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    Agriculture and Foodstuff 
  • The foodstuff we commonly see today like bananas and apples weren't there in our ancestors' tables. Centuries of farming and trade had changed the images of food we see today that you might not recognize their wild counterparts.
  • Believe it or not, the modern image of roses is fairly recent. The cultivar we commonly see today are called hybrid tea roses, and were first grown in the 19th century. Early depictions of roses were non-spiral and were often coloured pink, by which many languages still call the colour pink as rose-coloured (German for example has "rosa", which is a faint, bright red, while "pink" is understood as a strong and saturated colour, very similar to magenta).
  • The foodstuff we commonly consume today would have had different labels and types of ingredients decades ago. Years of reformulation of ingredients and changing of labels while retaining the core ones had made the product so different today that one's generation of knowing the product would differ from another's. For instance, Coca-Cola, not counting the "New Coke" reformulation fiasco during The '80s, has had formula changes since its inception in 1886. Coca-Cola's original formula used to have cocaine and kola nut extracts in it, hence the namesake, and it was originally consumed as a medical tonic.
  • Chocolate in general was originally consumed as a drink. The bar form only came during the mid-19th century. And the original Aztec recipe was bitter and spicy. Since the Aztecs didn't have sugar or milk, to make the drink sweeter, they added vanilla and/or honey into the mix.
  • Doritos were introduced in 1966, but the iconic nacho cheese flavor didn't debut until 1972; until then, Doritos were plain, salted tortilla chips. This version is still sold as "Toasted Corn" in some markets.
  • Instant ramen was originally considered a luxury food item in Japan when it debuted in the desperate post-war period.
  • Lobster was considered peasant food for 18th century Americans due to their abundance in New England and how lobster meat survived canning.
  • German cuisine didn't contain potatoes, Italian cuisine didn't contain tomatoes, Hungarian cuisine didn't contain paprika and nobody in Paris smoked tobacco before 1492.

    Art & Architecture 
  • Originally, the Statue of Liberty, being made of copper, was brown-gold, likely with green splotches. Now it's all green, due to the copper accumulating a thick layer (or patina) of verdigris. Note, however, that this wasn't entirely unexpected; copper often develops a patina, which protects the edifice and (quite frankly) does look rather nice and dignified. Indeed, people only really started noticing the patina on the Statue of Liberty around 1900, but when it finished covering the monument's exterior (around 1906), Congress wanted to paint it, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said that the patina served to protect the skin of the statue and "softened the outlines of the Statue and made it beautiful." The interior was painted (to prevent nastier forms of corrosion), but the considered decision of everyone was that the Statue should look like this—and the people making the decision had seen and in many cases grown up with it being all shiny copper, so although the weirdness of the shiny statue is definitely a thing for us, the people of the time probably made their decision well.
  • This trope also applies to the original World Trade Center (otherwise known as the Twin Towers) which once stood in Lower Manhattan of New York City. Upon being completed in 1973, the North Tower was equipped with an off-center temporary antenna for around 5 years before the more familiar looking 360 ft. antenna was erected in 1978.
  • Picasso's early paintings, while quite weird in their own right, look little like the cubist work he is remembered for.
  • Believe it or not, the colors of Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" used to be vibrant with a rosy skin tone, a rich contrasting red and green silk dress, and a vivid blue background. She also used to have eyebrows. The colors only became muted due to aging, exposure, cleaning, and multiple layers of varnish yellowing the canvas.
  • While written music is much older, the core concepts that most people know it by today — five-line staffs, bass and treble clef, time signatures, minor and major keys — did not begin appearing until the 16th century. Rhythm was instead determined by rhythmic mode, and songs were in one of different musical modes instead of specifically minor or major. (That said, modes have not gone away entirely, as many modern pop songs are in modes such as Dorian or Mixolydian, and many churches still use rhythmic modes for chants.)
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    Automobiles and Transportation 
  • The trans-European Airbus concern is one of the two leading commercial aircraft manufacturers today, but the initial founding of Airbus and their first airplane, the A300, released in 1973, was met with general disdain and ridicule by the aviation industry. A Boeing executive dismissed the A300 as a "government airplane" and predicted Airbus would quickly go out of business. It wasn't without merit though, because Airbus was a joint venture between European companies that manufactured planes widely considered second-rate to their American counterparts, and received such low orders for their planes that by 1977, they were fighting for survival. That same year, Airbus co-founder Roger Béteille bet the farm on a wild idea. He built a strong friendship with former astronaut and Eastern Airlines CEO Frank Borman over their shared love of aviation, and Airbus ended up loaning Eastern four planes for six months with the promise Airbus would take them back free of charge if they were dissatisfied, basically forcing Eastern to try the A300. Eastern ended up ordering 23 A300s and other airlines quickly followed. At that point, Airbus became a serious contender and surpassed McDonnell Douglas as Boeing's primary rival.
  • Amtrak during its "rainbow era" did not have a unified livery for its trains and used several different types of rolling stock, taken over from the passenger operations of the private railroads it replaced. Also true of other railways produced by mergers, such as Canadian National and Conrail.
  • 1913: aircraft and airship engines, 1922: airplanes, 1923: airplanes and motorcycles, 1929: airplanes, motorcycles and cars, 1945: cooking pots and brakes, 1948: motorcycles, 1952: motorcycles and cars. Nowadays, very few people tend to think of cooking pots when you mention "BMW".
  • Honda cars:
    • While Honda has been a stalwart part of the automotive world since the 1970's, their early automobiles were downright bizarre owing to the influence of founder Soichiro Honda, a brilliantly idiosyncratic engineer and inventor with a strong personality. 1963's S500 roadster was essentially a motorcycle with four wheels and a body, featuring rear wheels that were driven by a chain like a motorcycle instead of a differential like most passenger cars. Honda's first midsize car, by the Japanese standards of the time, was not the Accord, but the Honda 1300 from 1969. The 1300 featured a complex dry-sump lubrication system and Soichiro demanded it to be air-cooled, which made the car expensive and suffer from engineering delays. The 1300 was a sales failure, to the level Honda determined that if their next car failed, they would exit automobile manufacturing. Their next car had to be good, competitive in the Japanese market and competitive abroad. Honda ended up creating a water-cooled, front-wheel drive subcompact in the spirit of the original Mini Cooper, released in 1972 called the Civic. Honda's modest export intentions to the United States were shattered tenfold when the Civic became extremely popular at the start of the 1970's energy crisis, owing to its quality, economy and reliability. Honda then built on that formula to great success.
    • The first Accord was released in 1976 after Honda customers clamored for a larger vehicle than the Civic. Early proposals for what would become the Accord would have Honda engineers propose everything from a Volkswagen Scirocco-esque sports coupe to a six-cylinder competitor to the Ford Mustang. Due to Honda's earlier brush with automotive oblivion, it was determined that a larger version of the Civic was guaranteed to be a success, and the first Accord was, for all intents and purposes, a Civic scaled up to be a full compact car. Compare that to later versions such as the 2008 Accord, which was considered a full-size car by the United States EPA.
