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Think your iPhone 6 is past it? Couple kept the same tumble drier for 55 years

Saunders 55-year-old tumble drier
David Hedges/BBC
Any piece of technology we own today, from smartphones to televisions to cars, often gets replaced much earlier in its life than it needs to be. Provided it still works, and is well-treated, most of our tech will last longer than we give it credit for, but still we tend to replace it within a matter of a few years. Not so for for Sydney and Rachel Saunders, who live in Exeter, United Kingdom, They purchased a tumble drier in 1962, have used it weekly ever since, and it still operates today.

That’s at least 2,860 spins for the Burco-branded tumble drier, which was produced in a very different time, making its service record impressive. The pensioners hit the local news in the U.K. with not only their working order, 55-year-old tumble drier, but also a collection of other household products that have really stood the test of time. Joining the drier is a Servis washing machine and a Baby Belling cooker, both purchased in 1956, when the couple first got married. Also in the collection are a pair of electric irons, and a water boiler. The tumble drier has been used right up until this year, but the washing machine and cooker had been retired years ago.

Fascinatingly, they recall the prices paid for these items. The Baby Belling cooker cost 19 British pounds, or about $25 at today’s conversion rate, and the washing machine was expensive for its day at 60 British pounds, or nearly $80 today. The old Servis washing machine’s history can be traced on Servis’s website. The model, called a Superheat, boiled the water inside the vertical tub, automatically emptied the water when it finished, and had an electric wringer mounted on top. This YouTube video shows a similar model in action. Mind your fingers!

The couple have kept the machines all this time in case their newer models ever broke down, but have now decided it’s time they went to another home. “It would be an awful shame to throw them away,” 81-year-old Rachel told the BBC, and while they don’t want money for the items, they hope a museum or collector would come forward. We thing they’ll be sought after, as online fan communities for such appliances exist, and vintage household electrical goods are often sold on eBay today.

We often think nothing of replacing our smartphone after two years, or a television after five years, and would likely marvel at seeing someone using an original iPhone 3G on the street today. Finding it hard to put all this into context? How about this: Using Mr. and Mrs. Saunders’ Burco tumble drier today is essentially the same as you still using your iPhone X or Galaxy S8 in the year 2072.

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