Ever discover that your new fangled gadget just doesn't work as well as the one you replaced? Despite modern technology, some older products work better than their present-day counterparts.
"For more mechanical types of items that don't require a computer chip to run, there are certain products that were just built to last," says Nickey Skarstad, seller education specialist at Etsy.com. [Some older products] are incredibly well-made, super heavy-duty and not predominantly made of cheap plastic materials."
What's more, many older products can be purchased at a fraction of the price relative to newer models. If you have any of these items collecting dust in your attic or basement, they may be worth a second chance.
Well-built fans with metal blades, like Lakewood fans from the early 1990's, are made with strong motors and stronger blades that push more air for the same revolutions per minute than most fans you'll find today with plastic blades. You can find good quality vintage fans for $30-$50 online. A similar new window fan — with flimsier construction — can cost more than $60.
Another product worth salvaging is vintage sewing machines. Many professionals and hobbyists appreciate that an older machine is easy to use, easy to repair, and made of heavy-duty, metal parts. Today, most affordable machines contain plastic components that aren't designed for heavy fabrics or prolonged, lifetime use. Best of all, vintage machines can be found at garage sales, thrift shops or for free in your grandma's attic.
New Singer machines range between $150 and $500, but vintage Singer sewing machines listed on eBay or Craigslist go for an average $50 to $150.
"Older sewing machines will give you fewer stitch options, but if all you need is a workhorse, a brand like Singer made prior to 1980 or any older Bernina, Viking or Pfaff machine is going to be an excellent choice," says Skarstad. "Just be aware that these machines require a bit more care and maintenance. For the best results, you'll need to clean and oil it regularly."
Though you can readily find cast iron today, chefs vow that an older, well-seasoned pan will outperform a new one any day. Sanding down and re-seasoning can easily restore vintage pans. Just oil and bake for an hour at 350 degrees.
Vintage Audio Equipment
Enthusiasts consider American-made audio equipment from the 1950s or 1960s, such as amplifiers and record players, timeless. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on new equipment you may often find similar sounding audio equipment for $25 dollars at a garage sale, which might have cost you thousands to buy new.
Older speakers are a great value as well, as long as they work — speakers are sensitive and less likely to survive, so just be sure to test before you buy. Try resources like audiokarma.org or audioclassics.com to find out if the equipment you are about to purchase is worth the price.
Solid wood pieces made in the 1930s through the 1960s can be an exceptional value over the cheaply made, flat-pack furniture of today. In fact, certain design features are highly coveted by collectors, such as collapsible or expandable styles made popular in the 1950s and 1960s that aren't as easily found today.
"When you're looking for quality vintage furniture, keep an eye out for eaves, joinery, embellishments, carvings and quality wood," says Skarstad. "However, it's relatively easy and inexpensive to repair a piece of wobbly furniture, paint it a new color, or replace missing hardware — so don't let superficial imperfections get in the way of a great value."