  • From the 1950's until the 1990's in North America, imported prestige car manufacturers such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Acura would offer base-level cars that featured such oddities as crank windows and manual door locks. The first Lexus LS400 was available with cloth seats. This partly had to do with how import luxury brands usually marketed their cars, touting the superiority of their engineering, quality and driving experience unlike domestic luxury brands marketing on features and image. Those vehicles were popular amongst driving enthusiasts on a budget, but could never exist in the current day, where prestige cars are primarily marketed on brand image, technology and amenities.
  • Toyota Motor Corporation:
    • The company began as the automotive branch of the Toyoda Automatic Loom Works. The latter is still a leading manufacturer of sewing machines and textile manufacturing equipment, as well as automotive parts for the automobile manufacturer.
    • The first-generation Prius looked nothing like the more famous cars bearing that name. It was a compact sedan rather than a hatchback/wagon, its styling looked derived from the Corolla, and many of its most iconic design cues would only come in with the second-generation model.
    • By the 1990's, Toyota had the best selling car in the United States with the Camry, a plant in Kentucky and Indiana with other plants being constructed in other states, and became an undeniable part of the American landscape and economy. However, their first effort, the Toyopet Crown from 1958 was widely rejected because of its silly name, small size and slowness that made it dangerous to drive on a highway. Undeterred, Toyota pressed on with the larger Corona, fortified for American tastes. It became popular, and Toyota realized that they could have success selling vehicles intended for the North American market.
  • In 1948, after the close of World War II, Henry Ford II was approached by the British, who controlled occupied Wolfsburg and was offered a car factory. His executives advised him to reject it. The factory in question, Volkswagen, would become the fourth-largest automaker in the world by 1956.
  • Very early railway networks were typically private ventures that were eventually either nationalised or brought under a single umbrella:
    • The New York Subway as it exists today was originally three separate networks that were brought under city control in 1940: Interborough Rapid Transit, Brooklyn–Manhattan Transit, and the Independent Subway System, of which only the latter was actually owned by the city. This arrangement has a visible legacy in the system today: Interborough Rapid Transit was created to build an underground railway, which means it has a loading gauge narrower than Brooklyn–Manhattan Transit's, who were formed after a consolidation of several elevated rail lines. Former IRT lines are known as the 'A Division' (easily recognizable by their line bullets being numbers), and remain incompatible with trains designed for the the 'B Division' that forms the remainder of the network.
    • The Berlin U And S Bahn consists of three different parts, the "Schmalprofil" with a narrower loading gauge, the "Breitprofil" with a wider loading gauge and what is today U4 which was built by the then-independent city of Schöneberg. The Schmalprofil lines were built by private ventures to standards more akin to the pre-existing (mostly private) streetcar lines. The Breitprofil were government ventures from the get-go and it was deemed (rightly it turned out) that wider trains would be needed than on the surface to carry the bigger passenger loads. The government, having deep coffers, could afford the extra cost.
    • The London Underground as a unified rapid transit system didn't exist until 1902 with the formation of the Underground Electric Railways Company of London, which unified the three "deep level" tube lines that existed at the time and gradually expanded to become the present day London Underground. Before then, the lines as we know them today were private ventures which often competed with each other, and their main goals were usually to allow trains from further afield to travel deeper into the city than they otherwise could have using the big surface terminus stations. It was only after the London Underground began to take shape that the lines were made independent from the National Rail network and their purpose largely shifted to short-distance rapid transit. For a remnant of the old concept today, notice how far afield the Metropolitan Line travels before entering the tunnels.
      • The Jubilee Line originally terminated at Charing Cross station. When the Jubilee Line Extension was being built, it was decided that Charing Cross was too inconvenient of a location to continue the line from, and so the line was instead redirected from Green Park to Westminster and beyond, bypassing Charing Cross and leaving the Jubilee Line station there disused after just 20 years. Today, that station still has its use as a siding to store trains, and as a filming location (if you're watching a scene that takes place in a modern-looking Underground station, there's a strong chance that it's the Jubilee Line platforms at Charing Cross).
      • The Docklands Light Railway had a very different feeling in its initial incarnation. Some of this stems from its very cheap construction; early stations were very uniform and small in their design, with the trains themselves generally running as a single unit. The DLR also opened with a completely unique design language different from the rest of London's transport at the time: Rockwell was the font used for station signage, with blue and red decorating trains and stations. Over time, these elements calmed down as the DLR switched to incorporating very similar signage and architecture to that of the London Underground.
  • Deutsche Bahn had a vastly different color scheme during the Bundesbahn days with the now iconic red (for local trains) and white (for long distance trains) taking decades to replace green and other colors. The first generation High Speed Rail ICE also didn't come with the subdued blues and grays on the interior that they are known for today.
  • The Chevrolet Corvette is best known for its roaring V8 engine, aggressive transmission, and sporty (to varying degrees of accuracy) handling. The first few years of the first generation Corvette (1953-1962), however, came only as a convertible, had an inline six engine, a smooth but slow two speed automatic transmission, and a soft suspension, making it drive more like a personal luxury car than a sports car. The early cars were also hand-built and very spartan; there was only one choice of color (red and white), no proper side windows, and interior door handles were an optional extra. The car didn't get its trademark V8 or a manual transmission option until 1955.
  • The BMW M3/M4 from the E30 came with an inline 4 engine, mainly due to homologation requirements. The other generations would use inline 6 the car is associated with (with the E90/2/3 generation being the exception, which uses a V8).
  • McLaren Automotive
    • Their very first road car, the F1, uses a naturally aspirated 6 litre V12 BMW engine derived from the E31. Their cars following the F1 would use twin-turbo V8s.
    • Their first car as a proper manufacturer was the MP4-12C, whose name uses the same basis as their older Formula 1 race cars. Its successors would either use as their name templates "horsepower + specification" (570S,675LT, 620R), a single name (Elva, Senna, Speedtail) or a derivative of the legendary F1 (P1).
  • Ford Motor Company:
    • When Ford unveiled the Falcon, Americans would only get a generation throughout the entire '60s. But in the Land Down Under, the car would get Aussie-designed successors up until 2016 - and those weren't sold in the States, mind you.
    • When it was introduced in 1964, the Mustang was marketed mainly to women as a sporty compact car and sold with only a V6 or a small-block V8. The first Mustang was sold to a 22-year-old schoolteacher named Gail Wise who was looking for a cute convertible, and ads called it the "sweetheart of the supermarket set" and said that it would be "extraordinarily considerate of a girl's feelings" while emphasizing its affordability and practicality. Gearheads found that it was also a highly capable sports car, and later marketing was directed at them; by the end of the '60s, it had become a big-block V8 machine competing with the era's full-sized muscle cars. The Mustang II in The '70s, an attempt to take the car back to its sporty compact roots, became a notorious Dork Age, and in 1978 the "Fox body" Mustang was introduced, slowly but surely brought back the horsepower in The '80s once the energy crises were in the past, and never looked back.
  • Porsche's most known car in their early days was the 356, which would be succeeded by the 911, which would be succeeded by... seven more generations of 911s, which run to this day!
    • Actually, they had another successor in mind: the front-engined 928, but it would last for 18 years!

    Businesses 
  • Nintendo was founded in 1889 as a card company that produced and sold hanafuda playing cards (which they still sell today, albeit only in Japan). Over the course of several decades, they attempted to branch into various businesses. At first, these didn't stray too far from the original (they started manufacturing Western-style playing cards, and still produce them for the Japanese market). Over time, the ventures grew more diverse, including a taxi service and, infamously, a series of failed love hotels, before they finally made it big as a video game juggernaut/console developer in the 1980s.
