People who still use old gadgets

Telephone, typewriter and camera Image copyright Thinkstock

Fashion is cyclical and technology is no exception - the current trend in gadgetry is for retro-styled pieces that remind us of our childhoods. But some people have never let them go. Why?

Black and white television

Image copyright John Thompson
Image caption John Thompson links a Freeview box into a 15in HMV set built in 1949

John Thompson likes watching TV in black and white so much he now plugs his Freeview digital box into a 15in set made in 1949.

"I don't miss the colour but sometimes it makes snooker somewhat awkward," he says, adding that his hobby is about "nostalgia" and recognising the achievements of the early television pioneers.

As a child growing up near the BBC's Alexandra Palace studios he became fascinated at an early age about what went on inside and by his teens he was mending old tellies at school.

He has 20 black and white TV sets at his home in Enfield, north London, and is one of just 11,500 households still watching black and white sets in the UK, according to TV Licensing.

"Even to this day I can't resist looking into a skip with building rubble with the hope there might be a vintage TV submerged in it.

"I thought I'd do for televisions what Battersea does for dogs."

Image copyright John Thompson
Image caption Mr Thompson has about 20 black-and-white TV sets at his home and has loaned a similar number to museums

Polaroid camera

Image copyright LAURA MILLWARD
Image caption Laura Millward says she likes the "imperfections" of the photos

"The Polaroid I've got is in the form of the Tasmanian Devil cartoon character," says 31-year-old camera enthusiast Laura Millward.

"When you open the camera and take a photo, the fangs show and that makes people naturally smile."

She bought the camera in a charity shop about eight years ago but then faced a problem - Polaroid had stopped making the film and only film past its use-by date was available on eBay.

"The film will still develop but it'll be a lot more faded. But it's nice in a way - the colours are more reminiscent of the 1970s."

While in their heyday, Polaroids developed before your eyes in as little as 20 seconds, Ms Millward must now keep her photos in the dark in her pocket for up to 40 minutes.

So why not click away on a digital camera?

"Because each film is expensive and hard to find, you treasure the photo, even if it comes out a little bit wrong."

Image copyright AFP/ERIC PIERMONT
Image caption The Impossible Project, which saved a Polaroid production plant in Enschede, Netherlands, in 2008, refurbishes classic Polaroid cameras

1930s telephone

Image copyright Google Maps
Image caption The Birch Hall Inn once held the village's only phone

When landlady Glenys Crampton bought the Birch Hall Inn in 1981, she thought an old phone on the mantelpiece in the living room was "just an ornament".

However the phone, which had been installed in 1938, did in fact still work.

"It's a bit muffly in the ear," says Mrs Crampton, 63. "You get crackly noises. You have to shout a bit."

Back in the 1930s it was the only phone in the tiny North Yorkshire village and it was brought out of the living room for people to use.

A new phone replaced Mrs Crampton's old round-dial model a few years after she became landlady but she was determined to keep it.

Although it still needs occasional repairs, the phone still gets occasional use.

"We don't get a mobile signal down here. Sometimes people will ask to use it - if there's a call, we'll put this phone on the bar to wind (people) up.

"It's lovely to listen to it. There's a little ping when it comes back to a stop. It's just a much slower way of doing it.

"It's just nice to have an old phone (which) still works."

Image copyright Thinkstock/Oleg Kornilov
Image caption Up to the 1970s virtually every telephone in Britain was fitted with a "rotary dial", London's Science Museum said

ZX Spectrum

Image copyright CHRIS WILKINS
Image caption Chris Wilkins still has his original ZX Spectrum and others which he has collected over the years

While modern gamers do battle online using a console, Chris Wilkins, 45, prefers to play on a 1983 ZX Spectrum 48K.

"I've probably owned every console but with some of the games on the PS4 and Xbox One you invest weeks of your life," he says.

"The games on the Spectrum were much easier to pick up and play. They were much simpler games. It's nice to get your nostalgia fix."

His first games were the 1980s classics Manic Miner and Lunar Jetman, but using damaged cassettes meant invariably the game would not load properly.

"They would take four to five minutes to load... The TV screen would say R Tape loading error. You'd never get your four, five minutes of your life back."

Mr Wilkins, from Kenilworth, Warwickshire, said a "big part of the culture was swapping games in the playground".

"You'd buy one or two games. But you'd have 100 games in your collection on a number of (originally blank) C30 or C90 tapes bought from Boots because you'd copied the games from other kids' cassettes."

Many people plugged the computer into the TV and earlier models did not include a cassette machine, so users plugged a tape machine in to use cassettes.

Mr Wilkins, who has written two books, The Story of the ZX Spectrum in Pixels Volume 1 and 2, said: "These days you press a button to load a game and it appears instantly. The kids these days have no patience."


Image copyright MANX RADIO
Image caption Journalist Terry Cringle feels able to express himself better on a typewriter

When Isle of Man journalist Terry Cringle began his career in 1948, journalists were still writing out their copy by hand.

But his "proud parents" presented him with a portable typewriter and he went on a course to learn how to use it "with a lot of girls".

Now aged 84, he still prefers to write his pieces on an old-fashioned typewriter while his "very patient" colleagues at Manx Radio put up with the noise.

"I'm a dinosaur... I belong to the 20th Century," says Mr Cringle, who presents a nostalgia programme for the station.

Mr Cringle still does his first draft on A4 on an Olympia typewriter before retyping it on to his computer.

"I find it easier to express myself and pace a piece," he says. "There's lots of Xs to delete words. There's lots of handwritten additions... but fortunately it's only for me."

He remembers newsrooms in years gone by when there was "lots and lots of smoke, lots and lots of noise and plenty of chatter".

"Somehow computers discourage people from chattering or swearing. It's just nothing like what it used to be."

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