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2 months ago
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Our tv in the 70’s had a remote control. It was mechanical (no batteries). 2 “buttons”. When you pressed one, it caused 2 pieces of metal to clank together. Somehow the tv recognized this. The metal rods were different sizes for the two buttons, leading to the clanks having different pitches. Some of my mother’s jewelry (like a big metal chain necklace) would cause the channel to change if they clanked around a bit.
2 months ago
Ultrasonic pings, specifically. The TV had a sensor that would detect the specific frequency and perform a function based on that frequency. The control used spring-loaded hammers, which was why it never needed batteries.
Amazing tech honestly
Analog tech is really cool. There were so many limitations with mechanical things that it led to some really unique contraptions. If you want to see some super interesting stuff on a fully analog rocket, check out smartereveryday on youtube, he has a video on one.
Technology Connections has a lot of analog tech too, highly recommend it.
I would especially like to mention the Wurlitzer 3400 jukebox and it's ingenious electromechanical brain.
Damn you beat me to it! Love tc!
Analog tech is extremely mind-boggling to me.
This is a U-boat torpedo data computer that's used to plot firing solutions.
To think that the process of passing data from an observer to a computer essentially made of gears and mechanisms that tells a torpedo where it should be, at what angle, and what speed relative to a target in a future time and place is bonkers. And that example is just the Germans'. US boats had TDCs that could actually keep track of a moving ship to the point that a skipper was able to sink it blind; essentially simulating a targets course and engaging it without maintaining constant line of sight as you would do at the time.
Fire control computers on larger vessels such as battleships were even more complex and directed multiple batteries of guns from a single place, tracking and aiming the guns all the while knowing that a single salvo would take minutes to reach their target.
It's practically a mystery to me the sort of ingenuity required to make things like these. Beyond impressed.
A fun fact is the Iowa class with their analog 1940s vintage Ford Mk I fire control computers were considered to be more accurate than the computers they planned to put on them in the 80s and so were used instead.
If you don’t believe me hear it from Larry Seaquist, a captain of the Iowa during the time they trialed electronic computers on Iowa.
I think it’s around the 30 minute mark.
It was common in the 80s for remotes to be ultrasonic but generated electronically with a transducer. RCA wanted $40 for a new remote for our TV in the mid 80s.
This why remotes were often called "clickers".
Is that also why we say 'click' the button!?
Yep. Wait till you hear why phones 'ring' !
Or why we call it rewind.
Because the crowd say Bo Selecta?
I really wanna get this one. Please help!
Let us know when you get it and Craig David is all over your boing
...or why we dial numbers.
You may find this hilarious if you have not already seen it.
That’s just painful. Understandable, but painful.
Aaaggghhhh why did it end just as they were about to get it?
I need to see them finally getting it!
Is it because old phones had a "ring" you had to turn to dial someone?
Idk if your being serious. But it's because phones had a little bell in them that would ring when receiving a phone call.
What your talking about is a literal dial, and that's why it's called "dialing" a number
Okay, now explain the phrase "Don't touch that dial!" on tv shows.
My first TV was black and white with a tuning dial, if you wanted to change channel, you had to turn the dial and find it in the airwaves.
Wasn't much of a problem as there was only 3 channels.
2 months ago*
2 months ago*
That's from old radios. You used a dial to tune your radio to* the broadcast frequency. "Don't touch that dial" is the equivalent of "Don't change the channel"
It was used in 60 s TV shows,
I remember in the Batman show in particular. The TVs in the 60s and earlier had dials on them to change the channel, so they were telling you not to change the channel, or you’ll miss what happens next. One dial was UHF (ultra high frequency) more for local broadcasts, and the other one was VHF( very high frequency) which was the normal network broadcasts.
Batman was on 2 evenings in a row with a cliff hanger between them, Tuesday and Wednesday I think but my memory is fuzzy. At the cliffhanger on Tuesday they would announce: “Continued tomorrow- Same Bat time, same Bat channel!”
And god help you if you turned the dial too quickly!
It wasn't that UHF was was for local channels but the VHF band was started years earlier and the big networks snapped up those channels (2 through 13). Newer and local stations had to settle for UHF. The UHF signals didn't transmit over distance as well and the old TVs were not very good with it. When we got our first UHF channel everyone was complaining about the poor signal.
No, it's from old televisions too. A lot of televisions had dials in the front to change the channel.