  • Before the Sega Genesis/Sega Mega Drive found its success with Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega initially gained steam by selling a slew of sports games.
  • Early J. C. Penney stores were only about the size that a larger dollar store would be today, and they sold only clothing. No salons, bedding, or jewelry, not even the now-defunct auto parts and service, electronics, appliances, or sporting goods departments. A few older smaller locations still persist due to Grandfather Clause, including the original location in Kemmerer, Wyoming.
  • Sears wasn't originally a department store; from its founding in 1886 until 1925, it was exclusively a mail-order catalog.note  Among the things you could order back then were various houses, or at least kits to build them.
  • Founded in 1670, making it the oldest company in North America, the Hudson's Bay Company has undergone dramatic changes over its nearly three and a half centuries in operations. Founded as a monopoly over the fur trade in Rupert's Land, territory the company owned and ran between 1670 an 1870 before being ceded to Canada, today the company now operates retail, with subdivisions specializing in clothing, home appliances and department stores both general and luxury. Its territory has expanded dramatically as well, with chains in the US (Lord and Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue) and Germany and Belgium (Galeria Kaufhof).
  • Originally, FYE stores were much larger, like Tower Records or Media Play (both now defunct). Some of them even sold books. Also, they had a bright yellow logo. In 2001, parent company Trans World began phasing out the superstores in favor of rebranding all of its smaller, often mall-based stores (including Record Town, Camelot Music, Strawberries, The Wall, Disc Jockey, and Coconuts) under the FYE banner, at which point the logo was changed to a blue... guitar pick? Lozenge? Single eyeglass lens? The store shifted again in The New '10s to a more diverse format as downloads and streaming decimated sales of physical CDs and DVDs, thus causing FYE to put a greater focus on pop culture merchandise (T-shirts, posters, toys, collectibles, etc.) and absurdly-sized amounts of junk food. The resulting merchandise mix is more akin to a Spencer's or Hot Topic, and this shift coincided with a second logo change.
  • Spencer's itself went through a massive change. Originally they were known as "Spencer Gifts" and sold inoffensive gag gift and novelty type merchandise. Throughout the 1990s and onward, this shifted to a much racier mix of pop-culture merchandise, body jewelry, lingerie, and adult novelties.
  • Kohl's was originally a supermarket chain in Wisconsin, and did not open department stores until 1962. And their first department stores were more comparable to an all-purpose discount store like Target. But in The '80s they sold the grocery stores to the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (A&P) and acquired the short-lived MainStreet department store chain (which was piloted by Macy's in Chicago, Detroit, and Minneapolis-St. Paul), adopting the latter's business practices to become the more fashion and housewares-oriented department store they've been ever since.
  • The first McDonald's stores didn't have seating or drive-thru windows. Their most familiar design with mansard roofs didn't come along until the early 1970s, with drive-thru windows coming not long afterward — sometimes leading to some awkward retrofits or hasty store relocations. The mansard, outside some coloration changes, mostly stayed the same until it was replaced in The New '10s by a boxy gray style called "Forever Young". Very early on, they served hot dogs instead of hamburgers (and, even after the burgers came along, roast-beef sandwiches and fried chicken for a while, too).
  • Abercrombie & Fitch was originally a mail-order sporting goods and sportswear store dating back to the late 19th century. After languishing in the 1970s and 1980s under the ownership of sporting goods retailer Oshman's and dwindling to three stores, it was taken over in The '90s by The Limited, who re-tooled it into the preppy teen-oriented clothing store format by which it gained its greatest fame.
  • The Gap family of brands went through this entirely. Gap originally sold jeans, brand-name clothing, and albums before becoming a more upscale private-label brand in 1986 (while dropping "The" from its name). Banana Republic originally sold safari clothing before Gap bought it and Re Tooled it into a luxury clothing retailer. Old Navy began as an outlet store called Gap Warehouse, and even kept the warehouse-like look for a time before becoming the generic and more polished clothing store it's been ever since.
  • While the idea of it being a place to watch movies and TV shows in the internet has existed since its inception, Netflix first began its first decade or so as a DVD rental site. Think Blockbuster but solely online and with the movies sent to you via the mail. Netflix still sells DVDs, but it’s hardly acknowledged or noticeable, with the format being all but obsolete as a result of the streaming service that the company is now known for and helped popularize.
  • Walmart:
    • Early stores were barely the size that a modern "supercenter" store's grocery department alone would be now, with no auto repair, pharmacy, jewelry, restaurant, or groceries in sight (a scant few such stores still operate this way due to Grandfather Clause, primarily in small towns in and around their home state of Arkansas). Also, the first logo had an "Old West" font. And going a step further, early supercenters were more akin to the European-style hypermarkets, in that they were practically entire shopping malls compressed into one store — they even had food courts! Only a few "Hypermart USA" locations were built before the Flawed Prototype was tweaked into the "supercenter" format of today.
    • Sam's Club didn't exist until The '80s, and didn't really take off until the 1990s. The earliest ones were usually located closer to offices or other industrial/commercial ventures, and had smaller barn-shaped buildings. Most of their expansion was fueled by purchasing Kmart's short-lived membership warehouse chain Pace Membership Warehouse, which gave Sam's a basis for larger and more convenient stores.
    • For many years, those that had restaurants almost exclusively had either a scaled-down McDonald's, a Dunkin' Donuts (usually only in that chain's New England homebase), or a generic cafeteria called Radio Grill,; they didn't start partnering with Subway until 2004. You might still find the odd one with a McDonald's still in it, or a one-off with some other fast food chain instead. Averted in Canada, where most Walmart stores still have McDonald's.
    • In the '90s, Walmart traded on American Patriotism by proudly proclaiming that everything they sold was Made in the USA. When the fact that this was patently untrue became plain and led to lawsuits, they dropped that angle and focused even more on cheaply made overseas products, deciding to focus on how much cheaper their products cost than other stores.
  • Originally, most Kmart stores were typically paired with Kmart Foods supermarkets. By the late 1970s, these were phased out and the space was either used to expand the Kmart, or sold to someone else (not necessarily another grocery chain). Incidentally, Kmart also tried the Supercenter thing not long after Walmart did, but a lack of commitment to the idea and Kmart's overall management woes in the '90s and 2000s put the brakes on that idea.
  • Early Cracker Barrel stores had Shell gas station/convenience stores, thus making them more akin to Stuckey's in terms of being a convenience store, gift shop, and restaurant all in one. They ditched the gas pumps during the 1970s oil crisis and focused on just the gift shop and restaurant segments.
  • Originally, Kentucky Fried Chicken was not sold at its own restaurants; instead, other restaurants could pay for the franchise rights to sell chicken made with Colonel Sanders's recipe, such as Kenny King's in Cleveland. The first de-facto KFC opened in Utah in the '60s, although a few independent franchises lasted until the early '80s or so.
  • Denny's was originally a doughnut shop called Danny's Donuts.
