20 Things That Didn’t Exist 40 Years Ago


Thanks to technology, the world has changed immensely over the last 40 years. But technology isn’t the only thing that’s changed, we’ve also experienced a lot of cultural changes. Read on as we highlight 20 things that didn’t exist 40 years ago.



Cell phones were technically invented in the 70s, but they had to wait a decade before their popularity grew to a huge degree. The first smartphone came out in the 90s, and since then, things have moved quickly.



It’s fair to say that selfies were still possible with Polaroids and other cameras, but that’s not how they were known. Once smartphones came along and featured a camera that could shoot forward and backward, the selfie wasn’t too far behind.

Social media


Some say that social media is a plague, and others praise it endlessly. The truth is that it has pros and cons, but it didn’t exist in its current form until the late 90s.

Pre-made sandwiches


What happens when you try to keep a sandwich nice all day until lunchtime? It either goes soggy or gets destroyed when you touch it. But with these things, well, they’re a good snack if nothing else.

Fruit pouches


40 years ago if a person wanted to bring their child’s fruit with them it tended to get a little messy. Even today that’s possible, but the pouches that are available at every Dollar Store are kind of handy if they’re not molded.

Febreeze spray

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There were cleaning products for certain. But honestly, Febreeze was a breath of fresh air when it was released in the 90s.



How many people remember those old, dirty mops that some businesses still use on occasion? The Swiffer, released in 1999, was a welcome relief from the ol’ mop and bucket duo.

Fidget spinners


New generation, new ways to waste time, right? Back in the day, spitballs and tossing pencils at the ceiling, or your sibling, might have done it. The fidget spinner became that acceptable of wasted time.

The Disney store


Disney has never failed to find a way to push their wares. But the Disney Store didn’t make its mall appearance until the late 80s.



Even today Wikipedia isn’t always considered the best source, but it’s there and it’s still useful. 40 years ago we had to go to the library, ask a neighbor or friend, and find something out the hard way.



How easy is it to find millions of answers based on one question? Back in the day, it took a lot more legwork, but the sources were just about as uncertain sometimes.

Music providers

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Spotify, iTunes, etc., none of these were around back in the day. At one time we still used vinyl records, cassettes, CDs, and then eventually MP3 players.

Fitness trackers


A personal journal and two fingers on your pulse were the best ways to track your fitness 40 years ago. Today, all you need is an account and a password.

Elf on the Shelf


The Elf on the Shelf is a recent addition to society compared to many things. But it’s an interesting one since many people have taken liberties with the elf’s hijinks.

Safe playground equipment


Do you remember those metal slides that burned the hell out of your legs on hot days? How about the wooden play structures that left splinters in your skin now and again? I miss them too…

Therapy dogs


Dogs have always existed as a therapeutic part of life, but they weren’t recognized as such until a short while ago. Unfortunately, a lot of people still misuse this privilege quite often.

Safe spaces


This is something that can start an argument, so I’ll keep it simple. People knew how to find a quiet corner where they could sit alone for a while.

Gender reveal parties


A lot of people want to know if they’re having a boy or a girl. One of the main downsides of this type of event is when it goes awry, otherwise, it’s fine.

Online gaming


Online gaming was a pipe dream for a long time until it finally came around. Now, a lot of people can’t imagine a world without this type of thing.



At one time only the military was capable of using this type of technology. Now, we have it in our smartphones, watches, and anything else that it can be installed on.


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