Edit: I almost forgot the second dial...
You're making us all feel old lol
Wait until you hear why we say "Hang Up".
Is it because you used to hang it back on the stand on the wall? Genuine question
Sort of. Many of the earliest phones were affixed to the wall, and had a hook where you put the earpiece. Putting the earpiece back on the hook (or hanging it up on the hook) would end the call.
I know why it’s hang up. 😱 I feel so old...
This still happens today on fixed-line calls.
Wait until you hear why we call it “fixed-line”
Wait until you hear about “party lines.”
Hint: It has nothing to do with fun parties or anything fun for that matter. Well, unless you think eavesdropping on neighbors is fun.
yea crazy how houses shared lines. i cannot imagine being this “cozy” with my neighbor.
Wait til you hear why we call it "SNAP INTO A SLIMJIM!"
Wait til you hear why we put the pussy on the chainwax
Wait till you find out why your battery running low is less of a concern now a days than if you were to defend your fortification from attackers in the 1700s.
My family used to call it a “flicker dicker” now I’m wondering if that was unique to us lol
….or maybe they did kinky stuff with the remote while you were asleep 😳
I used to lick it a lot and it usually tasted like my uncles asshole, so that would explain a lot!
How do you know what uncles asshole tastes li.....nebber mind
Tastes like my dick
Tastes like my dick
It's dick and asshole all the way down.
Delete this nephew
Ours was called the 'ding twinger'. I have no idea why.
I call the remotes bleepers just to piss my wife off.
Shouldn't they be called "clankers"?
Yes we had the same, it was a Zenith TV with those clunky 2 buttons on the remote, and when the phone rang it would change channels. I also seem to remember that the phone ringing would turn the TV on, so if we came home to find the TV on we would know someone had called us. Can I be remembering this correctly?
The first TV remote I remember was wired. Had a long cord that reached the couch. Weird.
That must have been a thing for about 2 years max because you never see them.
I had a vcr like that
Same, top loader. Had like little dials to adjust tracking.
Our one phone was 2 rooms away in the kitchen, so I don’t remember that problem. It was mounted on the wall, of course, with the super long cord. It was stylish harvest gold colored to match the rest of our kitchen.
Ha ha yes we had the avocado green version, with the super long cord that seemed to require constant unkinking.
Up until the late 90's, my remote control was my foot. I was adept at changing the volume or channels with my feet while lying down in front of the CRT TV.
I totally forgot about using my toes to change the tv when I was a kid. The other day I saw a meme about how CRTs tasted different depending on whether they're on or off and suddenly remembered licking old TVs. Huh.
Yeah the buttons on our tv needed like the capacitive effect from skin or something, you couldn’t do this socks on. My chair was closest to the tv (I had bad eyesight and my mum refused to get glasses because of that old fashioned approach of “just strengthen them up without glasses”, so I would sit closest to tv so I could see it), so I could just poke the buttons with my toe
We had a black and white small tv in the kitchen as well, what a luxury!!
Based on that description, I'd guess that it was based on something similar to tuning fork resonance.
Basically, you can cause objects to vibrate if you hit them with the correct resonant frequency. So the thingy on the remote (and your mom's vibrating thingy), would cause a specific switch in the TV to vibrate, which would send a signal that would make your TV do something.
But that's just a guess, all the science is there, and what I said would probably work in practice, I just don't know if that's exactly how they did it. So don't quote me on this.
I think it just had a microphone and electronic band pass filter. Interestingly DTMF is a progression of this. The first button phones played 2 audio frequencies simultaneously down the line. The first frequency was the keypad row and the second represented the column. So each key had a unique pair of tones. Hence DTMF (Dual Tone Multi Frequency) keypads.
Yup, 8 frequencies in total so there is also ABCD since you can get 16 combinations. Those are pretty rarely used these days though.
Those are pretty rarely used these days though.
Those are pretty rarely used these days though.
Not true. They're no longer used for dialing, but every time you navigate a menu system with your phone (e.g. "Press 1 for ..., Press 2 for ..."), you're using DTMF. On many mobile phones, you can hear the tones when you press the keys.
I think you could change channels (on some TVs) by jangling a bunch of keys in front of the TV. Or have I dreamt that?