  • Jack in the Box:
    • It was conceived as the world's first drive-thru restaurant (they were) and had a downright ridiculous corporate image, with a giant clown named Jack sticking out on their roofs. By the 1970's, the chain was owned by Ralston Purina, who unsuccessfully tried to expand the chain nationwide out of California. Trying to reverse the tide, JITB executives developed a fixation with repositioning themselves as a premium fast food restaurant which involved a questionable decision to blow up Jack in 1980, but with some successes such as introducing the fast food salad. This fixation culminated in a legendarily disastrous act to jettison most of the classic Jack in the Box menu in an attempt to cater to upscale 1980's yuppies and rebrand themselves in 1985 to "Monterey Jack's" The result was a mea culpa and sale to management one year later.
    • Jack in the Box would plod along for another eight years seesawing between premium and value offerings to middling results, until their 1993 E. coli outbreak which was so bad that even newly-elected President Bill Clinton addressed it and lawsuits pushed them to near-bankruptcy. Management launched a Desperation Attack, approving a risky ad campaign by Dick Sittig that would have Jack return as their Rule of Cool Fighting Clown fictional CEO which was much more aggressive than typical friendly restaurant marketing at the time. The first ad with Jack, where he blows up the Jack in the Box boardroom, initially shocked viewers but did what it had to do - convince the public that the restaurant learned its lesson and would do things differently. Ironically, the Jack campaign got people interested in their premium and alternative offerings more than their "upscale" marketing could ever do.
  • Many early shopping malls were open-air concourses. They often featured a high number of service tenants (shoe repair, barber shop, etc.), a dime store, a supermarket (sometimes two), a drugstore, and maybe one department store. Overall, it probably would've had no more than 50 stores. One of the first malls to resemble what they look like now was Southdale in the Twin Cities, although even it had the aforementioned lineup. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the "dumbbell" mall (a huge concourse with a major department store at either end) became the default layout, and particularly in colder northern climates, more malls became enclosed. As malls grew larger, supermarkets and drugstores became less practical tenants (why would you buy groceries at a place with 100 other stores?), while dime stores lost footing to discount stores such as Kmart (which rarely anchored malls except in smaller towns).
  • Samsung, as well as other South Korean chaebol corporations, went through several phases where it focused on different industries. It began in 1938 as a small food company that sold, among others, noodle. During 1950s, its main business was textiles and apparel, starting with surplus uniforms from US military bases that were dyed and sold to South Korean civilians in the aftermath of the Korean War. It moved into electronics only in late 1960s. What is not well known outside South Korea is that Samsung has stayed as a major firm in both food and textile industries. The electronics and food businesses were separated only in late 1990s when the company's founder died and his sons split up the assets. It remains a major textile manufacturing concern in South Korea.
  • Starbucks originally sold whole coffee beans when it started in Seattle in 1971. It was modeled on Peet's Coffee in Berkeley, which started a few years earlier in 1966. Starbucks didn't serve espresso until the 1980s. The original Starbucks siren logo was also more risqué, showing exposed breasts and nipples.
  • Early on, Arby's was more of an upscale chain compared to its competition, selling real roast beef that was made on-site, not the processed lunchmeat-style meats that they use today. Also, they sold potato chips instead of fries, and RC Cola was on tap due to it having the same owner at the time. (Until 2006, Arby's could sell Coke or Pepsi depending on the franchise; they signed an exclusive contract with Pepsi in 2006 and switched to Coke chainwide in 2017.)
  • Roy Rogers initially started owned by Marriott (the hotel guys) as a conversion of Hot Shoppes Jr. (a chain they had spun off from the original, full service Hot Shoppes which have since closed), and as a way to keep using the roast beef sandwiches offered by another chain they acquired, Robee's (they'd wanted to expand Robee's, but Arby's complained that their names were too similar). It wasn't until 1971-72 that they expanded the menu to include burgers and chicken. They also gave first dibs on franchises to the established franchises of Big Boy (which Marriott also owned); this resulted in Roy's locations as far west as Texas and as far north as Canada, but these locations failed quickly, resulting in Roy's entrenchment in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. They started to build new locations eventually. And they still are, considering how Hardee's ruined the chain in the 90s.
  • While Little Caesars has always had carryout-only locations (including the first store in Garden City, Michigan, which opened in 1959 and stayed in the same spot until finally moving in 2018), a lot of their early stores were much larger, with game rooms/arcades and a larger menu offering pasta, seafood, salad, chicken and beer (some of which were also available at the smaller stores), thus making them more akin to the now mostly defunct Shakey's. For a time in the '80s and '90s, they even had a Chuck E. Cheese knockoff called Caesarland. Nowadays, nearly all Little Caesars are carryout-only locations that emphasize high volume and low prices, selling a very small number of pizzas, breadsticks, and wings, which are often made in advance and kept in a warmer. In addition, until the early 2000s, Little Caesars' gimmick was that pizza was sold at a discount if you bought them in pairs, hence the slogan of "Pizza! Pizza!" and the two pizzas impaled on the mascot's spear.
  • Early on, Best Buy was called Sound of Music and only sold stereos. In 1983, they started to become the wider-scope electronics store that they are now, beginning with a store in Burnsville, Minnesota, but it took a few years before they moved to their larger-format model that has all of the merchandise already on the sales floor instead of in a stockroom.
  • 3M may be best known for adhesives and useful small items in seemingly random fields, but it actually started out as a mining company—the company's full name is the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company. The intent was to mine corundum to make sandpaper and sanding wheels, but they soon realized there was no corundum where they mined (or any other mineral with any then-known practical purpose, for that matter). Even when importing garnet to make sandpaper, the garnet kept falling off the paper. Faced with a lot of material with no immediately obvious use, the founders, and their early employees, had to start thinking resourcefully to try to take what they had and make something that would win consumers' trust. This direction worked out wonderfully, and they left the mining business behind to focus on inventing anything they felt could sell, a trait that has defined 3M as a company since.
  • From the late 1970s until around 2010, Apple used to have a reputation as a "geek" computer company with a loyal cult following of computing enthusiasts, design professionals, musicians and authors. It wasn't enough to save Apple from flirting with bankruptcy numerous times during the 1990s until Steve Jobs returned. While Jobs threw a few bones to the long-time diehards, he repositioned Apple as a consumer electronic manufacturer instead of a computer manufacturer, trading away esoteric products made for a loyal fanbase into products of mass appeal that have a litany of casual fans who upgrade their iOS devices every two years, guaranteeing Apple's continued existence. In fact, iOS has reached a level of success in the mobile world that the Macintosh never achieved in the computing world and the iPhone is the signature Apple product to the point where it can be said that Apple is a mobile phone company that just happens to make computers. Also, their original logo was a picture of Isaac Newton and not, well, an apple.
  • Early on, Walgreens drugstores were usually connected to supermarkets. Also, it was possible for independent pharmacies to be franchised to the "Walgreen Agency", much like Rexall. This business model was gradually abandoned in favor of standalone stores. The chain also owned a pancake house called Wag's, which was sold off in The '80s.
