Computing fossils: Old tech holding on for dear life

Some ancient technology is still useful -- and some just won't die.
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Image courtesy flickr/*~Dawn~*

Consider the abacus. Developed perhaps as long as 4,500 years ago, this handy gadget served the mathematical needs of merchants and accountants until the development of mechanical calculating machines in the 19th century. Today, the abacus lives on in niches -- for instance teaching preschoolers the basics of counting.

There are a number of obsolete technologies and gadgets that have persisted from slightly less ancient times right down to the current day, though again in greatly diminished numbers and scope. A brief tour through these technological fossils serves as a lesson on the durability of items we sometimes think of as ephemeral.

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See also: 20 historic tech sounds you may have forgotten

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