pages will tell you just about anything you want to know.

In my mind, telephones, and to some degree, telephone services have become somewhat sterile.
— Linda
From the AT Blog

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Should antiquities be returned from whence they came?
If historical artifacts are legally obtained through all of the legal channels I really do not see a reason to return them to country of origin. Obviously such artifacts are in private collections or museums where they are preserved and respected for what they are. Hopefully they are not peddled for gain. But then the question becomes: are private collections for sale? Of course the answer is yes on some occasions especially when there is the death of that specific collector. Family members who prefer money over history are obviously ready to sell. In a democratic society we cannot dictate to whom the seller must sell.
— John Hogan

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