  • Justice, a "tween" clothing store, began its life in The '80s as Limited Too, a spinoff of clothing chain Limited which focused on young girls and infants. Due to the shared branding, many Limited Too stores were co-branded with existing Limited locations. Throughout The '90s, Limited Too was spun off into its own independent brand (thus making its name an Artifact Title) while shifting its focus to tween girls. The new parent company launched Justice in 2004, which featured a lower price range and more polished appearance, compared to the green-blue, shag carpet, and glitter of Limited Too. While Limited Too had a very distinct look, Justice tended to model their clothing options after current fashion trends, made somewhat more appropriate for kids. Ascena Retail (owners of Maurices, Lane Bryant, Catherines, and Ann Taylor) acquired Limited Too and Justice in 2009, rebranding all existing stores to the Justice concept. A Spear Counterpart named Brothers was also operated for a short time, but it never took off. Justice quietly went out of business in 2021.
  • Originally, Motel 6 was a "no frills" brand with economical décor, no in-room phones, and coin-operated televisions; the "6" in the name referenced the fact that a room cost only $6 a night. The brand got new ownership in The '80s, gaining a more contemporary business model that still emphasized value, along with the still-popular line of radio commercials featuring the voice of Tom Bodett and the slogan "We'll leave the light on for you".
  • For about its first decade of existence, Days Inn motels featured an A-frame restaurant/gift shop called Tasty World, which usually sold off-brand gasoline as well. Over time, these were phased out before the chain ended up resembling what it does now. A few higher-end properties bore the name "Days Lodge" for a while, and there was also a brief period in The '90s where some lower-end, no-frills "Daystop" inns were opened.
  • The first Aldi stores had a much narrower selection of products, fewer brand name goods, and did not have any of the non-food items that are now frequently sold "for limited time only"; furthermore, there were no barcode scanners and salespersons had to memorize a code for every single item on sale. Payment through debit or even ATM card was also only adopted in more recent times. Most of those things were originally intended as cost-cutting measures.
  • Save-a-Lot, a discount grocer similar to Aldi, was much more "no frills" early on. Originally, items were displayed on pallets throughout the store, sometimes still in the boxes they shipped in, and all signage was done with markers. The early stores tended to convert older grocery store properties (often recycling the fixtures) or sometimes even in industrial parks. Many early stores didn't even carry produce or meat.
  • Clothing chain rue21 was originally known as Pennsylvania Fashions, then $9.99 Stockroom. Initially it was more of an outlet type store, but after a 2003 bankruptcy filing, it reorganized itself as a low-cost teen fashion store, and began opening in more conventional shopping centers instead of just outlet malls.
  • The first Applebee's locations in Atlanta were called "T. J. Applebee's Rx for Edibles & Elixirs" and had a more Victorian image. They then became a Kitschy-Themed Restaurant known for "stuff on the walls" before reinventing again in The New '10s with a more polished appearance.
  • The corporation that would eventually become The Wendy's Company (owner of the hamburger chain Wendy's) began its life as a cigar manufacturer called Deisel-Wemmer Co. in 1884. The company wouldn't make its first foray into fast food until a century later when it purchased RC Cola and roast beef chain Arby's in 1984, and it didn't purchase Wendy's until 2008.
  • Some of The Criterion Collection's early releases include RoboCop (1987), Armageddon, and The Rock. By the 2000s they had firmly established the brand as a distributor of art-house and classic films.
  • Nowadays, Sanrio note  is best known for creating merchandise featuring their cute characters. During the company's infancy, Sanrio had their own short-lived animation studio, with nine films that are a far cry from their current image. note  "Sanrio Animation" was the companies' animation division, dedicated to making animated films based on books and manga, as well as some original films. Unlike Sanrio's current image, their films were notable for focusing on darker subject matter and contained disturbing imagery (such as Metamorphoses/Winds of Change and ''Be Invoked''). Even their films geared toward children (Chirin no Suzu/Ringing Bell and both ''Unico'' films) depicted violence, intense moments, and had very depressing plots. The animation studio even avoided use of their characters (outside of cameos in A Journey Through Fairyland). After the studio's closure in the mid 80s, future animated projects featuring Sanrio characters are handled by different animation studios across Japan. note 
  • When Old Spice launched (as Early American Old Spice) in 1937, it was targeted at women. The first Old Spice men's product came in Christmas 1937 and it has stayed a male brand ever since. Although in 2014 things came full circle as it was reported women also consume the brand.
  • During the first few years of operation, Chuck E. Cheese's Restaurants used the Pizza Time Players animatronic format; unlike the giant, full-bodied, closely-grouped characters they began using in the 1990's, the earliest animatronics were relatively small, wall-bound, portrait-style machines placed separately from each other in different parts of the restaurant. Additionally, unlike character molds in later years (Which were crafted with textile yarn), the Pizza Time Players were designed with latex and fur.
  • The star mascot of Carl's Jr originally wore boots.
  • The original sign for the International House of Pancakes had a swirly orange frame, while the building itself had the façade of a barn.
  • The original Baskin Robbins logo was drawn in Old Western style, and was simply the number 31. They also had a lot of stores that were completely standalone or inside shopping malls, before shifting to mostly strip malls or combinations with Dunkin' Donuts.
  • Nokia's original logo features a rapidly dehydrating salmon.
  • The original logo for Xerox was simply a black box with round corners and the word "Xerox" in front of a large X.
  • Before settling on a simple paw print, Naughty Dog originally had a sunglasses-wearing dog for a logo.
  • IBM was originally called "The International Time Recording Company".
  • MySpace originally had a logo that used a simplified human shape to illustrate their personalized business.
  • Canon's original logo featured Guanyin, the Buddhist bodhisattva associated with compassion.
  • Hotmail's original logo was simply the word "Hotmail" with the H, T, M and L in uppercase.
  • Epic Games was originally called "Epic Mega Games: The New Name in Computer Entertainment".
  • Google was originally called "BackRub", and the logo showed Larry Page stroking the inside of a tabletop scanner.
  • Amazon's logo originally consisted of a blocky "A" cut through by a river.
  • Twitter was originally called "twttr", and the logo was various shades of green with dew drops.

    Celebrities 
Celebrities often start out drastically different in appearance, even to the point where they "don't look like themselves." This can be due to many factors: puberty, aging, plastic surgery, not yet having settlement on a signature look, not yet wearing cosmetics or other makeup, or simply the aesthetic standards of earlier eras.

  • Perhaps the most famous example of all is Marilyn Monroe. Pictures of her former self, then 18-year-old Norma Jean Dougherty, taken in 1944 by photographer David Conover, show a dramatically different appearance than the one with which we are familiar. Dougherty has a longer nose, a paler complexion, and long chestnut-brown hair instead of short blond hair; only the twinkling eyes and the dimpled smile hint at her future iconography.
  • The same principle can be applied to Marilyn's Spiritual Successor, Anna Nicole Smith. Before her rise to fame in 1992, "Vickie Smith" (as her original Playboy profile read), while definitely, visibly a woman, cut a much more tomboyish figure, with a bigger-boned frame and a broader jawline than we are used to. Hollywood obviously subjected her to a great deal of Chickification.
  • An especially dramatic transformation for a female celebrity was that of Canadian singer Shania Twain. First look at a photo of her during the height of her career in the 1990s, when she wore conspicuous makeup and sexy outfits. Now look at photos of her as a teenager. Whoa. Hard to tell that's not a boy, huh?
  • Early in his career, Burt Reynolds didn't have his famous mustache.
  • When Steven Spielberg began his filmmaking career in the mid-1970s, he had longer hair and was clean-shaven. Production photos of him on the set of Jaws show a man who looks a lot more like Tim Burton than, well, Spielberg.
