15 Things That Quietly Vanished That No One Noticed

By Aaron Stone

Nothing is ever permanent in this world, except for change. And with change comes the disappearance of many things. Some of these things are gone forever, while others may make a comeback in the future. But regardless, it’s interesting to reflect on the things that have disappeared over the years, and to think about what impact they had on our lives. Here are a few examples of things that have disappeared over the years:


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The mobile phone industry has soared high over the years, especially with the introduction of smartphones. Telcos offer bundles, affordable subscription plans, and prepaid loads for those who do not want to pay monthly mobile bills. Almost everyone, even kids, has their own mobile phones, so many have not noticed the disappearance of payphones.

Printed Phone Books

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The digital and online world has taken over a lot of things, including physical directories. Gone are the days when people relied so much on printed phone books to look up numbers of companies, shops, restaurants, and other businesses, including individuals listed on those directories. 

Public Phone Booths

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Phone booths used to be seen in most places to provide the public ease of communication, but just like payphones, the advent of mobile communication devices has made them scarce.

Printed Encyclopedias

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For those of you who have been born before the year 2000, you sure are familiar with the hardbound Encyclopedia Britannica. Your parents brought a set for sure for everyone to read, and it used to be a very popular reference material for research purposes. But with the internet storm, Wikipedia and other digital resources have taken over them, making them disappear without the younger generation even noticing. 

VHS Tapes

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For many years, VHS tapes were the star of home video entertainment, but they became obsolete with the introduction of DVDs and digital streaming. 


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Before mobile phones became so popular, beepers or pagers were used as on-the-go communication among many professionals and doctors. They are now obsolete, and the new generations have no idea what these things are.


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Documents were prepared using typewriters in the past, but the widespread use of computers has made them obsolete, although there are some who still use them for specific niches. Homes no longer have these as students use computers to prepare reports and assignments.

Video Rental Stores

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Have you tried renting out videos from Blockbuster? The decline of video rental stores like Blockbuster is a consequence of the rise in the digital streaming era. While some may have noticed their disappearance, the digital streaming platforms were fast enough to gain popularity.

Film Cameras

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Have you tried using a film camera? Gone are the days when you needed to buy films and make sure they did not get exposed, or else that would affect your photo’s quality. The advent of digital photography has led to their decline.

Physical Newspapers

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For many of you, it has been a morning routine to read the newspaper while sipping on a cup of coffee. However, printed newspapers have faced a decline in readership as more people turn to online news sources.

Handwritten Letters

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Although not entirely gone, the practice of sending handwritten letters has significantly declined as most individuals have resorted to communicating via emails and instant messaging platforms as they are more convenient. Gone are the days when you had to wait for months before your love letters or other communications got to the other part of the world.

Physical Maps

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Planning on a trip but you do not have a physical map with you? That is not a problem at all! With the availability of GPS and digital maps on smartphones, physical paper maps are now used less frequently, especially by younger generations. Navigating the road becomes so much easier with the help of digital maps as they can instruct you where to turn, including the current traffic situation or accidents ahead should other users (ahead of you) report on the app.

Fax Machines

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Every office used to have a fax machine as this used to be a staple for every business for document sharing purposes. Although not completely gone, fax machines have become less common in offices with the popularity of email and digital document-sharing platforms. Business communications have been so much easier nowadays. You can now easily scan documents with printers with scanners or even using a scanning app, attach the document to the email, and send it to the recipient in just a matter of seconds!

Digital Record Stores

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You used to see these stores and would gladly enter to purchase your favorite singer’s album, but that has become a thing of the past. Many have closed down following the rise of digital music and streaming services.

Slide Rules

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Are you familiar with this device? This used to be the aid for most mathematical computations but became obsolete with the advent of electronic calculators.

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