From Low Tech To High Tech 1934-2020

I was born in 1934. As with all my siblings a midwife came to our house and helped with the delivery. According to the Canadian Association of Midwifes there are 1690 registered in Canada as of 2018. You could say, “what goes around comes around”! We had no running water, in fact we had to go one half a mile to get drinking water from a well down in a coulee. We had no washing machine either and water was heated in a big copper boiler for washing clothes. A round tub was placed on a bench and this is where Mama washed the clothes by hand. A scrubbing board was quite often used to rub out the very dirty spots. Of course my diapers were cloth, probably made from flour sacks. (Bread was baked almost every day and it was no surprise that flour was in great demand leaving the sacks for a multitude of uses.) The new programmable washing machines that were likely designed to save water may or may not be everyone’s pride and joy. I do not have one so I have no opinion on them. It’s tricky to get your clothes dried exactly as you would like in the new dryers and I believe it’s costly to use the dryer for everything.

Our lighting consisted of a few coal oil lamps and a hanging gas lamp for the kitchen. The kitchen was, of course, where most of the activity happened, so lighting was very important.


The picture above shows a gas lamp similar to one we had in the kitchen, the coal oil lamp above right was used in the bedroomS and the lantern was used in the barn when the cows were milked.

My Dad made sure we had really good lighting in the kitchen and the gas lamp we used hand two mantles. They burn kerosene to produce heat, and the heat causes the mantles to produce light. The mantles are made of a silk and/or cheesecloth material and were very fragile to replace. I know our gas lamp had two mantles and Dad would be very happy when he managed to get the mantles replaced without destroying one or both!

We had no electricity until sometime in the late 1940’s when we bought a 32 volt system with a wind charger.

With the propeller-driven wind charger the battery could be continually charged. It didn’t take long with proper wiring, for lights suddenly illuminated the barn, kitchen and living room and bedrooms. Another case of “what goes around comes around”. By 1952 SaskPower had installed power lines to most of the province.

My brother Gerald along with helpers raised the house to enable a proper basement to be erected to facilitate a cistern and we now had running water as well. We had a propane stove in the kitchen but after 1952 we changed to an electric stove to go with an electric refrigerator.

As for technology I guess my first amazements were when I was old enough to question the radio and the telephone. The radio was a very important aspect of my family’s life. Dad wanted to hear the news every day and we learned to be quiet when he was tuned in to aI station at 8:00 a.m. For the life of me I could not understand the radio. How could sound from far away come into the room? My Mom had favorite “soaps” to listen to. One called Big Sister I believe came on around 10:30 a.m. She would be in the process of baking bread/buns around that time and she would stop for a cup of coffee. Right after lunch was an hour of more soaps and the only one I can recall was “Ma Perkins”. It was my Mom’s chance for a break in her busy, hard working world. From the early days the radio In the living room was the center of activity other than the kitchen. We listened to the Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians Dance party and many other late night great band music from ballrooms in New York City or Chicago.

Guy Lombardo 1902-1977

The radio was battery operated and we never seemed to have a spare battery when needed. Dad would be in a panic to get to town to get a new battery before Saturday night hockey from Toronto. Oh how we crowded around the radio to cheer on the Toronto Maple Leafs. And they are still my hockey team to this day.

A similar radio to one we had when I was little

Radio’s changed a lot in quality and size over the years and the TV has replace the radio in most homes. TV’s have gone from small 12” screens to the size of a WALL! They were black and white to start with one channel at first and years later finally COLOR was the norm. Now they last longer and perform amazingly well. All sports coverage on TV is fantastic to watch. My love of golf is not only playing but watching excellent coverage, up to the minute Golf tournaments on TV.

Jim McLeod was the first news anchor at CKCK Television. He also anchored the station’s first colour newscast in 1973. PHOTO COURTESY CTV REGINA

The new TV’s now have a range of sizes to suit every need.

Hi-definition TV

Phones have a history as well. Firstly, they were called “telephones” and were wall phones! Well they were attached to the wall!

Each telephone subscriber had a ringing pattern, our ring was two long and one short. We were on a party line with a few other neighbors and you could tell if someone was “rubbernecking”…they were listening to the two conversations. I was so excited when I was old enough to call my cousin and talk to her for awhile on the phone. There was also an alert ring pattern if the telephone operator wanted to call everyone at once. This ring was a steady LONG ring.

We had many phones during my life in Regina, Black phones, red phones and one was a wall hung, cream colored, phone in the kitchen.

Doc loved to talk to his friends on the phone

I still have a land line phone with room for 50 contacts to speed dial. The I-Phones of today are simply awesome, you can do so much with a hand held phone, anywhere, anytime. Instant connection with family and friends.

My first job, working at the Royal Bank was my introduction to an adding machine. Well it was probably where I fell in love with accounting and the challenge to balance the receipts of the day as a bank teller. How have times changed? Some of the machines would lock up and a crucial time and over the the years I was faced with doing calculations by hand. Now you can have digital print instead of paper…..but in accounting you really need paper proof in some cases. I have had many calculators but all with paper.

My first association with computers was when I was with Deloitte Haskins and Sells (Now Deloitte). It was actually not exactly a computer but an input device that we send coded information to the head office in Toronto. This was done on a daily basis and in a week or two we would receive General Ledger updates for clients in financial statement format.

Not long after that real “8088” computers came into use and I bought my very own. By 1985 I was able to do the same type of financial statements. And how have things changed? Faster computers, better quality printers, beautiful large monitors, and fantastic accounting software programs.

My I-Pad is where I write.

I love my I-Pad

It is so easy to write with an I-Pad, where ever, when ever and you don’t make any noise to disturb other people. Messages, text, emails can all be recognized on arrival by the sound you pick for each. Photos are so easy to take with the size of the screen and editing is easy. I’ve written over 220,000 words in posts for this blog and I know it’s been much easier than if I had done the writing on my P.C.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about the changes in technology in my lifetime.

HAPPY CANADA DAY JUlY 1, 2020


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