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20 Things That Used to Look Totally Different From What We Know Today

Every day, we use dozens of different things — from devices to cutlery, and we have no idea what the things we use all the time looked like when they first appeared. And it’s really interesting to see what the first-ever stapler or computer mouse looked like.

We at Bright Side tried to learn more about the things we use every day and we’ve found the first version of the most used objects. They came such a long way before they finally turned into something we can recognize today. And at the end of the article, you will see how much the woman’s tennis uniform has changed over the years.

Computer mouse

The first computer mouse was presented to the public at an exhibition in California in 1968. American engineer Douglas Engelbart invented it.

Vacuum cleaner

Vacuum cleaners were first invented in the ’60s of the 19th century. And the models we are used to, with an electric engine, were presented at the beginning of the 20th century.

Wedding ring

The tradition of wearing wedding rings is thousands of years old: the first similar-looking rings were found in Ancient Egypt. And the photo on the left shows a ring from the 6th century.


The prototype of an ATM was designed by Luther George Simjian in 1939. But due to some flaws, it wasn’t used until over 20 years after it was invented. And it was only in the ’60s that people started using them. The photo above shows actor Reg Varney using the first-ever ATM in the north of London.


French stylist Alexander F. Godefroy invented a hairdryer in 1890, but a different person patented this device in the US in 1911 — Gabriel Kazanjian. The first portable hairdryer was sold in 1920.

Air conditioner

Many attempts at air conditioning have been made throughout the entire history of humanity. In 1842, American doctor John Gorrie invented the prototype of the modern A/C — a compressor for cooling down the air that he used in the wards of his patients. Unfortunately, he didn’t have enough money to produce these machines. But other inventors supported his idea and in 1902, the first electric air conditioner appeared.


Coins have been used as currency since the end of the 7th century BCE. They were mostly made of electrum — a mix of gold and silver.

Electric coffee maker

The first-ever electric coffee maker, called Wigomat (in the left photo), was presented in Germany in 1954. It was made by the German inventor Gottlob Widmann.


Many people think that the Apple Watch was the first smartwatch. But the attempts at making this kind of device were made way earlier. The first smartwatch was a Timex Datalink — the product of a collaboration between Microsoft and Timex.

Medical syringe

We are used to disposable plastic medical syringes, but before 1949 they were made of metal and glass and were reused many times.


The first electric fridge appeared in 1913, but the engine and the compressor were so big that they took up an entire room next to the kitchen. Besides, toxic chemicals were used in these fridges. But everything changed in 1926 when Danish engineer, Christian Steenstrup, developed a relatively quiet and harmless fridge that could hold both the engine and the compressor.


The first razors were found in several cultures of the Bronze age. They were thin half-moon shaped metal plates. You can see one of them in the before photo above.


In 1866, American George McGill got a patent for a device to attach pages with staples. This is when the history of staplers began.

Waffle iron

The first waffle irons appeared in the Netherlands in the 14th century. They were made of 2 metal plates attached to each other which were then placed in the fire. And the prototype of the electric waffle iron was developed by General Electric in 1911.

Nike shoes

Nike Waffle Racer shoes have been iconic for a long time, but few people know that Bill Bowerman, the co-founder of the company, used a regular waffle iron to make the soles. You can see one of the first 12 pairs of these shoes in the photo above. It is believed to be the only pair that nobody has ever worn.

Vending machine

The earliest known reference to a vending machine is in the work of Hero of Alexandria, an engineer and mathematician in first-century Roman Egypt. This machine took coins and sold water. The modern models appeared at the beginning of the 1880s. They sold postcards, envelopes, and post stamps. The left photo shows the 1904 model.

Electric razor

The first electric razor was invented by John F. O’Rourke in 1898. But they weren’t mass-produced until 1937. The left photo shows the 1963 Sixtant SM2 razor model from Braun.


The first racing events appeared at the beginning of the last century. Since then, not only have the competitions changed a lot, but the cars have as well.

Disposable sanitary pads

The first disposable sanitary pads were sold in 1888. And the pads we know and use today appeared in the ’70s of the 20th century.

Remote control

The first-ever remote control was a model created by Philco called Mystery Control (the one in the before photo). The remote required batteries and was used for radio sets made by the company.

Bonus: Women’s tennis uniform

Today, female tennis players wear short dresses and skirts, but it hasn’t always been like this. Before the 20s of the previous century, women wore long cardigans and maxi skirts on the tennis court. How they managed to hit the ball in such uncomfortable clothes is still a mystery.

What surprised you the most about this compilation? Tell us in the comment section below!

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