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JLeslie's avatar

If you are over 40, do you remember the first time you saw a microwave?

Asked by JLeslie (47749 points ) June 2nd, 2014

Where did you see it? What did you think about it?

How about the first time you saw a CD? A car phone? A cell phone?

Did you quickly buy and adopt the new technology? Or, were you one of the last of your friends?

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23 Answers

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I saw my first microwave in a store. I was appalled at the direction I thought the art of food preparation was going. Early or mid ‘70s? They came out about the same time as “commercial advertisement-free” cable TV.

I had a cell-phone in the early nineties given to me by my employer. It was so much nicer than a beeper. Until then, I’d only seen them in magazines.

Don’t remember my first CD. Never liked them because they would melt in my car. Thank the gods for MP3 players and flash drives.

syz's avatar

I don’t remember when I saw the first one, but I remember the first one we bought. It was HUGE and we turned any number of food items into concrete until we learned how to use it.

I took to CDs right away, resisted switching to digital photography for a long, long time, and fought with everything in me to not have a cell phone.

Now I listen to Pandora, I shoot thousands of digital photos on every trip, I cancelled my land line years ago and I panic if I don’t have my cell phone on me.

I hate Bluetooth (is that still a thing?) and I don’t tweet, I don’t Pin.

rojo's avatar

I think the first time I saw a functioning microwave was in a college food hall.

CD’s I don’t recall.

The car phone was during the early eighties in the car of the business owner where I worked.

Cell phone was just a gradual evolution from the corded phone to the cordless phone to the bagged car phone to the brick sized cell phone in a work setting.

I do have a vivid recollection of thinking that I had just received vindication that all architects were certifiably crazy when I saw one talking to himself in his car, then get out and continue mumbling to himself as he walked toward us. Turns out he had just bought an earpiece/microphone that plugged into his cell phone.

rojo's avatar

And I remember how resistant architects were to fax machines when they arrived.

If you had a question on the plans or specs, you had to submit it in writing, which meant you had to go through your office first to get them to write it up and send it off, then wait a day or more for the architect to respond. With a fax, you could have your question from the jobsite, in writing, to them in minutes and you expected an answer just as quickly directly back to you.

We had one in town who would not accept faxed question for several years, then he accepted them but would only answer by snailmail. Finally, when all the others were broken down and forced to keep up with technology, he relented and came into the 20th century.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Noticed microwave in the mid eighties they were huge and stupid expensive same for cell phones and no I like to let all the gotta have it first idiots try it and then get feed back from them before I spend any money on new gadgets.

janbb's avatar

Probably in the 60s(?) at a parents’ friends new house.

CWOTUS's avatar

I recall my first microwave pretty clearly: 1977. My boss had one in his new house and demonstrated how it worked by cooking bacon in just a few minutes. Imagine: bacon – in the oven – in just minutes.

It was several years before I lived in a place where I could get one (and it was about that long before I could afford one, in any case), but I’ve never been without one since.

CDs I liked immediately, though I don’t recall exactly when we got one, because by that time we had kids running in the house, and it was impossible to have a record on a turntable without constant skipping from the rocking of the house.

“Car phones” I only saw on movies and television. No one I knew had one actually installed in a vehicle. My first cell phone was when I joined a Y2K business system implementation team in 1999, and needed to be on call 24/7. I didn’t get my own mobile until several years later (and I still don’t have a smartphone).

rojo's avatar

Is it my faulty imagination or were early CD’s more durable and scratch resistant?

dappled_leaves's avatar

@rojo They were certainly heavier. I still have some of the first Beatles cd releases. Never play them anymore, because mp3s, but I like to keep some of the oldies for comparison.

I first saw a microwave sometime in the 70s. I was then unimpressed, and I remain so. I haven’t owned one in years, and I don’t miss it.

Pachy's avatar

Yes. It was a Radar Range—in my memory, a big ugly box the size of a compact car.

filmfann's avatar

We got our first microwave in 1987, to make bottle warming easier on the birth of my son.
I got a CD player around 1985. I remember it as being after everyone else got one.
I hate cell phones, and resisted getting one. I was issued one for work, and I got a personal one in 2004 or so. When I retired last year, I went without a cell phone for several months, till I got a smart phone. I don’t really need it, but I was tired of hearing all the people say how much I need it.
So, late again.

I did get a VCR and a Laser Disc player in 1980, which was very early in those products history. I got a DVD player around 1999, which was early again.
I had an Intellivision home computer (which shipped with a pre-installed virus!) around 1982, an Atari 5100 (around 1985), and a Windows 3.1 home computer (it still works!). I think I was ahead of the curve on those.

janbb's avatar

@Pachy A friend of mine still has his.

Pachy's avatar

@janbb, as an ex-ad guy, I think Radar Range is one of the all-time great American brand names.

Pachy's avatar

My first “mobile” phone was a Motorola brick—this was in the early ‘90s. It was a direct descendant of WWII battle phones you see in old movies. I don’t recall how much it cost because, as a Motorolan, I got a discount, but I do remember how unbelievably heavy, unwieldy and limited in reception it was. Even then, when mobile phones were so new and so rare to see people having, I was embarrassed to use it.

downtide's avatar

My parents were poor so we never had a microwave. I think the first one I saw was at a friend’s house and I thought it was amazing that it could cook things so quickly. My partner and I bought our own in 1986.

I am also old enough to remember when pocket calculators were new. My dad’s friend bought one and showed it to us when I was about seven or eight. All it did was basic arithmetic but it was amazing at the time.

Mobile phones weren’t a “thing” until long after I left school. Before that, they were just car phones, or else they had to be carried in a massive heavy briefcase for that enormous battery. One of the salesmen in my first job had one of those.

