We often use the phrase, “They don’t make ‘em like they used to” in reference to new gadgets, high-tech toys, cars, or co-workers. And in many cases, it’s true. I have an old four-channel stereo amplifier that has a unique ability to crank out a crystal-clear sound at enormous volumes; I used it many times as a PA system when I was in university, and in the years since, I have yet to find a newer digital amplifier in the moderate price range that can even try to compete. Similarly, my father still has an electric drill that had belonged to my grandfather. Our best guess is that it’s from the early 1950′s; it weighs as much as a small child and makes about the same noise, a shrieking, ear-splitting, high-pitched squeal. It’s made of solid metal, and it’s not pretty, but it’s still going strong, and whenever we run into a problem with any other drill, it’s the one we turn to, knowing it will work all the time.
But by the same token, the same is not true of everything. No matter how rosy our rose-coloured glasses may be, there really is no way that we can try and say that an 80286 from the early 90′s is in any way superior to a modern computer. I had a first-generation Motorola StarTAC; it was in no way superior to even my aging iPhone. Not everything out there was better in years past.
So let’s hear about the things that were! What is the best “They don’t make ‘em like they used to” example you can think of?