Ways People Used To Live Without Electricity

By Aaron Love 7 months ago

Oil Lamps And Candles

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There was once a time in which we didn't have the easy option of turning a switch on and off to provide us light to homes. Instead, oil lamps and candles were the important and only source for people to illuminate their homes and navigate there homes through the night.

Hand Powered Kitchen Appliances

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Long before the invention of electrical kitchen appliances like blenders and mixers, the only option people had of cooking up a storm in the kitchen was to use hand-cranked kitchen appliances. These gadgets were the only way to go about whipping up anything delicious in the kitchen.


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The backyard clothesline still hangs on today, it offers us a chance to save some cash on our electric bills, but back in the day people had to do this all year around! That's right, even in the winter months, the best chance people had of drying their clothes was using a clothesline.

More Reliant On The Postal Service

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We shouldn't underestimate the importance of the postal service in the current age, they still do a great job getting the important letters through to us when we need them. However, back in the day, they were everyone's lifeline to the outside world and helped maintain bonds with people further out.

Wood Stoves

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Wood stoves used to be the hart of many people's homes and acted as the hub of family life, people hung around the stove for heat amongst its main purpose. Obviously, the point of the stove was to act as the focal point for cooking and this is where all the food was prepared.

Laundry Was Hand Washed

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I'm sure there's a load of people who are extremely happy that this isn't still a thing, laundry is one of the most hated household chores out there. Back in the day they used to have to wash every individual piece of clothing by scrubbing them and then wringing them out.

Heated The Iron On A Stove

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People used to dress much more formally in the olden days, there wasn't really an option for people to go out and about in some comfy joggers or hoodies. Instead, every piece of formal clothing had to look top quality. Irons were heated on stoves and the whole ironing routine required a lot of patience.

Families Shared The Bathwater

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Thanks to the unavailability of having fresh running water right in to the bathtub in your home, people used to have a portable bathtub that would often stay in the living area of their homes. Water would be boiled using the stove and because it had to be brought manually many families shared the same bathwater.

Manual Typewriters

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I'm sure we've all seen the old school typewriters in action somewhere at some point or another. These were the only way to get documents down on paper unless you were handwriting them. each stroke of the keys required a lot of deliberate effort, there was no backspace option after all!

Horse Drawn Carriages

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You wouldn't be able to go down the street without hearing the clip-clop of the horse drawn carriages in a period where vehicles weren't yet popularised. These vehicles have now become a sign of a bygone era although they are still recognised as being elegant methods of transportation enjoyed during important ceremonies.

We Met Partners Whilst Out

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I know this might be a terrifying thought for some of you, but there was once an age before digital dating was a thing and we had to meet our partners the old-fashioned way. We would have to venture out in to the real world and enjoy social gatherings and dances in the hopes of finding the one.

Human-Powered Fans

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Believe it or not, fans have been around for a long time, but they weren't always as simple as they are in the current day and age. People instead had to protect themselves from sweltering heat by using hand-cranked or handheld fans. At least they had some form of relief instead of nothing!

Sewed Clothes By Hand Only

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Crafting clothing was once a huge job across the world, pretty much every piece of clothing that anyone wore would be stitched by hand with meticulous care. This whole process was obviously very time-consuming and required a lot of patience and skill to get enough garments out and about.

Sun Ovens

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Before electric and gas ovens were a thing, and even before people had the option of using wood stoves, people harnessed the sun to prepare their meals. These ovens were genius inventions and allowed for the reflective surfaces to direct the sun's energy towards cooking all the food they needed.

Use Of Outhouses

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In a time in which indoor plumbing was yet to even be discussed, outhouses were pretty much an essential part of people's daily lives. These little huts would be found out the back of homes and provided people with a safe and private place for them to relieve themselves of their own waste.

People Relied On Sunlight

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Before we had the option of streetlights to help us navigate and travel through areas at night, life was very much linked to the cycles of the sun. People would wake with the sunrise and sleep with the sunset; life was pretty much simpler and more predictable back then.

Ice Boxes To Keep Food Cool

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Before the invention and availability of the refrigerator, perishable foods were much more difficult to preserve. Iceboxes were an essential invention that was developed in order to try and keep food fresh. These coolers required constant deliveries of ice in order to guard the food and keep it all safe.

Newspapers Were The Only Source Of News

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These days we can quite quickly overwhelmed by the various sources of news around us; it can come from the television, radio and social media. However, newspapers used to be the primary and pretty much only source of information for people to find out about the ongoing events of the world.

Fireplaces For Heat

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As the winter arrived, people didn't use to have the option of turning on the heating in their homes. Instead, pretty much the only option they would have to keep themselves warm and comfy would be to gather around their fireplace and spend their time talking amongst the family.

Mechanical Telephones

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Before we all had the availability of smartphones to do pretty much everything in life, mechanical phones were the backbone of communication. These hand-cranked generators powered businesses and the more affluent homes to connect over longer distances and allowing information to be shared.

Manual Elevators

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Before we had the availability of electric elevators to help us climb buildings with multiple stories, manual elevators were the pinnacle of vertical transport. Human operators would control the ascent and descent of these elevators and they were much slower than what we're used too today.

Kids Had Mechanical Toys

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These days kids and the younger generation are growing up with a load of electronic gadgets and video games to keep them entertained. Back in the day though, children had to play with mechanical toys like wind-up cars and dolls and use their imaginations instead.

Crank-Up Record Players

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You've probably worked out by now that many of the devices we take for granted now used to require some human input to make them work.  These mechanical marvels had to have a personal hand crank in order for the music to come out and allow us to enjoy the moments.

Battery Radios

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In a time before digital streaming and smartphones we used to have to rely on battery operated radios to be the gateway to the airwaves. People would often tune in to the news on these radios as a way to get up to date information on the world and the crackling voice would emerge from the speaker.

Go Out And Drink

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Instead of just being able to talk to people on social media or via their phones, people used to have to always fill their social meter by going out and enjoying some drinks at the bar or head out for food instead. That would probably be the better way to go about things today right?

Smoked Meats

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I've already mentioned how there wasn't electric refrigeration at one point, and in order to try and preserve their food they would turn to smoking their meats and cheeses in smokehouses. These also made the food taste great so at least it didn't completely affect their diets.

Reliance On Animals

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Animals are very much just our companions in the current day and age, but back in the day they were actually much more than that. Horses and other beasts would be used for a whole range of purposes from transport, I've already mentioned as well as in farming too.

Manually Operated Power Tools

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We're obviously aware of the importance of power tools in the current day and age, they make construction and building in general much easier. But back in the day craftsmen were very reliant on their strength to use hand saws and drills. I'm sure they'd have loved to work in the current era.

We Walked A Lot More

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We are often all told to walk more often in order to try and improve our general health, but walking wasn't just a mode of transport, it was very much a way of life. You'd see no cars driving around, just horse-drawn carriages and a load of people of all ages walking up and down the sidewalks.

No Electric Trains

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Transportation was very much energised and developed by the post-electricity era; instead of electric trains people used to make longer journeys via steam and manually powered locomotives. You might still see some trains like this on the tracks today, but nowhere near as frequently.