  • Similarly, when he was working on Star Wars in 1976, George Lucas had a dark brown beard instead of his now-familiar gray one.
  • Teen actor Anthony Michael Hall bulked up a lot during the late 1980s, going from playing a scrawny Nerd in the Brat Packer films to a full-blown jock in Johnny B. Goode. Many of his friends went so far as to accuse him of taking steroids.
  • A pre-20th-century example is poet Walt Whitman. Before he adopted his more famous proletarian look of a white shirt, plain slacks, slouch hat and a beard, he dressed like a typical Victorian-era dandy.
  • Assuming "fictional" celebrities count, there's Ronald McDonald. When originally portrayed by reporter Willard Scott in 1963, the fast-food clown was a lot more grotesque in appearance, with red greasepaint dominating over white. The current character design was introduced in the late 1960s, and even then Ronald's mouth was redder and blobbier than it is now.
  • As seen on early episodes of Saturday Night Live, Gilbert Gottfried originally had a Jewfro, and didn't squint or talk in his grating, high-pitched "parrot" voice.
  • Most people have an image of Albert Einstein of a grandfatherly man with wild and receding white hair and deep wrinkles, as seen on his Useful Notes page. But the most productive time in his (or any physicist's) career occurred in his "Miraculous Year" of 1905, when he was only 26, and had a full head of dark hair and soft features. The popular image of him didn't start to build in earnest until his late thirties and forties, when his theories were starting to be confirmed, and later yet when the nuclear age made him a household name and something of an elder statesman of physics academia.
  • Alex Trebek's personal image changed considerably over his decades-long television career. As the host of Music Hop and Reach for the Top in the sixties, a clean-shaven, short-haired, strait-laced host. As seen on his early American gigs in the seventies such as High Rollers and Double Dare (1976) , a hip ladies' man with a Porn Stache and an afro. Once Jeopardy! got going in the 1980s, the hair shrank down and grayed, and his style once again became more formal.

    Evolution 
  • The earliest vertebrates were small creatures with no jaws. Today, only a few species of jawless fish exist, and vertebrates include most of the largest animals on the planet since around 400ish million years ago.
  • Early Cephalopods had shells, though this lasted a long time instead of just being "early".
  • The earliest insects couldn't fly, and weren't nearly as common as insects are today.
  • Ediacaran and Cambrian animals include many groups that are unrecognizable today, some Edacaran creatures many or may not be animals. After these periods, most animals are recognizable as being associated with groups that exist today.
  • The group containing crocodiles was very, very diverse during the triassic after it diverged, including most of the large land animals of the time. An extinction killed most of these creatures, the remaining crocodile relatives were still quite diverse, but became less so over time today.
  • Immediately after mass extinctions, the common life forms are quite a bit different than what will follow when ecosystems stabilize.
  • Some prehistoric rhino species lack the characteristic traits people associate with rhinos, such as Paraceratherium, which completely lacked a horn and had a long giraffe like neck.
  • The ancestors of deer are small animals that lacked antlers and had fang like tusks. Believe it or not, this is a subversion as there are still obscure deer species alive today that are small and have tusks, such as the water deer, or musk deer.
  • The ancestors of horses looked more like the deer mentioned above than horses, but without tusks or antlers.
  • Water vertebrates with land based ancestors must often change a lot to adapt to water, thus their earliest ancestors that diverged from other groups will fit this trope. Whale ancestors, for example, resembled shrews, than something vaguely otter like, followed by larger such creatures with big flippers, before the familar "large tail, fishlike body, small flippers" forms evolved. Ichthyosaur and mosasaur ancestors seem to have gone through large flippered lizard like forms before the smaller flippered, tail propelled creatures they settled into.
  • Camels originated not in the Middle Eastern desert, but in the Canadian tundra of all places!
  • As far as humanity is concerned, the initial peoples did not build their own houses, instead residing in natural caves. They often painted in them. These paintings feature animals no longer around today. Law did not exist either, at least not as we know it; the closest thing was probably some set of social customs or traditions with informal and spotty enforcement.
  • The early history of humans is extremely weird compared to modern life. For most of our history, there were multiple human species, some of which were still primitive and ape-like while others were sleeker are more modern-ish. For very wide swaths of time within the past 500,000 years, it would have been possible (though not realistic) for a Homo erectus, a Homo neanderthalensis, Homo floresiensis, and a Homo naledi to be friends, enemies, or lovers. This diversity peaked at roughly around 1 million BCE when there were three entirely separate genera of bipedal apes walking in roughly the same geographic region note . Humans and quasi-human hominoids were nomadic scavengers and hunter-gatherers, sort of like the primate version of vultures and wolves. Then, within the past 100,000 years, everything changed. All human species except ''Homo sapiens sapiens'' died out for as-of-yet not fully explained reasons, we became sedentary after discovering agriculture, began creating complex tools and languages, and then eventually started large-scale organized (and eventually industrialized, cybernetic, & space-faring) civilizations. It's not so much Early Installment Weirdness as much as it is a sudden extremely bizarre development.
    • Light skin is a very recent development, relatively speaking. Until the Neolithic, almost everyone in the world (including Europe and Asia) was some shade of brown. The invention of agriculture brought new diets that allowed for the light skin we see in Europeans and a lot of Asians today.

    History 
  • A number of early civilizations practiced retainer burials (burying servants, officials, soldiers, etc. of an important person when they die) for some time, before dropping the practice. Egyptians during the first dynasty of a unified kingdom, and Mesopotamian city states for some unknown time are examples, China and Kerma (south of Egypt) did this for longer but still dropped the practice relatively early in their history.
  • Egypt and Mesopotamian city states were the major powers for the first few thousand year of middle east history. Afterwards, the regions were still important, but empires from other areas most often dominated the region.
  • A lot of the civilizations during the Antiquity had a culture, language, religion, alphabet that died out at one point, despite being in use for over more than a thousand years.
  • In the centuries of Ancient Greece and Rome sex and nudity weren't frowned on. Prostitution was legal, homosexuality considered normal and even regular houses would have erotic paintings as decoration. After Christianity became official in the fourth century, Western culture became far more prudish.
  • Judaism took time to become roughly its modern form. The old testament, of course, describes a religion with animal sacrifice and a central temple that does not exist today. Archaeology, supported by hints in the old testament, points to an ancient Israel and Judah where people worshipped lots of gods in lots of home ceremonies, worshipping one all powerful god as the religion seems to have arrived around or after the babylonian period. Judaism with Rabbis as the main leaders appeared during the Roman period, after the jewish revolts and the destruction of the Jerusalem temple, and the general death and destruction, rabbis were the only group who could effectively fill this role.
  • Early Christianity had a great variety of beliefs about various parts of the religion: how much and what to borrow from Judaism, what Jesus actually was and did, what god was like, etc. A few hundred years after Jesus wasus was around, the religion got more standardized, with most Christians joining what would become the Catholic church(which has split into catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant churches), with a few somewhat different Christian groups in Ethiopia, Assyria, and other random areas.
  • Before the end of the 18th century all economy and industry was agrarian with much of the complex machinery we know today absent. "Factories" or "mills" as they were rightfully called then usually relied on water power and thus many goods could only be produced in proximity to running water. The truly revolutionary aspect of the steam engine wasn't its power or its efficiency but its potential to be deployed anywhere even far away from rivers or brooks including on mobile installations (locomotives for instance).
