As decades go, the 1980s had more than its share of iconic technology, from Walkmen to VCRs to pagers. The most innovative gadgets and entertainment devices of the Reagan era have since become obsolete, but they paved the way for a new generation of 21st-century items such as cell phones and voice-activated household appliances.
Here are eight influential tech marvels of the 1980s that have long since jumped the shark:
Small, wireless telecommunication devices that could easily snap onto a purse strap or a belt, pagers allowed people to deliver simple messages in an instant. One-way pagers let users receive messages, while two-way devices could acknowledge, reply to and originate communications.
First commercially developed in the 1950s for use in the medical field, pagers spread into wider use the 1980s, when having a “beeper” (as they were called) signified your status to the world as an important person who needed to be reached immediately.
Pagers became a cultural phenomenon, mentioned in numerous rap songs from the era. The devices couldn’t process texts, so users developed their own shorthand using numbers and asterisks—an early emoji. Pagers also became quickly adopted by illicit drug dealers, with one Miami school