10 Fascinating Old Things that Still Work

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1
The 61-year-old WITCH still calculates

The 61-year-old WITCH still calculates
If you are imagining a really old woman with a crooked nose zapping around on a broomstick, you are imagining the wrong kind of witch. The WITCH that we're talking about is actually the Hardwell Dekatron, a 61-year-old giant calculator that looks like something right out of Star Trek. The WITCH weighs over 2.5 tons, has over 10,000 moving parts and can work relentlessly for over 80 hours in a week without making a single mistake. It is made completely out of parts that were commonly available in a 1950s telephone exchange.

The calculator was initially used for mathematical modeling at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment in Harwell. It was eventually phased out, dismantled into 50 parts and put into storage. However, in November 2012, the device was put together again and is considered to be the world's oldest working digital computer.

The WITCH has not only defied death, but has literally come back from the grave. (Source 1 | Source 2 | Photo)


2
The light that never goes out

The light that never goes out
No, we're not talking about the light at the end of the tunnel. This is a regular filament light bulb that has been burning bright since the time of Edison himself, at a fire station in Livermore, California.

The light has achieved celebrity status and has its own Guinness World Record. It was installed in the Livermore Fire Station in 1901 and has been turned off only for about a week since then. It was designed by Adolphe Chailet whose bulb designs have been known to last longer than Edison's inventions.

The light has its own fan club, a CCTV camera and a website and if that wasn't enough, nobody knows how it still continues to burn. (Source 1 | Source 2 | Photo)


3
A 19th century motorcycle that people ride even today

A 19th century motorcycle that people ride even today
This is a motorbike that simply doesn't go out of fashion. What else can be the reason for a manufacturer to make the same model for over 50 years?

The history of the Royal Enfield dates back to 1891 to a small factory in England that produced some of the finest motorcycles of the time. The bike underwent some changes over time, until the formation of the "Bullet" model.

The company moved from England to India over the latter part of the 20th Century and the Madras based manufacturer has been reproducing the 1949 model motorcycle to this day. However, certain modifications have been introduced to keep up with the local laws and other specifications.

Royal Enfield the oldest continuously produced motorcycle in the world. The company is now eyeing a global expansion and has even come back to England after a very long time. (Source 1 | Source 2 | Photo)


4
The Old Bushmills Distillery is the oldest in the world

The Old Bushmills Distillery is the oldest in the world
Here's another thing that never goes out of fashion – Irish whiskey.

The Old Bushmills Distillery is located in Bushmills, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. This is where one of the world's finest Irish whiskeys has been produced for over 400 years. It is also home to the world's oldest distillery as claimed by the owners.

The governor of Ireland granted a license to Sir Thomas Phillips in 1608 to produce the whiskey. While many have commented that Bushmills may not be the oldest distillery, the lack of proof to support such arguments clearly awards the title to Bushmills.

The distillery continues to produce whiskey and has also been turned into a museum that is open to visitors. (Source | Photo)


5
A medival amusment park is still open to visitors

A medival amusment park is still open to visitors
This is where all the Medieval adrenaline junkies went to kill time after all the dragons had been slayed.

Klampenborg, located about 7.5 miles north of Copenhagen, Denmark, is home to a 400-year-old marvel known today as the Bakken Amusment Park.

The park contains over 100 rides including roller coasters, merry-go rounds, a tunnel of love, snack bars, open air restaurants and much more. The park was open to the public in 1583 and has been operational ever since. It also boasts a wooden roller coaster from 1932.

During the Medieval period, Europe was home to many similar parks such as Bakken, but most of these ancient pleasure gardens did not survive the test of time. The park preserves its good old charm even to this day, as only bicycles and horse drawn carriages are allowed inside, which makes Bakken a one of a kind amusement park. (Source 1 | Source 2 | Photo)


6
A university is established during the time of the Vikings

A university is established during the time of the Vikings
This was considered the "Ivy League" when Vikings were all the rage (859 AD).

Located in Morocco, the University of Kaureen has been certified by the Guinness Book Of World Records as the world's oldest university in continuous operation.

The university was founded in approximately 859 AD at a place called Fez in Morocco (and no not every one in Fez owns a fez). The University of Kaureen was initially established as a Mosque with a Madrasa (mosque school) and is over 200 years older than the University of Bologna (c. 1088 AD) which is considered to be the oldest University in Europe.

So, the next time you visit Morocco, you could actually take classes in the world's oldest university if that's the sort of thing that excites you. (Source 1 | Source 2 | Photo)


7
Is a vintage white wine from 350 A.D. drinkable?

Is a vintage white wine from 350 A.D. drinkable?
They say that wines get better as they age, but historians are debating on whether or not to open the world's oldest bottle of wine that has been on display at the Pfalz Historical Museum for over 100 years.

Nobody knows how this wine would taste even though it's not spoiled microbiologically. The curators are not sure how the wine and the bottle would handle being opened –  many are convinced it wouldn't be palatable.

The bottle in question was buried with a Roman noble in the German countryside and found sometime during WWI. Most historians agree it was buried in approximately 350 AD. (Source | Photo)


8
The Great Old Spruce of Sweden still stands after 9550 years

The Great Old Spruce of Sweden still stands after 9550 years
Sweden is home to the oldest living tree on earth. The tree is a 9550 year old spruce located on the Swedish mountain Fulu, in the Dalarna region. It was discovered by a group of researchers from the Umeå University.

The tree has fought climate change, competition from other surrounding fauna, the World Wars and has witnessed a great part of human history. (If it survives a few decades longer it might even see the end of human history.) (Source | Photo)


9
A monster wakes up after 30,000 years

A monster wakes up after 30,000 years
We're not talking about some Greek mythological monster here. Well, it is a monster, but of a size that is about a 100th of the size of a strand of hair. It was found frozen in the Siberian permafrost.

It was just another day in France when a group of scientists awoke a 30,000-year-old Pithovirus that was hungry and ready to infect after a very long sleep. You don't need to go shopping for Hazmat suits just yet – the virus is quite primitive and only affects single celled organisms like the amoeba. This discovery suggests that there might be more like it buried deep inside the permafrost.

The 1.5 micrometer long virus is among one of the largest and is also the oldest to wake from its dormant state and still retain its ability to infect. (Source 1 | Source 2 | Photo)


10
A beauty is reborn after 31,000 years

A beauty  is reborn after 31,000 years
Silene Stenophylla is an approximately 31,800-year-old plant that was brought back to life, much like the giant amoeba infecting virus we spoke about earlier.

The seeds of this plant were thawed from the Siberian permafrost by Russian scientists. They are likely to have been buried by prehistoric squirrels.

With a little care from researchers a prehistoric plant has been successfully resurrected. Researchers have been successful in fertilizing the plant with pollens and the once frozen plant now thrives. Looks like we may not be very far from space travel after all. (Source | Photo)

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