  • Up until deep in the 19th century slavery and child labor were widely considered normal as they were almost worldwide. Nowadays you would not find anyone defending it anymore and it's something of an Old Shame for those holdouts who gave up the practice last.
  • When Mexico declared independence from Spain in 1821, it was intended to be a monarchy with an Emperor. This arrangement lasted less than a year.
  • The 1787 American cents, the first official coins of the United States of America, are a numismatic example of this trope. They lack any of the familiar American icons or mottoes and could easily be mistaken for foreign coins (at least if the faintly-embossed "United States" on the reverse was too worn to make out). They feature a sun and sundial on the obverse and a chain of thirteen rings on the reverse. Laurels and Lady Liberty weren't seen on nationally-circulated coins until 1793. Eagles, stars, and "E pluribus unum" first appeared two years after that.
  • The Soviet Union's New Economic Policy, in which small-scale private enterprise was allowed for 7 years in the 1920s. Russia had a non-communist Provisional government for eight months in 1917, between the February Revolution (which overthrew the Czar) and the October Revolution (when Lenin and the communists took over). The two revolutions are usually conflated together in the popular imagination.
  • During the American Revolutionary War, African Americans fought alongside European-Americans in integrated units (not all the time, but a lot more frequently than a modern observer would expect). This was because there was yet no institutionalized national government to impose separation of the races. Segreagtion would often be practiced de facto later on, but de jure segregation of the armed forces was introduced through an executive order of Woodrow Wilson. During the civil war, free blacks and former slaves fought under white officers (mostly because even the North did not trust them with weapons). For obvious reasons, the African American soldiers proved extremely motivatednote  and capable and even some racists had to acknowledge that after the war. This was precisely why Frederick Douglass wanted them to fight. The South also wanted to arm African Americans in a last ditch attempt to turn the tide, but ultimately none of those units saw any major fighting. Painter Emmanuel Leutze memorialized the phenomenon in his painting Washington Crossing the Delaware: if you look closely, you'll note that one of the rowers to the left is a black man.
  • In the 1949 election (the first election of The Bonn Republic) the minimum age to vote was 21 (lowered for the 1972 election) there was a 5% threshold by state (abolished for the next election, a similar clause was employed as one-off in 1990) and way more parties got representation in parliament than in any subsequent election. Among them communists, Bavarian separatists and more or less open Nazis (both neo- and old). All of those minor parties were either outlawed or irrelevant by the end of the chancellorship of Konrad Adenauer.
  • Because of the permanence of tattoos, people who have a lot of them or very prominent ones may look weird when seeing early pictures of them before they got inked.
  • The early Ku Klux Klan that existed in the late 1860s and 1870s did not burn crosses or carry out marches or rallies, because they were a shadowy secretive terrorist group which primarily existed to physically attack and kill freedmen, soldiers and "carpetbaggers". They wore white hoods - not full robes - primarily to cover their faces so they wouldn't be identified. The idea of the Klan as a legal (at least on the surface) organisation that kept membership lists and conducted rallies and cross lightings in full-body white robes, that persists in Klan groups right up to the present day, originates to the 'second' Klan, founded in 1915. The second Klan in turn was inspired by the sympathetic portrayal of the Klan in the film The Birth of a Nation (1915).
  • The Social Democrat / Socialist movement as exemplified by its parties like the German SPD often started out as radical revolutionary fringe leftist movements that called for a toppling of the existing order, redistribution of the means of production and sometimes condoned or even outright called for violence. They also often cited Marx and Engels as their inspiration and the only real difference between a "social democrat" and a "communist" were tactics and semantics, sometimes not even that. However, the ultimate goals were also different. While Marx calls for the state to "whither away", modern social democrats often want to use the state (under their governance) to transform society. Additionally, issues of race, sexual orientation and gender have become much more important to social democrats and they tend to be a shibboleth for being allowed into any position of power within the party.
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    Language 
  • For more than thousand years Ancient Latin and Greek were spoken everywhere in the Greek and Roman Empire. A few centuries later they have become dead languages—although only after a fashion: Ancient Greek became Modern Greek (which, while not mutually intelligible with the ancient form, is still recognizably similar) and Latin became the entire family of Romance languages (which, although more different from Latin than Modern Greek is from Ancient Greek, are an extremely successful batch of languages, with over 800 million native speakersnote  and hundreds of millions more second-language speakersnote ). For added weirdness the amount of words written in Latin during the time it was "alive" that survive to this day is dwarfed (by orders of magnitude even) by the amount of words written in Latin after it had already become a "dead language".
    • Though it had no native speakers, Latin was not truly dead in the Middle Ages, because those who used it as an interlanguage kept adapting it to current needs. Some say the Renaissance killed it, by insisting on "pure" classical forms.
  • Many of today's most widespread languages were dramatically different during the early medieval period or sometimes even later.
    • Old English was very similar to German, not only in its spelling and pronunciation but also in its agglutination (linking smaller words to form larger words, as is still the general rule in German). It also contained letters that no longer exist in English, namely Þ (Thorn), Ð (Eth) and Æ (Ash). All three fell out of use after the Norman conquest and have now been replaced by "th" in the case of both Thorn and Eth note , and either "a" or "e" in the case of Ash.
    • Old French was morphologically similar to Spanish, the standardized national language to which Modern French is most closely related. This could be seen most prominently in its more-defined gender endings (-a instead of a silent -e for feminine endings, for example) and more varied vowels and diphthongs (Modern French still uses -ue as in Spanish bueno and -ai as in Spanish jai alai, but far less often than it used to). Many of the Spanish-like phonemes are preserved in Occitan, a language closely related to French spoken in southern France that was used to write many love poems during the High Middle Ages.
    • Old and Middle Spanish used the letter x to represent /ʃ/ (the consonant of "shush"); relics of this include the names Mexico and Texas, and many words borrowed from Nahuatl (the language of the Aztec Empire). Later that sound, and its voiced counterpart written j, shifted to the same velar fricative and x became redundant. (The home of sherry wine, formerly Xerez, is now called Jerez.)
    • The earliest attested forms of Irish and Welsh, from the 6th century and earlier, are unrecognizable compared to their later forms. They had a completely different grammatical system much more similar to Latin and the other Italic languages than to what the Celtic languages would eventually become. For example, they lacked the initial consonant mutations (a defining trait of modern Celtic grammar) and used inflectional suffixes instead. The similarities between early Celtic and the Italic languages (Latin being both the most prominent and the best-attested example of them) has led some scholars to propose a closer relationship between the two groups called Italo-Celtic though this theory is not unanimously accepted and there is debate as to whether similarities go back to a common ancestor distinct from Proto-Indo-European or their geographic proximity in Antiquity. What is clear beyond any reasonable doubt is that Celtic, like Italic, Germanic and many other language groups is a descendant of the Proto-Indo-European language.
    • Old Chinese was more diverse in its phonemes, meaning that romanized transcriptions of the older pronunciations look more distinct to Westerners, instead of the "they-all-look-alike" invariability of modern Wade-Giles or pinyin, where seemingly every fourth or fifth word ends in -n or -ng. (This principle applies mostly to Mandarin, of course, since Cantonese and some of the other southern dialects seem to have preserved the older endings.) Old Chinese resembled its cousins Tibetan and Burmese more closely.
