Here today, gone tomorrow…
    Signify shares a list of top forgotten household items

    September 13, 2018


    Eindhoven, the Netherlands – Signify (Euronext: LIGHT), the world leader in lighting, today revealed a list of ten items that have become obsolete from many households around the world. The list was informed by research from the University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom, which identified a range of items, from VCRs to typewriters, that were once household must-haves but have now gone the way of the dinosaur.


    Deborah Sugg Ryan, Professor of Design History and Theory, University of Portsmouth, cast her expert lens room by room, to pinpoint items that have gradually evolved or been phased out.

    Signify’s top ten obsolete household items:

    Incandescent light bulb
    Rotary dial telephone
    Yellow Pages phone book
    Cassette tape / player
    Floppy disk
    Dial-up modem
    Game Boy
    Signify’s top ten obsolete household items 1

    But why are these items being consigned to history?


    One of the key reasons some of these items are now available in vintage shops or as a collector’s edition is the fast growth of technological innovations and digital advancements.


    Our lifestyles have changed drastically in the past few decades. It is interesting to re-visit our homes and discover items we once thought of as indispensable have now become totally obsolete. Tastes, technology and timing all influence the products that we come to think of as everyday items."


    Professor Deborah Sugg Ryan

    From a consumer perspective, advances in technology allow us to have more control over our surroundings, with ever less physical effort. This makes our lives more convenient. Originating from the Greek ‘tekhne’ meaning ‘art and craft’, technology was once only attributed to engineering and applied sciences, while today, it has a much more widespread definition and role in our everyday lives.


    Another example of how technology has evolved is in the way we use devices to write.


    “The typewriter is an interesting example of this trend. From bashing on large, heavy buttons, we’ve moved on to hyper-sensitive keyboards, interactive pen displays and touch screens where all we must do is slide,” Professor Deborah Sugg Ryan commented.

    Signify’s top ten obsolete household items 2

    Another trend is the ever-decreasing size of gadgets. The original floppy disk has now increased its data capacity but significantly reduced its physical size and morphed into a slimline memory stick. We even have a non-physical cloud, in which we can store vast amounts of data.


    Movie fans are experiencing a similar evolution. Once VCRs and video cassettes were one of the most prominent items in a household, but we now access many movies virtually via streaming services or television channels. With our list of movie favorites stored in the cloud, this also means living rooms around the world now have more shelf space for other items!

    Signify’s top ten obsolete household items 3

    We have also seen a progression in the way we light our homes and workplaces with the many changes in the light bulb. In this instance, the advancement in technology was driven by the need to conserve energy and cost.


    “The incandescent light bulb has been phased out in many countries around the world in favor of more energy efficient, longer lasting lighting – the most efficient being LED which is up to 90% more energy efficient. In 2016, the EU started to phase out halogen spotlights and this month saw the ban extended to most halogen bulbs in the quest to reduce energy use, save consumers money and combat climate change. Today, our quality LED lighting is able to perfectly mimic the behavior of traditional halogen bulbs and can last for 15 years,” said Rowena Lee, Business Group Leader LED at Signify.

    Signify’s top ten obsolete household items 4

    This research was inspired by the news of the gradual phasing out of most non-directional halogen bulbs, which came into effect across the EU on September 1, 2018. In 2016, the EU began the phase-out of directional halogen bulbs such as most halogen spotlights.


    Signify became the new company name of Philips Lighting as of May 16, 2018.

    About Signify


    Signify (Euronext: LIGHT) is the world leader in lighting for professionals and consumers and lighting for the Internet of Things. Our Philips products, Interact connected lighting systems and data-enabled services, deliver business value and transform life in homes, buildings and public spaces. With 2017 sales of EUR 7.0 billion, we currently employ approximately 30,000 employees and have a presence in over 70 countries. We unlock the extraordinary potential of light for brighter lives and a better world. News from Signify is located at the Newsroom, Twitter and LinkedIn. Information for investors can be found on the Investor Relations page.

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