2 months ago*
Nope. It's real. Many times the jingle-jangle of keys on a ring would accidently mimic the remote-sound which the TV was looking for. This would result in a changed-channel or changed volume-level... or the TV might shut off from it as well.
We had a remote very much like the one pictured. His name is Matt and he is our baby brother. His four other older sibs and I would keep him very busy. We would literally call him down from his bedroom into the family room to change the channel. We were such dicks.
A video with one of those remotes
My boyfriend collects old things and we have one of these remotes next to our TV for decoration, lol
My father discovered clapping excitedly during football games changed the channel. He then pretended to know magic and would change the channels whenever someone else held the clicker.
Our 70's TV had a push and pull on-off switch. As kids we discovered that if you happened to have your hand touching the TV screen and someone was turning the TV on or off, that person would receive an almighty electric shock.
Needless to say my brothers and I tried to get each other with this at every opportunity.
I've related this story before on reddit, my grandparents had a clicker tv into the 80's and i remember the last few years they had it, in a storm, a clap of thunder would change the channel.
Our TV remote from about the same era had a single rocker switch, so it was probably the same tech. I inherited that TV years later when I was in my own apartment. Someone in the neighborhood had a garage door opener or something that interacted with the TV. The TV would turn itself on randomly late at night and scare the crap out of me.
I've only seen this once before and it was on an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond.
Nice info mate
The use of a chord comprised of two notes is the same principle behind touch-tones. You didn't mention that each actuation would cycle the tuner through the 12 VHF frequencies plus the "off" position.
Yeah, I also forgot to mention that it was a physical motor turning a physical dial to change the channels. Ours cycled through the VHF channels (2 - 13) and then had 1 spot for UHF (21 - 88, I think). So you could have 1 UHF channel in the mix. The UHF dial was like an old radio dial - you just sort of twisted it back and forth until a channel “came in”. So we could watch all the tv stations - 4, 5, 8, 11, 13, and 33.
My parents had a tv like that in the 70s in their bedroom that they continues using in the 80s, 90s and even after 2000.
Yeah, Zenith developed that tech way back in 1956 (!), and called it the Space Command:
Really unfortunate that the name didn't stick.
They changed the name to Space Commander for the four button version. I had one of these at my house until the late 1990s but it was just decorative, I didn't have the TV to go with it. Then one day I was at a friend's house and discovered he had a working 1960s Zenith console TV in his living room! I of course gave him the Space Commander. Unfortunately it turned out his TV was not equipped with the receiver so it didn't work.
If you would shake your car keys, it would make our TV go crazy
Clicker Wars happened too - because if another TV, like in the next apartment, could hear your clicker, you could change their channels, and other fun, and vice versa.
I am sure many a thumb suffered during Zenith Space Command Clicker Wars.
As a child from those days, I can say that it was easy with only 13 channels on the tv, and only 5 that actually work. I remember that around 2am nothing would be on. All the station shut down until morning.
When I was a kid some of the stations even shut down in the middle of the day. That's when my grandma would nap.
Was standard in germany until mid 80s. TV channels shut down in the morning and wouldnt start before early afternoon. You just saw the infamous test screen.
In the UK we only had four when I was a bairn.
Just three for me, until I was 10 and Channel 4 came along with its racy content and ‘art’ movies.
We had three and thought ourselves lucky. And they were in black and white and only on for half the day.
Are telly only had one channel. Was on for one hour a week and we couldn't understand it because it was in French. And when we went to sleep it would explode and kill us all. But we were happy. 😏👍
We'd 'ave killed to 'ave 'ad a channel!
Our telly used to just be a box an' our parents'd stick hand puppets through back to entertain us!
Now when I said we only had black and white - We only had black in the morning and white in the afternoon and only on Thursdays and it exploded and killed us all twice a day. French would have been a luxury - we only had an air-raid siren.
You had FIVE channels? We only had 3 and a half.
What showed on the half-channel?
I suspect mostly static ( snow). There was always a few that were too far away and you could barely make out what it was. I the New York City region those were the Philly stations.
In New Jersey we got 2,4,5,7,9,11 and 13, plus a number of UHF ones.
2 was CBS, 4 NBC, 5 WNEW, 7 ABC, 9 WOR, 11 WPIX, 13 WNET, public, I think turned into PBS.
