Old Sayings

A great collection to add to anyone’s family history are the old-times says that you, your parents, grandparents or great grandparents used during their lives.

Depending on your age, many of these you will recognize and others not at all. Image young people under the age of 30 having any idea of these phrases and sayings.

Stay Tuned – referred to having the radio or television stations tuned into the correct frequency for good reception back when antennas were used.

Clean Slate – before ‘dry boards’ to write on in the classroom there was chalkboards and slate boards. So the class started each new day with a clean slate.

Drop a Dime – Back when people used payphones (pre-cell phones) the early cost to make a call was ten cents (a dime). So to make a call at a payphone, you put in a dime (drop a dime in the slot).

Been through the Wringer – now you have to go back many years to when the ladies used a wringer washing machine. After the clothes were washed, she placed each piece of clothing in-between wheels and turned the wheels to wring out the extra water in the clothes. It was hard work and when done the lady had been through the wringer.

Rolling down a Window – no power windows until more recent times. Instead, there was a window clank to roll each window down or up by hand.

Johnny Law – this is old also dating back to the 1930s. A DC comic book character was known as Johnny Law who caught the criminals. It came to be referred to any police officers from the 1930s into the 1950s.

Ring up a Purchase – no scanning the bar codes on purchases in a store, The cashier had to manual push in the amount of the cost for each item. When the total was to be completed a lever was pulled and a bell would ring.

Ditto – Mimeograph — this was used to make copies, not with a copy machine or scanner but special paper typed on then run through a mimeograph machine to make paper copies.

Go to the Flip Side – here after one song on a 45 rpm record, 7 inches in size played, you flipped over the small record to the other side to play the other song.

Make Sure to Rewind – this referred to taking the cassette tape or a VHS tape back to its beginning, a matter of being courteous.

Dial a Phone Number – No pushing small buttons or having a telephone already listed with a person’s name and number, you each time had to dial the full telephone number on a dial phone.

A Broken Record – this was when a 45 rpm or 35 rpm record skipped or repeated what it was playing, not finishing the song.

Seeing how many others you can come up with and do preserve them for future generations.

Photos: Slate board, telephone booth; cash register; mimeograph machine and a dial phone.

Related FamilyTree.com Blogs:

Origins of Sayings

Funny Sayings

Quaint Phrases

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