What is the oldest electrical product still being manufactured?

I took the Tube into work this morning as it was raining, and noticed the monitor stations located next to the ticket barriers. Inside is what looks to be a damned old CRT-like monitor showing mere white numbers on a black screen, like DOS used to do.

I guess that kind of technology is sufficient to manage whatever it’s doing, so fair enough, I guess. But is somewhere still making these things?

So, as the title, really. Is there a product say, from the 70s, that is still being made with largely the same components and/or casing, or with slight miniaturisation, today?

If you’re actually looking for electrical products, then lightbulbs or heaters would probably qualify. If you’re looking for electronics … I don’t know.

Hewlett-Packard claims its HP 12C financial calculator is the oldest consumer electronic device still in production. It was introduced in 1981.

Copper wire.

Electric guitars and tube amplifiers perhaps?


Also, arsenic.

This. Electric guitar and bass models introduced in the '50’s are still being made to the original specs, and although the electronic components inside the instruments are now mostly slightly different than then, many players seek out the thoroughly-50’s tech by getting vintage instruments or ones made painstakingly like the originals, inside and out.

I would agree that as a fully fledged produce, rather than just a component, something like a Fender Bassman would be hard to beat. 60 years old, the amp is now, if anything, more accurate to the original than ever. Arguably the definitive version is the 1959 version, but overall the amp has changed very little over the decades. There are also reproduction amps from boutique manufacturers that seek to be excruciatingly accurate to the original. Right down to oil filled capacitors and carbon composition resistors mounted on turret boards. Reproduction transformers is also a thriving business - manufactures like Mercury Magnetics trying to reproduce every detail.

In a similar vein, microphones have a long heritage. A Neumann U47 - introduced in 1949 - is largely the same device as the modern U87 - albeit with modern versions using semiconductor amplification rather than the original tube. (The Telefunken VF14 tube can sell for $1000 each to studios intent on keeping thei vintage U47s alive.)
But beating that would be the RCA 44A - introduced in 1932, this mic is still made by boutique manufacturers and prized for its sound. Ribbon mics in general are pretty much the same design as they always were, albeit with a couple of materials tweaks.

The electric lightbulb, now being phased out in the US, has been basically unchanged for something like a hundred years.

the incandescent lightbulb is not being phased out in the USA. some sizes and styles will not be allowed. there are some sizes and styles that will continue.

More accurate to the original than the original itself?

Do lightning rods count?


Over time there were variations, many being more about making it cheaper than anything else. Later there were “re-issues” that were closer to the original. Some aspects of the original design can’t be reproduced for safety reasons. (Live chassis and the “death capacitor”). Some boutique versions really are almost more original than the original. I wonder if one could use that as an ad slogan…

Great ad slogan:

Now more the same than ever!

Car battery chargers haven’t changed in my lifetime. The cheaper ones still have analog meters, and a slide switch to switch between current settings.

American Beauty soldering irons have been around a *long *time. I think since the 1920s. They’re still made, though the company has a different name vs. the original.


The first electric guitar was made in 1932. The Theremin came out in 1928 and it’s still being made.

But are the Theremins available today (that Wiki article lists a number of manufacturers) made just the same as the 1928 model, or just applying the same principle? The world’s first electric guitar doesn’t apply, either, as that particular make and model is not produced today. The electric guitars makes and models of the mid-50’s are.

They should, and this should be the winner.

while theremins, electric guitars and amplifiers there are likely at least component changes.

you can get crystal radio AM receiver kits with original type components.

electrical switches in a knife switch form still are made.