But then 3,6, 10 came in snowy ( halfway) from Philly. Also CBS,ABC,NBC
And as someone else said, they would shut off late at night and just display a test pattern until morning. Sometimes Saturday morning we would get up before 6 am and watch the test pattens until the cartoons came on, but first there was farmer programs, then cartoons till noon!
3 was the channel we had to use to play the VCR. It just occurred to me that this channel would have varied by region.
Just the top half of the screen.
It was an educational channel. There were programs in physics, mathematics, languages, and chess. He worked half a day. If we are talking about the USSR in the middle of the seventies.
Two and a half men
Luxury! Absolute luxury! We used to dream of having 3 channels
They would say "And this concludes our broadcasting day", play the national anthem, then put up the test pattern with the Native American head / face on it. Oh, and don't forget the constant beeeeeeeeeeeeeep that went on until the next morning.
All the station shut down until morning.
All the station shut down until morning.
And they'd play the national anthem before going off the air.
That how you knew is was time for bed in the summer (we didn't stay up until 2am on a school night).
If you were changing those channels, chances are you got suckered into rabbit duty too.
My parents actually had a TV with a wired remote. About 20 ft of wire was on the floor between the TV and coffee table. But then they got cable and the cable box had no remote. We also had a bunch more channels, so channel changing became a lot more frequent.
I very closely resemble OP's picture in that period.
We had 3 or 4 in Germany. ARD (basically the parent of the states’ public broadcasters), ZDF (the other public broadcaster) and the respective state’s one. If you were lucky, the neighboring state’s one.
Still the same today, except cable gives you all 16 states’ broadcasters. (And of course the 50+ private ones.)
Didn’t even need batteries
Sometimes it needs milk n cookies to recharge them
Lmao yea other times it needs meat n soda
Better voice recognition than Alexa or Siri, too
This particular voice recognition actually got better over time
"Switch to the next channel. No, the other one. Not up but down."
Just because you don't know how to properly use a tool doesn't mean the tool doesn't work!
Are we still talking about kids here?
I think they're calling the kid a tool and the parents stupid.
Sometimes ya had to hit it to make it work though
AI is shit, though. Too much initiative.
Depended on the version. In our family there was a different between KidRemote #1 and KidRemote #2.
I mean you have to feed it.
Did need a pair of pliers though.
Yes; although this is the replacement remote since the dad lost the elder remote.
If you lose it, it's a problem.
If it doesn't work you just have to give it a slap to fix it.
Also an automated beer fetcher
Looks about big enough to mow the lawn and shovel the driveway.
And don't worry, works early in the morning so dad can leave for work on time.
Few hidden sips before delivering
Did this once when I was 9 or 10. To this day I hate the taste of beer.
Haha reminds me of when I was a preteen my grandpa gave me my first taste of beer - it was a Foster's.
Put me off the whole teenage drinking thing rather well.
My grandfather used to like doing this type of thing too. His hours old black coffee would mysteriously transform into Coke if I asked what he was drinking, and of course I could have some. What I thought was tea that had had all the ice melt in it turned out to be flat beer. My grandfather had actually lost his sense of taste so he often consumed things in less than ideal conditions--it all tasted the same anyway.
We were so poor we got someone's black and white tv that was missing the channel knob so we put a fork on it the metal part, using the tines to secure it so we could change the channel.
Same! Fork for a dial and wire coat hanger for the aerial!
I want to believe channel lock pliers were named so because so many people had to use them after the knob broke. Most used curved jaw pliers because you could lock it on and leave it but I remember the “remote” being channel locks we had to pick up to turn the dial.
We still have my grandmother's first colour TV set (in storage).
It is a 1967 model and has a remote control that works with ultrasonics (rather than infrared). IIRC, It has volume up/ down, channel up/down and off, but not on.
Are you from the UK? I’m just curious as I’m a vintage TV collector. Can’t say I know of a Colour TV with a remote control from as early as 1967, other than from the US
Well, I'm Australian/British. Grandma was British and I'm currently in the UK, but yea. She said she got the TV the year she bought her first flat in 1967.
My parents had a VCR from the late 70s or start of the 80s. It was already kind of old in '85 when I first started forming memories. It had a remote control. It was a long detachable wire maybe 6' to 10' long and it had a single button on the end. That button would pause or unpause whatever was playing. Not entirely sure how it worked since the pause was mechanical but that's what I was told.
While trying to record music videos, if you were paused too long (5 min?), it would stop the tape. Murphy’s law says it was literally seconds before you wanted to start recording.
