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Look Back on 65 Years of Technology with Kansai Electric


Kansai Electric celebrated their 65th anniversary by creating a video montage of all the different technological advances that have come and gone over the decades, since their founding in 1951. The video kicks off in 2016 with a lady taking a photo of a baby on an iPhone, then skips back a couple of years to show a child marveling at a Roomba, then skips back another couple of years to flip-phones, and so on.

The company was founded in 1951, so the final few electronics that we see in the video are hand-crank washing machines, and then a ’50s-era hair salon filled with hair dryers. Actually, salons still use hair dryers that look relatively similar to the ones in the 1950s photograph. So, clearly, nothing has changed. Except our vacuum cleaners are cooler now.

In addition to serving as a history of technology, the video also unintentionally serves as a look back at fashion and other trends in Japan over the course of the past half-century. Without those trends to guide you, though, it might be hard to get a handle on how quickly the decades fly by in this montage. It’s not that all of the technology looks the same; more like, the jumps in technology happen inconsistently rather than across a smooth line.

Also, this video doesn’t really factor in the influence of the internet, instead focusing on the look and feel of the technology around us, from televisions to trains to roller coasters. A lot of that stuff was designed to look “futuristic” even at the time, and perhaps our perception of what looks “futuristic” hasn’t actually changed too much.

It’s also hard to use a photo, or even a series of photos, to truly capture how much the world has changed since 1951. What do you think they left out?

(via Rocket News 24)

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Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (, and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (