Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Blasts From The Past, Really Fun

Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, Florida

The other day, someone on Slashdot, mentioned "The Typewriter Song."  and he asked about other sounds from the past that we don't hear anymore.  The responses (including several from me) were overwhelming and great fun.  Below are some of my favorites.  
  • The Typewriter Song
  • The sound of a teletype machine
  • The Percolator Song
  • Old phone bells
  • Old phone rotary dialers
  • A DECWRITER printer
  • The whirr-clack-clack of floppy disks
  • Steam locomotives starting up. Chug-Chug chug-chug chug chug
  • The tick-tock of a grandfather clock in the hall
  • Clickety-clack of a train on the tracks
  • The 5 O'clock steam whistle telling factory workers it was time to go home.
  • Whah-whah the number you have dialed is not in service.
  • Nerrrrr! Squawk! BONG! BONG! BONG! Scrrrrch! Doot! as your modem connected to the Internet.
  • The sound of a muffler under a car dragging on the pavement.
  • Mechanical adding machines. Chuga chuga chug. Chuga chuga chug.
  • Ka-ching of a cash register. People still use that sound to mean money, but they don't know where it came from.
  • The high pitched tone that came with the test pattern at the end of each TV broadcasting day.
  • Wham wham of a computer line printer.
  • Ding ding ding of a blacksmith's hammer.
  • Clippety-clop of horses hooves on pavement.
  • The drip drip all night long of melt water from the ice box landing in the drip pan.
  • The sound of a VCR machine loading a tape when you first pushed it in.
  • Ding-DING-ding. NBC
  • Snap-ah-ah Shap-ah-ah as you started a Ford motor with the hand crank.
  • The mechanical sounds of an old film projector.Old-fashioned car horns (ah-OO-gah).
  • Roller skates, which have metal wheels, rolling on a sidewalk.
  • Manual lawn mowers.
  • The distinctive "tink" when a light bulb filament breaks.
  • The whine of a C-5 military airplane engines.
  • The musical jingle of PAC MAN
  • The sounds of the original Castle Wolfenstein on Apple ][
  • Push starting a car. Push it, let out the clutch, and the engine goes cough-cough.
  • The thump-thump-thump of a flat tire.
  • The sound of dimes and quarters going into a pay phone.
  • The Space Invaders game
  • The gibberish sounds of a tape recorder rewinding.
  • The sound of a vinyl record when the needle when past the end of the song.
  • CLUNKEY-CLUNK of a key punch machine.
  • Turning the tuning dial on a radio, the sound of all the stations you pass by.
  • The sound of a Polaroid Camera spitting out the picture.  Whirrr-click.
  • Static sound on TV when you were not tuned to a channel.
  • A (real) camera shutter, also the pop of flash bulbs flashing.
  • The three-ring or five-ring signals of calling different parties on a party line phone.
  • The sound of a B52 taking off once every 10 minutes from Sampson Air Force Base
  • The CLACK noise of a TV channel selector as you turned the knob.
  • A slide projector moving to the next slide.
  • The jingle of Windows 95 starting up.
  • Your car saying "Your door is ajar."
  • Cachunk-cachunk-cachink and the smell of a mimeograph machine making copies.
  • Reach the end of a roll of film and it auto-rewinds with distinctive whir.
  • Flip card clocks that flipped a new numbered card down each minute.
  • Vinyl record stuck in the groove.
  • Chalk on a chalkboard.
  • Calculating on an abacus
  • A foot pedal driven sewing machine.
  • "At the sound of the tone the time will be ..." time service by phone.
  • The deep throated sound of a 4 barrel carburetor. 
  • Whooping cough.
  • Glass clinking as the milkman delivered milk in the early morning hours.
  • Screen door spring
  • Winding up a watch
  • Mechanical clapper pedestrian crossings. Instead of white icon lights and a chime, some pedestrian crossings used to have mechanical clappers. Clap slow to wait, clap fast to cross. On a hot summer night when all windows were open (because we had no AC) you could hear those damn clappers clapping from all over the city.
  • Walter Cronkite saying "And that's the way it was ..."
  • The crunch sound of walking on very cold very dry snow.
  • The sound of ice cracking under your feet as you cross the river.  Uh-oh.
  • The TAP sound as the doctor's rubber mallet hit you knee to test reflexes.
  • Metal trash cans rolling after being knocked over by wind.
  • Cats fighting late at night.

No matter what your age, you must have some memories of sounds no longer heard.  Put them on as a comment to this post.


  1. The sucking noise of a cassette tape being pulled into the cassette player. Ooooosh,clack.

  2. The sound of a pop top ripped off a can of beer. The sound of "Dixie" played when the TV and radio stations signed off for the night. The sound of Lynn and Gwen, the twins at my elementary school, singing "Little Brown Jug" at the second grade talent show. The sound of tractor-trailers jake-braking at the town limit. The sound of a baler spitting out "square bales" in a field of lespedeza.


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