15 things you’re unlikely to see in 2013

Apart from really bad Kris Kringle gifts, there are many things that we have taken for granted in the office that are unlikely to make it in the modern office.

I believe 2013 will be a fabulous year full of new innovations and technologies, but with innovation – particularly disruptive innovation – there are many office items that become relics of the past. Can you predict which business tools will be relegated to the status of artefacts in a museum?

Those entering the workforce in 2013 as young graduates were born around 1992. These are items they will never have to learn to use or understand. In fact, they may never know they even existed.

Do you agree with my list of what will be extinct in the next year? Or five or ten years? I had one friend who suggested that libraries will become extinct? Do you agree?

15 once essential business items now only seen in museums:
(Thanks to Wikipedia for the definitions.)

1. Telex: The telex network is a switched network of teleprinters similar to a telephone network, for the purposes of sending text-based messages.


2. Facsimile: (fax machine) Fax (short for facsimile), sometimes called telecopying, is the telephonic transmission of scanned printed material (both text and images), normally to a telephone number connected to a printer or other output device.

3. Photocopier: A photocopier (also known as a copier or copy machine) is a machine that makes paper copies of documents and other visual images quickly and cheaply. Most current photocopiers use a technology called xerography, a dry process using heat.

4. Liquid Paper: Liquid Paper is a brand of the Newell Rubbermaid company that sells correction fluid, correction pen and correction tape. Mainly used to correct typewriting in the past, correction products now mostly cover handwriting mistakes. (Liquid Paper was invented by Bette Nesmith Graham, the mother of Monkees member Mike Nesmith – pictured below.)


5. Carbon paper: Carbon paper (originally carbonic paper) is paper coated on one side with a layer of a loosely bound dry ink or pigmented coating, usually bound with wax. It is used for making one or more copies simultaneous with the creation of an original document.

6. Typewriter: A typewriter is a mechanical or electromechanical device with keys that, when pressed, cause characters to be printed on a medium, usually paper. Typically one character is printed for keypress, and the machine prints the characters by making ink impressions of type elements similar to the sorts used in movable type letterpress printing.

7. Filing cabinet: A filing cabinet (or sometimes file cabinet in American English) is a piece of office furniture usually used to store paper documents in file folders.

8. Roneo duplicators: The stencil duplicator or mimeograph machine (often abbreviated to mimeo) is a low-cost printing press that works by forcing ink through a stencil onto paper. The mimeograph process should not be confused with the spirit duplicator process.

9. Internal mail envelope: In a large organisation with many employees, there is frequently an internal mail system. The post room sorts the incoming mail and the ‘mailboy’ takes it around on a trolley to the various pigeon-holes and direct to the desks of important people. They use special envelopes where people cross off the previous name and reuse the envelope.

10. Address books: An address book is paper-based. Entries can easily end up out of order as the owner inserts details of more individuals or as people move. Many address books use small ring binders that allow adding, removing and shuffling of pages to make room.

11. Rolodex: A Rolodex is a rotating file device used to store business contact information (the name is a portmanteau word of rolling and index).


12. Calendar: A calendar is a physical device (often paper) where you can write upcoming events and appointments – it would hang on the wall of the office.

13. Desk diary: In stationery, a diary is a small book containing a main diary section with a space for each day of the year with room for notes, a calendar, and usually various pages at the beginning and end containing various pieces of reference information. Usually large and leather bound – the size of the diary determined your seniority in an organisation.

14. Fountain pen and ink cartridges: A fountain pen is a nib pen that, unlike its predecessor the dip pen, contains an internal reservoir of water-based liquid ink. The pen draws ink from the reservoir through a feed to the nib and deposits it on paper via a combination of gravity and capillary action.

15. Rotary dial phones (and switchboards): The rotary dial is a device mounted on or in a telephone or switchboard that is designed to send electrical pulses, known as pulse dialing, corresponding to the number dialed.

One of Australia’s outstanding entrepreneurs, Naomi regularly entertains as a passionate speaker, a blogger and a published author, most recently publishing Five Thanks a Day. She has received many accolades and awards for the business she founded, RedBalloon.com.au including the 2011 Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year – Industry.


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