The Clark County exhibit will explore obsolete technology – past, present and future


The horn of a standard Edison phonograph in 1906 pointed to the glass of a display case in a gallery on the side of the Clark County Museum.

Surrounded by multicolored cylinder notes, the phonograph is just one part of the museum’s “Obsolete Objects” exhibit, which will open Friday and run until Feb. 14, 2022.

Attendees will tour classic items related to agriculture, forestry and woodworking, shop equipment, business and technology, recreation and leisure, household materials, and complete their tour with more recognizable items such as the phonograph.

Exhibit curator Malcolm Vuksich expects visitors to identify the items presented through their own memories as well as reflect on things in their lives that they see as important. The 200 items in the exhibit were mostly donated to the museum, 1830 Boulder Highway in Henderson.

“We want them to see things that are familiar to them, and then you might wonder why we use something different now, and imagine how the things they have now, in 20, 30 years, will be as obsolete as these things now, ”Vuksich said.“ What we have now is not the top. We will move there. ”

We toured the exhibit, which cost $ 2 for adults and $ 1 for children. Here are some highlights:

The Sad Iron

Sitting amidst a variety of rust-browns, and a vibrant blue, steel, the triangular shape Sad Iron is an item in the “Obsolete Objects” exhibit that has a modern counterpart. While some gadgets on exhibit have been replaced by heterogeneous, more advanced editions, others, such as Sad Iron, have only received a technological upgrade.

Sad Iron is an invention from Thomas Loring, who patented his design in 1860. The name came from an obsolete meaning – 400 years ago, “said” meant heavy or dense, and 200 years after that, “said” became “sad.”

Lawn chair

Similar to Sad Iron, the deep-stamped, once high-gloss lawn chair display is not entirely obsolete. But instead of using stamp steel to make these chairs, businesses will choose plastic resin because it’s a newer, lighter and more portable material, Vuksich said.

The original designs for stamp steel chairs began in the mid-1930s, and dozens of companies made them throughout the 1950s. Today, companies still make back lawn chairs – in fact more than that made in the 1930s to 1950s.


Along the right wall of the gallery is a collection of rusty, leaky gabas. A notice next to the saws explains that the steel in the exhibit may show signs of rust and corrosion. The wood in the exhibit may also have cracks, and the plastic may appear to deteriorate. Decay and decomposition are part of a natural decay process, the poster said, and the physical condition of an object helps the museum identify the history of the area.

Jigsaws are an example of items in the exhibit that are no longer in use. Instead they were replaced with an electrical, better counterpart. Moving from an agrarian society to one that requires constant technological change has its pros and cons, Vuksich said.

“Sometimes saving time improves yield or improves the ability to increase production, which means more benefits to society, even if we use fossil fuels,” he said.

Dictation technology

Voice recording technology in the 1930s, the initial power to early power, consisted of the dictaphone, on which an operator would speak. The sound is recorded in wax cylinders, placed on a transfer machine that will be listened to and written by a typist.

This dictation technology jumps and borders from the simplicity of today’s available recording technology, even if the machines are acquired from close to home. Two machines shown were likely used in the Clark County School District for secretarial or office use, Vuksich said, based on a tag found inside a nearby folder.

“Your airpods or earbuds will be in good condition 90 years from now?” reads the poster on the display of dictation technology.

The Turbinator

The Turbinator – a 1954 item that Vuksich said he thought would be popular with gallery visitors – is a reflective silver hair color with variable heating and cooling settings. The cast iron base allows it to rotate, and with a reading light and adjustable pedestal height, the Turbinator became a salon favorite in the 1960s.

“That Turbinator is there!” reads a description card in the display case. “It can’t be bought. This cannot be justified. It does not feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely won’t stop… ever, until you dry out. ”

The telephone booth

Sitting to the left of the exhibit exit is a wooden telephone booth, which houses a Western Electric model 202 series telephone, used from 1930 to 1938, and a Western Electric model 233 series 3-coin slot rotary. payphone, in 1950. The phone booth also had a yellow telephone directory in June 1959 for Las Vegas, which also covered entries from Boulder City, Henderson and Moapa Valley.

“The directory used to be inches thick, and in 1959, it was an inch thick,” Vuksich said. “We can show the scale of community change only in the size of the material support that goes along with things.”

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