The Tech Queen Elizabeth II's Reign Has Outlasted

By Gary Cutlack on at

She's been at it for quite a while, the Queen. She's now beaten the monarch-being record of Queen Victoria, thanks to a combination of taking on the job young, wearing gloves so she doesn't catch colds off the commoners and today's advanced medical technology that keeps the rich alive.

So how has the world changed since she landed the job in 1952? What has she seen, politely smiled at, been given for free and never used? How much has come and gone while she's been prevailing?

Saturn V -- The moon rocket that was, like the Queen herself, built by Germans. During her lifetime we built a rocket to go to the moon, went there, realised it was a bit boring and that there was no toilet or shop, gave it a one-star review on Galaxiadvisor then never went back again. If she holds on for another 20 years she might even see us send a gurning idiot to Mars, funded entirely by advertising revenue.

Transistor Radio -- Blew up in the miniaturisation wave of the 1950s and let a couple of generations of youths steal music by listening to it for free by pulling it out of the sky. Much like todays kids do with Spotify, in fact. See also: DJs.

Concorde -- It flew for the first time in 1969 when the Queen was already probably quite bored of meeting sick people and doing a sad face in the proximity of flood victims, started taking passengers in the mid 1970s, then was sadly axed in the early 2000s after one crashed. It now takes one longer to get oneself to the former colonies than it did 30 years ago. A national disgrace.

Fax Machine -- It was the future, in the past. A method of sending written messages through the telephone lines! Imagine being able to command one's people to do one's bidding remotely, via a faxed letter, that takes only minutes to transfer. Incredible, for a bit, in the 1980s.

Calculators -- Specific machines for adding numbers were invented in the 1970s, and were the most interesting bit of technology children were allowed to own for the next two decades. They've now been replaced by phones, into which confused people can dictate sums to be remotely calculated and passed back -- just like the Queen herself might ask a minion to perform a basic task.

The Filofax -- Ideal for people who don't have a team of people organising their days and events, this exploded in popularity in the 1980s. Now only mad old ladies write phone numbers down in books.

VHS -- The public didn't have the ability to record her coronation in 1953, with the poor people of back then having to rely on their memories to remember things that happened. VHS rocketed and took over the world in the 1980s, before fading away and being replaced, for a short time, by less charming writeable DVDs. Now all media exists everywhere and we don't have to remember or savour anything, which at least frees up shelving in the living room.

Records, Tapes, CDs -- Getting iTunes credit for Christmas is not the same.

Floppy discs -- They weren't even floppy. How do we explain this to future generations?

Sony WALKMAN -- The branding lives on as a bullet point on a list of reasons why spending £600 on a telephone is a good idea, but dedicated music devices in general were a trend that came and went while the Queen was busy with her day job of naming cargo ships.

Nokia, Polaroid, Atari, Napster, Sega, 3DO -- Nokia's been and gone several times. Cables went from being knitted rope things to curly rubber things to things that barely exist any more, and the choice of ringtone has skyrocketed over the last 60-odd years. Polaroid was a huge thing then wasn't, as were so many makers of so many things.