Better and Worse [NOT 27/1/23]

The More Things Change, The More They Change

Ford Truck
Ford Motor Co. truck / Between 1910 and 1926 / Source:

Things That Are Better Quality? Things That Are Worse?

We all know that some things are technically better than they used to be simply based on their features. The classic example is the current laptop which has about a zillion times as much processing power than the old room-sized computer.

But set aside the question of tech, and let’s talk about things that are better quality than they used to be, or things that are worse.

Cars are one example. It used to be a miracle when a car made it to 100,000 miles. Axles were constantly shattering, bodies would regularly rust out everywhere but Southern California, and the quality control on many moving parts was just plain bad. Today it’s pretty much taken for granted that 100,000 is just middle age for a car, assuming it hasn’t been in an accident.

Which is not to say that every part of a car is better. Spare tires and jacks are often worse, getting whittled down to save weight along with a lot of other bits like headlights.

Old power saw
Sawing Wood With Gas Engine / Between 1912 and 1930 / Source:

I recently used an old circular saw, and it was a piece of garbage compared to a new one. It was about twice as heavy, no more powerful, and all of the extra metal in the body and guard didn’t make it seem any more rugged or safe. It was built like a tank, which isn’t a good thing — tanks are cumbersome, slow, and need tons of maintenance.

On the other hand, I’ve heard that new Kitchenaid mixers pale in comparison to older ones — worse motors, cheaper construction, and greater odds of seizing up or burning out than ones built in the 1970s.

So tell us, Deadsplinterusers, about things you use that seem to be better made, better engineered, and more durable than in the past, or stuff that is just worse than they used to be. Clothes, shoes, whiskey, house paint…



  1. Well… Being a model nerd… Model kits have become more precise, better fitting with more accurate detail.

    The most expensive kit I’ve seen is a 1/32 Lancaster Bomber kit originally made for Peter Jackson’s (yes the Lord of the Rings director) lamented late model company that costs $699 USD. Need a garage to show it.

    The price also jumps from 5 bucks to 100+

    • I think that’s right, which is odd to me, because there is definitely a market for higher quality kitchen goods. I think it’s much easier to find good chef’s knives these days than it used to be.

  2. Most old pre-70s house construction was so much better than current construction.  Even high end builders cut corners on almost everything.  Most household gadgets are built to break whenever they are out of warranty.  We had an old mixer from the 60’s my wife got from her mother that just recently gave up.  She still has her sewing machine though in fairness that is not highly used.

  3. I think a lot of older appliances were better made in the sense that there were fewer complex parts and fewer things that could break, despite new ones have cooler new features.

    Classic example – washers and dryers. I use an old Admiral washing maching that my parents bought when I was in high school. It has no fancy functions. I have friends with newer washers that have all sorts of settings and sensors and wifi and whatnot and they are not as sturdy.

    • My instinct in SNAFUs is to immediately start looking up the chain of command.

      Figure out why the people up the chain of command were OK with these people having guns and clubs 24x7x365 and you’ll know why this particular incident at this particular time happened.

      • My guess is that the interview questions were along the lines of “Have you ever used or sold drugs?” and not “What would you do if someone said ‘Fuck you, I’m not going to jail?’”

    • Can we at least put “are you a psychopath?” on  the police application?  They will get the book thrown at them because they are black but hard to stomach & watch!

  4. clothes used to be better quality….i have shirts that survived 20 some years of wearing and washing and are holding up faded but fine….stuff ive bought recently seems to disintigrate within the year…. jeans likewise

    tho…i guess quality is still out there….but you have to search it out.. high end brands are no guarantee

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