The modern world revolves around the idea of disposable technology, the idea that we need to constantly upgrade and replace the things we own with something bigger and better that can also sync with our fridge. So we wanted to take a few minutes to talk about 10 items you could find in an average home that will likely outlive us all.
10. Lego Bricks
Judging by how many people seem to complain about stepping on them, Lego bricks are more common in American homes than spiders and are probably accidentally swallowed just as often. The thing that sets Lego apart from other toys is that they will pretty much last forever, in part because each individual brick is capable of withstanding 900 pounds of pressure. You could stamp on a brick as hard as you could and you’ll only damage your foot.
According to the Lego Group, high standards enforced during the manufacturing process result in less than 18 bricks out of every million molded end up being thrown away. Also, because both the manufacturing process and the material used have changed so little since Lego’s introduction, a Lego brick from 30 years ago would still fit with one molded this morning. In other words, Lego bricks are so well made that if you threw a bunch on your floor and then demolished your house, they’d still be there in the rubble 40 years later, ready to be stuck to some modern bricks.
9. Tonka Trucks
If you don’t think you have a Tonka Truck in your home, go check the building foundation. We can guarantee that about half the people reading this will have one holding up a wall or something. Tonka’s so cock-sure of how utterly unbreakable their products are that they’re guaranteed for the life of the original owner. There are rumors that only a handful of people have ever managed to successfully claim they broke a Tonka toy by playing with it.
There are stories across the web of people throwing these things down flights of stairs, leaving them outside for months and burying them in sand and mud with little to no apparent effect, and Hasbro themselves once had an elephant step on one just to see what would happen. The answer is not much. Tonka toys are so insanely difficult to damage that it’s not unheard of for these things to be handed down across generations like freaking family heirlooms.
8. George Foreman Grills
As smarter people than us have pointed out, the George Foreman Grill is a marketing anomaly — it’s a non-athletic product sponsored by a professional athlete that doesn’t suck. Think about it. Can you name another product out there with a famous person’s name on it that works as well as the George Foreman Grill? Unless you own a Jack LaLanne Juice Tiger, the only blender so metal it injured people, the answer is almost certainly hell no. Products sponsored by celebrities are invariably God-awful, because most of the money is put into acquiring the celebrity likeness instead of making a good product.
The George Foreman Grill, on the other hand, doesn’t have that problem because the guy who invented it spent years perfecting the design before pitching it to Mr. Foreman. According to those same super-smart business analysts we mentioned earlier, sales of the grills have been slipping because there’s literally no reason for customers to buy a new one. They’re so well made that grills sold 10 years ago are affecting the bottom line of the company that made them today, because they won’t break or stop making awesome burgers. We guess it makes sense that Foreman would only endorse something that can take a beating.
7. Nokia 3210/3310
Thanks to the internet, the durability of the humble Nokia 3210 (and its more popular brother, the Nokia 3310) is legendary. The 3310 sold in excess of 130 million units, and when you factor in the rest of the sales from the 3000 series it’s pretty much guaranteed that a lot of people reading this either owned one at some point or still have one tucked away in a drawer somewhere.
If you go and dig up that old Nokia, you can be pretty sure that it’s still going to work. Here’s a video of one being dropped three stories without breaking. Not good enough? Here’s a 3210 being hit by a sledgehammer. And here’s someone strapping explosives to a 3310, which goes about as well as you’d expect.
Nokia phones are so difficult to destroy thanks to the huge number of stress tests Nokia puts them through before releasing them to the public. These include, but aren’t limited to, dropping them onto concrete and having them manhandled by a giant robot hand. You know, real world scenarios.
6. Cassette Tapes
Cassette tapes look so flimsy that you assume they could be crushed with your hands, but they’re surprisingly robust. They continue to sell even to this day thanks to a combination of their cheapness and durability, the latter of which trumps even that of CDs. While CDs are notoriously easy to scratch if not properly looked after, tapes can be safely dropped and abused to your heart’s content and they’ll still continue to work in almost any condition. Though the quality of the material stored on them does degrade after time, this hasn’t stopped The Library of Congress’ National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped from using them for decades in lieu of CDs, which blind people apparently find harder to use.
Of course, like anything, the tapes will eventually wear out, but it’s impressive that you can still listen to music on a format people said was dead 20 years ago.
5. CRT TVs
The ubiquity of slim LCD and plasma TVs has pretty much killed the CRT market — the idea of someone having one in their home is quaint. However, CRTs are still top dog when it comes to a number of categories. While modern TVs may use less power and have a clearer resolution, CRTs have virtually no input lag, which makes them ideal for gaming.
CRTs are also notably more durable than other kinds of TVs — they’re able to survive being dropped, kicked and left on for extended periods of time. Here’s a video of someone throwing bricks at a CRT screen to see how many it takes to break it. The answer is five — would any TV on the market today take more than one? We’re going to guess that all those videos of people smashing their TV screens with Wii controllers wouldn’t have existed if people stopped using CRTs.
4. Zippo Lighters
Even if you don’t smoke you’re probably aware of what a Zippo lighter is because of how often they’re portrayed in the media, by which we mean that scene in Deep Blue Sea where LL Cool J uses one to blow up a super-smart shark.
But apparently after doing that Mr. J should have been able to walk over to the smouldering shark corpse and pick up his lighter for future use, because those things are nigh-impossible to break. If one is damaged, Zippo will repair it regardless of how old it is. Every single one has a lifetime guarantee.
What’s most impressive is that if they’re looked after properly, a Zippo’s wick (the part that actually sets on fire) can outlive its owner. Zippo lighters will also consistently work in rain, sleet and hail. In other words, if you bought a Zippo lighter today your grandkids could probably use it to light the fireworks at your rad space-funeral.
3. Fender Guitars
When it comes to guitars, few if any are as recognizable as the Fender Stratocaster. While they’re costly, they’re well-regarded as some of the finest instruments money can buy. They’ve also sold a crazy number of them, so it’s a safe bet that they’ve somehow found their way into a good number of homes across the globe.
Legend has it that to showcase their durability, salesmen would place one between two chairs and then jump up and down on it before picking it up and showing that it was still in tune. Other stories talk of people throwing these things off of roofs just to see if they’d still work when they hit the ground, which they did.
If properly cared for, Stratocasters will remain in working condition for decades. Not bad considering Leo Fender, the original designer, never actually knew how to play the guitar.
2. Flash Memory
We’re guessing that pretty much everyone reading this owns some kind of flash memory device. Maybe it’s an old memory stick you store college essays on, or maybe it’s the memory card in your phone. Either way, you’ve probably never worried about it breaking.
This isn’t just because most people worry about losing them first — it’s because actually destroying a flash memory device, or at least the information stored on it, is really hard. You can smash one with a hammer and throw it in a river and some nerd would still be able to find your selfies. The durability of the format is mostly thanks to the fact that flash memory devices contain no moving parts, which means there’s very little to break. So our memory sticks with our college work on it is going to remain useable far longer than the degree we earned with it.
1. Cast Iron Pans
If you’re at all serious about cooking, buy a cast iron pan. If you hate cooking and never want to worry about buying stuff for your kitchen ever again, buy a cast iron pan anyway because you will never need to replace it.
We don’t mean it will last 20 years. We mean if you have one, you can safely assume that you or a member of your family will be able to cook bacon with it for another two centuries. Because of their durability, it’s not unheard of for people to hand these things down across generations. There are even stories about people having ones from the 1850s in their kitchen that still works as well as the day it was made. Suck on that, Teflon!