They don’t make them like they used to! What’s your household item that just won’t give up?

PUBLISHED: 12:26 09 November 2019 | UPDATED: 10:45 10 November 2019

Julie Kemp still uses her trusty Kenwood mini chef mixer from 1980. Picture: JULIE KEMP

Julie Kemp still uses her trusty Kenwood mini chef mixer from 1980. Picture: JULIE KEMP

Julie Kemp

Do you have a cooker, vacuum cleaner or food mixer that’s decades old, and maybe even older than you are? What’s your oldest household item?

Sandra Gage's 100-year-old mixing bowls, pastry blender and honey/jam dish Picture: SANDRA GAGESandra Gage's 100-year-old mixing bowls, pastry blender and honey/jam dish Picture: SANDRA GAGE

Our staff and readers have been sharing details of their tried and trusted household items. Some people prefer to stick with the washers, dryers and cookers they know and love.

Mich Brighton of the Norwich Remembers group wishes he still had his old washing machine. He said: "My washing machine (until last year) was a 37-year-old Zanussi. Unfortunately they couldn't find the part. It was a lot better than my new one."

And Gabrielle Green, who lives near Hadleigh, wouldn't be without her 39-year-old Hotpoint tumble dryer. She said: "It works as good as the first day I got it. I bet the modern ones won't work as well or last as long."

Rita Gooch, another member of Norwich Remembers, said her oldest item "is my nan's wooden rolling pin. I've had it for about 47 years, don't know how long she had it before that. My mum has a full china dinner service including tureens etc, and a full bone china teaset, that she got as wedding presents in 1952, and she still uses them occasionally."

Paul Geater with his saucepan/steamer which dates from the 1950s Picture: ARCHANTPaul Geater with his saucepan/steamer which dates from the 1950s Picture: ARCHANT

And Joyce Hatton, also from Norwich, said: "I used last night to strain my vegetables a plastic dark brown colander, bought from Spoils in Norwich 40 years ago."

Grup member Michael Clarke said: "I have knives, forks and spoons from my Austrian ancestors, some of which I use every day. Each is engraved with their insignia."

Old cookers are treasured by some of us. Jenny Gibbs said: "Our Creda Cavalier cooker was bought new in February 1964 by my stepmother when she married my dad. They used it until they both passed away, when I inherited it, and have used it ever since.

"It still stands proudly in our kitchen and I am, indeed, very proud of it. To my eye, it still looks like new and cooks perfectly. Sadly, I don't have the receipt for the purchase, but can clearly remember my stepmother buying it in 1964 (when I was 21) and my dad saying to her 'What do you need a new cooker for'!"

Julie Kemp still uses this fan heater, which was a wedding present in 1982.Julie Kemp still uses this fan heater, which was a wedding present in 1982.

Julie Kemp, from Burgh, near Woodbridge, has two treasured items dating from the early 1980s. She said: "We still regularly use my Kenwood mini chef mixer, which my husband bought for me as an engagement present in 1980. We are still married, but I should have known then what he wanted me for! The mixer has been used many, many times to make my famous Victoria sandwich.

"We also still regularly use our Philips fan heater, bought as a wedding present in 1982. They certainly don't make things to last like this any more!"

Old saucepans are also used regularly by many people. Paul Geater still has a pudding saucepan/steamer dating back to the 1950s.

He said: "I still use a steamer which was given to my mother as a wedding present in 1952 - meaning it is now 67 years old! She passed it on to me in the early 1980s. It still works perfectly, so I have never needed to replace it.

Natalie Sadler's husband's tent, which is 37 years oldNatalie Sadler's husband's tent, which is 37 years old

"Admittedly, I now usually tend to use it only once a year, to cook the Christmas pudding, but it does that to perfection."

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Colin Reeve, of Wetheringsett near Stowmarket, said: "We have an electric clothes airing cabinet that dates to the mid to late 1950s. My mother also had one until she died a few months ago.

"We've been using it every week for 10 years or more and, despite a couple of minor breakdowns, it's still going strong. It is such simple 'technology' that I've been able to fix it myself when it has let us down and we'd not be without it. I doubt it'd be anywhere near able to meet modern safety standards, but for us it has been a Godsend."

Mark Langford with his pocket dictionary from the 1970s Picture: ARCHANTMark Langford with his pocket dictionary from the 1970s Picture: ARCHANT

Brenda Ferguson, from Saxmundham, still regularly uses a 'Spong National' mincer given to her mother as a wedding present in 1938. She said: "It works perfectly and I prefer it to the modern electric equivalent."

Ann Woodhouse from Norwich Remembers has a similar model, but said: "I used my cast iron Spong mincer today for the first time in years! It was difficult to fix to modern worktops, as they're now much thicker than a table, which it used to clamp on. Lots of washing up, think it's going back in storage."

Fellow-member Simon Kett said: "Mum still uses her mincer clamped to the kitchen table to mince up the Sunday roast leftovers. I showed her the one in the Bridewell and said, 'Look, it's a museum piece now!"

Mixing bowls are another favourite. Sandra Gage, of Ipswich, said: "My mixing bowls, pastry blender and honey/jam dish, now used as a butter dish, are all about 100 years old and all in regular use.

"I'll be making my Christmas cakes (I make for family and friends) in my grandmothers' mixing bowls this weekend!"

It's not all about kitchen equipment, though. Natalie Sadler's husband still uses a tent he bought as an eight-year-old, 37 years ago.

"I am not sure which is the biggest driver behind my husband's thrifty lifestyle - saving money or protecting the environment," she says.

"I was most shocked when we went to our first festival together and he took along his trusty three-man ridge tent, which is actually older than I am. He bought the Lichfield tent with the proceeds of his fruit picking money, aged just eight and he assured me it had never let him down.

"Sadly, a slightly inebriated festival-goer had tripped over a guy rope the year before, landed on the tent and ripped it. But he had sent it to his mum who used the tent bag to patch it up (you can see the patch over the left hand side of the porch). I have since convinced him to buy a slightly more spacious pup tent but he still tucks his old Lichfield into the boot for emergencies."

Mark Langford's favourite everyday older item is a small pocket-sized Collins Gem English Dictionary, in a 1979 reprint edition, which he acquired at school as a 13-year-old.

He said: "I still use it all the time. I do have a hardback Oxford dictionary, but it is very handy for a quick check on how to spell a word. I have used it all through my time as a journalist, since 1987."

Although we all like to be thrifty, however, some older items can be of limited use, due to changing times. Karina King commented on Facebook: "As I'm a mobile hairdresser, I have the hose that fits onto taps. Nowadays, though, the new taps don't fit!"

Also, some items do become unsafe with age. I used to preen myself on being thrifty and using the same old Christmas tree lights every year, until I saw a warning that old lights were more likely to start fires.

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