What do tape decks, doorbells and flip phones have in common? Over time they’ve become completely irrelevant. They all were at one time another a necessity of our daily lives or at least appeared to be. At least tape decks and flip phones possess some utility. You can listen to music on tapes and you can still call someone on a flip phone. But there’s really absolutely no reason to have a doorbell.

At one time, doorbells were actually considered to be a luxury item reserved for those possessing a substantial estate that required a musical chime that permeated the house and notified servants of a visitor. Think Downton Abbey era of homes.

The first electrical doorbell was invented by Joseph Henry way back in 1831 where it was originally just a buzzer sound. Over time inventors tweaked the doorbell to make it more of a melodic ding-dong type of tone. According to DoorbellFAQ.com (yes, that’s a real site) by the 1920′s, doorbells were being advertised as the perfect wedding gift and even a necessity for housewives so they wouldn’t be startled by banging on the door.

Today you can buy wireless doorbells and even customize the tone that is played when someone rings it, but I would venture this is an unnecessary device.

When I bought my home the doorbell was already a wireless one that simply required you to change the batteries every once in a while. At some point in the last two years, the batteries died and I just didn’t replace them. And you know what? An amazing thing happened. People still found a way to let me know they were at the front door. If they didn’t hear the doorbell ring, they just knocked. If I didn’t hear the knock, they called my cell from their cell.

Why do we need doorbells? If you’re in an apartment building or living in a place in the city that requires you to buzz people in, I can fully understand the necessity of having one. But for single home owners, doorbells are just a thing that will eventually break and require you to replace.

There is something to be said about the fact that as a kid when you heard the doorbell ring, it sparked a little joy in your childish heart. You would run to the door with anticipation of who might be on the other side. But as we grow older, we become more jaded and the ding dong of the doorbell makes us wonder who’s bothering us now.

Maybe doorbells are for kids. What used to be a luxury item is now simply a means of childlike entertainment.

In any case, I’m sticking with the idea that doorbells are no longer relevant. Let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments.


Image courtesy of Flickr user wharman