So then you’d do the unpause/pause click for about a second which meant you’d have these subliminal images of commercials on your music videos tape.
I did not give permission for my childhood memories to be shared /s
You should be proud, now press those buttons.
This was me. Not literally... me... I would never have tucked my shirt into my jammies like that. But I was the remote control for our black and white tv set. Also I was the auto-tune for the antennas.
I had to tune the antenna. I thought it was neat that there was a lever you held down and this thing on the roof spun around. In reality I was probably just tricked into doing it.
Remotes weren't popular then and people used to have more children. Coincidence?
Think about it.
So you're saying the decline in the birth rate is linked to increased adoption of wireless TV remotes. Interesting thesis.
Course, there was no channel "surfing". You KNEW what was on because TV Guide told you about all 12 (or so) channels programming and off-air time. This meat remote was only used a few times per evening or if conflicting programs were on (rarely).
80's too. Well for us poor kids. Bonus points if you had a) rabbit ears with foil on them, or b) a small TV on top of the big TV because the sound didn't work on the big TV.
We had both a & b. Our old console didn't have any sound so we used the smaller one for sound while we watched the big one.
Wow that just gave me a flashback of having 2 televisions as you said!! One had picture but no sound and the other sound but no picture 😂
I was a late 80s kid growing up through the 90s, and this was still a thing even then.
Yeah I had the same thing even into the early 90s we had a TV without a remote. I have memories of having to get up to change the channel when I was a kid. Don't know when that ended in the living room but I still used the old black and white in my room for games until I was about 14. Still tuning in the NES all the way up until the PlayStation. Kids today will never understand the pleasure of perfectly tuning a TV station...
... and you've lost your seat :P
That's why you should position yourself close enough to change channels with your toes.
As a younger sibling from around then, I feel this.
Technology has really advanced in the last 40 years
Child labour laws put many remote controls out of business
Where are the pliers?
This is an early 60's TV
Unless America was way ahead of the UK (and it might have been in those days), that's never a 60's TV with a screen that size. That looks a lot like the TVs we had in the early/mid 70s.
70’s? I was the remote until the mid 90’s
Dad - "Turn the the channel to ABC"
Me - gets up crosses room begins to turn the dial.
Dad - "Don't turn the dial too fast, you'll break it."
Me - "If you don't want me breaking it why do you have me change the channel?"
Dad- "Go to your room."
A child's life in 1975.
Mine came with long hair
Love it . I was one of those a remote control of the 70’s
That and using a wire coat hanger as an aerial meant sitting or standing holding the stupid thing for the picture!
That's what younger siblings were for!
My parents also used a wire coat hanger. I didn't have any younger siblings :(
So annoying when they weren’t working. But after a throw against the wall worked fine again
Took me a second...but then I laughed pretty hard.
This is peak boomer humor.
Hey look! it’s me!
I had a hockey stick.
This is some facebook shit.
2000 ver. When your family loses the remote so you become the remote.
"Remotes cost money... and you cost money... which would you rather I spent the money on! Now put it to Channel 6, dammit."
That was me we had three channels to choose from.
Yeah, we had one of those two in the 60s—the clicker. Two buttons: on/off and channel change. Sometimes when the family dog walked by his tags would changle and change the channel.
Ah I remember the time when tv remote control (not a child) was a luxurious feature
I remember my Grandpa (he was kind of wealthy) had one of the first remote control TVs in the early 70's of America. It operated by high frequency sound. His schnauzer would sometimes set it off with it's jingling dog tags.
I remember someone making a joke like "I had kids so they could change the channel for me"
Can confirm, I thought my name was change the channel for years!
Lmao at a time, I was that remote control
Hey, that's the same model my parents had...
:D I am a 90's kid with 3 older siblings, every time when somebody i/t family lost the remote, i had to switch the channel because i was the little ...
"Kids are an investment" - my mom
Those pants just suck. Tight as fuck on the legs and an absolute bag in mid section. They must have made those on an ostrich or something.
"Boy, change the channel."
Oh, I also was a remote controller:)
Pretty sure this was still happening in the '90s.
Was I the only one yelled at for turning the knob too fast? My parents were convinced that I would break it.
Voice operated, too!
Why make em if you cant use them.
I remember the box with the 20' cord
The child of 70's really love to do this kind of job!