I don’t remember when I saw CDs for the first time. Again, I didn’t own them until after I left home.

zenvelo's avatar

Besides seeing them on television, the first microwave I remember seeing was at a friend’s house in 1976; his father bought one. We used it to make what we called “Jimmy Carter sandwiches” – toasted wonder bread with two slices of Kraft American cheese, nuked for 25 seconds so the cheese was bubbly.

The first CD i saw was in the early 80s when a guy at work brought a Sony Discman and a CD in and everyone got a chance to listen to how clear it was compared to the Walkman cassette players.

And my boss had one of the first cell phones with the huge attache case battery. He thought he was so damn cool but got p.o.‘d at anyone calling him because he had to [pay by the minute. Plus it was so damn inconvenient to carry it around.

I had an early generation iPod from 2001, worked for me for a long time until the battery wouldn’t recharge.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I’m not 40 yet but I do remember my parents had a litton radar range. I purchased my first cd in 1992, pink floyd dark side of the moon. I continued to buy cassettes for a long time because used tapes were cheap and cd players were expensive.

FlyingWolf's avatar

I do remember my first time! My grandparents had redone their kitchen and went with all state of the art things. I loved that microwave; I would take an English muffin, cut it in half, slap a slice of American cheese on each side, heat that baby up and feel like I was tasting a little slice of heaven.

When I first started buying music there were only albums and cassettes. I remember being torn about buying CD’s but I got on board pretty quickly and got a CD player. I vividly remember listening to songs I had on vinyl and being surprised when the skips I was used to weren’t there.

I didn’t embrace the cell phone for a long while, but I remember my bosses having them as early as 1987. Remember how they used to have that squiggly antennae on the back car window? The phones mostly stayed in the car back then. I finally got my own several years later and I have one ever since. Now we don’t even have a landline, just cell phones.

I have pretty much embraced technology. I got on board with TIVO fairly early on, could not wait to switch from dial up to DSL, and was all about switching from VHS to DVD.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

My first cell phone was in 2002 and it took about a month to realize that the land line was optional.

gasman's avatar

1972 or 73—in the university cafeteria—made by Litton. Also new were vending machines that dispensed cold sandwiches to be microwaved. We used to make popcorn by popping kernels inside brown lunch bags, which routinely caught fire inside the oven. (They hadn’t invented microwave popcorn yet!) They were still referred to as “microwave ovens” back then.

I was an eager early adopter of audio CDs, having endured the horror of audio tape cassettes, which were becoming popular despite being a step backward in sound quality from vinyl & lacking the random access of LPs. The CD was a giant step forward again. I’ve still got our first player from around 1983.

First car phone was early 90s—I don’t remember the year.

hearkat's avatar

My BFF’s family bought a microwave. I’m going to guess it was about 1980 when we were in High a School. I had never heard of such a thing before, and was awed by it.

We got cable TV as soon as it came to our town – that was also around 1980. We never had Betamax, and I’m trying to recall our first VCR, it was also early ‘80s.

I remember when a kid in school showed up with a Walkman – amazing! I crushed on him even harder after that. No one else in our town could afford one, and I never did have one.

We were among the first to have a computer in the house. My father had an Apple ][, and my eldest brother bought the first Macintosh when it came out in 1984.

I first heard of the “new” compact discs at a benefit concert in 1983 or ‘84 Rush and Aerosmith and tennis stars John McEnroe and Vitas Gerulaitis (RIP). It was quite a while before I could afford a player or the discs themselves, since I had college expenses.

I only saw one car phone that had the battery in a bag in real life. It was my first boss’ after I got out of grad school in the early 1990s. I had a beeper at that point, so I could be reached by the child care provider in an emergency.

I got a huge brick Mitsubishi cell phone in 1994 because I started working in a bigger city and had a longer commute. None of my friends had cell phones at that point. I had texting and a camera phone fairly early.

I was late to get the internet, because I was a single mom and broke. That was around 1998 and I went straight to cable – never had dial-up.

I never had a PDA – I wanted one, but the ones that could do almost what I wanted to do were way too pricey and then I’d have to lug around 2 devices (I hate baggage – literally and figuratively). When Steve Jobs announced the iPhone, it was exactly what I had been wishing for, and he gave me 6 months warning so I could save up, plus my Verizon contract was expiring in the interim – it was meant to be.

So I was an iPhone early adopter, and got it the day it came out. After work, I passed the store and the line wasn’t too long, so I picked up my son and his gf at the time, and we went and stood in line. After a half-hour or so, the manager walked down the line and counted up to about 6 people in front of us. He announced that anyone before that point was guaranteed a device, but anyone after might be out of luck. Two people between us and that point left, so we decided to try our luck, and we got the next-to-last phone in the store.

We haven’t waited in line for any tech since. I did preorder a couple of the upgrades for the iPhone but wouldn’t have stood in line for them; we didn’t rush to get the tablets or any other gadgets since.

I guess my attitude is that I’ll get something based on whether it suits a purpose in my life, regardless of whether it’s new tech or old. When I decide I want or need a device, I research the options and choose the product based on functions and features, not on labels or hype. I won’t settle just to have something. I’m a pretty quick tech learner, but not a techie; and I don’t need a power gadget for every function.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Microwave – - Radarange Model 1611 in 1954
Cell Phone – - Motorola DynaTAC in mid 1980’s
Car Phone (call the operator to place a call)- – Mobile phone in 1959

CWOTUS's avatar

I also remember being in a manufacturing plant in Michigan in the early 90s, when that plant was first wired for networked computers and email. Because I was buds with the IT jock at the time, he set me up with the first corporate email account there. And I learned at that moment how Alexander Graham Bell must have felt when he invented “the first telephone”. Who could he call with the news?

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