    • Proto-Slavic language and early forms of its descendants contained features such as nasal vowels, which are completely gone nowadays barring Polish, short vowels called “yers” at the ends of words, because words could only end in a vowel and not a consonant (unlike all modern Slavic languages), and tones, of which vestiges are only found in the South Slavic branch (not full-blown tones as found in most Chinese varieties or Vietnamese so much as pitch accent more similar to Japanese).
    • Speaking of Japanese, that language also invokes this trope, particularly in its first phase which only covers the first 100 years of its recorded history. While from the beginning it always had the open-syllabic, final-consonant-phobic phonological quality and heavy Chinese influence that defines it this very day, there was a second dimension to its sound which really sets it apart from the modern tongue. The presence of fronted, rounded vowels (à la French eu, German/Swedish ö & Danish/Norwegian ø), as well as vowel harmony (that is, a strong tendency to use the same or a similarly-articulated vowel in an affix as well as in the root it is attached to), not to mention its eschewal of using r at the beginning of a word, gave it a distinctly Altaic air alien to its modern form, resembling such languages as Manchu, Mongolian, and Turkish note .
    • Proto-Indo-Europeannote  was quite different from all living Indo-European languages in two major ways:
      • It had a series of three guttural consonants called laryngeals. We're not sure exactly what they sounded like, but they probably sounded something like this or this. These sounds were only preserved in the Anatolian branch, which is now extinct. Unfortunately, Hittite, the best attested member of the Anatolian branch was written with a derivation of Akkado-Sumerian Cuneiform which was ill-suited to exactly representing the sounds of this language and thus there are several questions as to the exact nature of certain sounds. Amazingly the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure predicted the presence of these sounds before the Anatolian branch was even discovered as they left telltale traces in word forms in other daughter languages.
      • Unlike all its daughter languages, Proto-Indo-European possibly had only two vowels, "e" and "o". Even outside of Indo-European, this is a very unusual feature cross-linguistically.
      • While reconstructing ancestral forms is always difficult and never a fully exact science, what most scholars propose contains a bunch of consonant clusters that seem hard to pronounce for most speakers of descendants of Proto-Indo-European today. The use of Syllabic consonants (basically sounds like /m/, /n/, /r/, /l/ are "used like" vowels) is found in some descendants and there is even an entire Czech sentence without vowels, but still many faced with reconstructed Proto-Indo-European roots for the first time feel the need to add vowels where they don't belong to break up those consonant clusters.

    Science & Technology 
  • Anesthesia during operations, sterilization of needles, a clean and hygienic atmosphere for patients who need to be nursed, vaccination, ... only came in vogue during the second half of the 19th century before being slowly adapted by the rest of the world.
  • Zoology was a very inexact science during the Enlightenment of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Although it's impressive how much was known even then (kangaroos and other marsupials were already known), zoologists of the time got many things blatantly wrong. Whales were considered giant fish, opossums were thought to be a species of monkey, armadillos were classified as reptomammals because of their "scaly" shells, and beavers were not rodents!
  • The universe directly after the big bang was a super-hot, super-dense miasma of particles, compared to the almost entirely empty cold vacuum it is now. Even the four fundamental forces were all just one "superforce". And its current state will be this next to the dark, cold, and empty place the 'verse will become in a very distant future if its expansion keeps going on.
  • The early Solar System was a mess, with countless bodies orbiting the Sun having sizes from dust grains to planets, even including according to some theories a fifth gas giant planet. Most of the present bodies that orbit the Sun (planets, asteroids, comets...) are those that survived the ordeal, those that did not were destroyed by collisions with others, including the Sun, and even expelled of the Solar System -as that hypothetical fifth giant planet-.
  • Hydrogen cyanide is a poison for the higher life forms. However, a few billion years ago it was a major component of Earth's atmosphere, and an important component in the chemical reactions which created life.
  • During the first two Space Shuttle missions the external fuel tank was painted white, to match the color scheme of the orbiter and booster rockets. From the third mission on, NASA realized that nobody cared that the fuel tank was a different color, and wanting to save money on fuel (paint is surprisingly heavy, and in spaceflight every kilogram counts) and paint, left the reddish-brown color everyone recognizes.
  • The earliest versions of Microsoft Windows were simply built as a GUI extension to MS-DOS (instead of a full-blown operating system), with little intention on being as popular as it would turn out. Versions before 95 lacked the iconic taskbar and start menu that would define it many years later. Instead it included the MS-DOS executive (later retooled into the Program Manager), which was a window that included the main programs, and when it was closed the computer would shut down. Finally, the minimize-maximize-close buttons in the top right are entirely missing, replaced with a minus button on the top left that triggers a drop down menu with these types of controls (this button has managed to survive into modern versions, but the menu is now triggered when you click the top right of the menu with no button, probably to prevent Damn You, Muscle Memory!).
  • When Linus Torvalds first started writing Linux, it was meant to be a small hobby OS which was a clone of the Unix-like MINIX operating system, was very much tied to 386/486 procesors and would "probably never... support anything other than AT-harddisks". Nor was the kernel released under the GNU GPL as today. Now, it's a highly successful operating system which has been ported to more platforms than any other, including those which use non Intel x86-compatible processors.
  • The first Power Macintosh models from Apple weren't identified as such, instead being branded with a simple four-digit number/CPU speed name combo (i.e. "Macintosh 6100/60"). Only later in 1994, the year of their introduction, did the Power Macintosh name start to appear as the brand name on the computers proper.
  • Early home computers stressed the ability to write programs in BASIC, as there wasn't much pre-packaged software available in the late 1970s. Many home computers of the late '70s and early '80s came with BASIC in ROM and had detailed technical information in the manual for programmers. Computer magazines often had programs you could type into your computer. As the '80s wore on, pre-packaged software became much more popular than user-written programs, and programming fell by the wayside, left to professionals and dedicated hobbyists. Modern computers also don't come with full manuals, typically with only a bare-bones "setup guide" leaflet, with the full manual only available as a PDF download from the manufacturer's website.
  • Nvidia's first several graphics card offerings were a far cry from the powerful force they are in the computing world today. Their first one, the NV1, used a completely non-standard 3D graphics format that was more akin to the Sega Saturn with quadrilateral based rendering instead of polygonal, leading to it only being officially supported by a small handful of games (most of which were, fittingly enough, Saturn ports), on top of the fact that it trying to be an all-in-one 2D/3D graphics and sound solution led to a heavily compromised and cost-ineffective Master of None. Their next offering, the Riva 128, followed the far more standardized Direct3D compatibility but was plagued with driver issues all its life and a lot of compatibility problems alongside being seen as little more than a cheap and unreliable alternative to the 3DFX Voodoo. The direct follow-on, the Riva TNT, fared little better with overheating issues and underwhelming performance. It wasn't until the Riva TNT2 and the now highly regarded and still ongoing GeForce lineup (on top of 3DFX's rather abrupt demise) that Nvidia would find their footing and establish themselves as one of the highest regarded players in the graphics card market.
  • Early Sony Walkman models had two headphone jacks and a microphone that allowed two users to talk to each other while music was playing, in an attempt to ease concerns that listening to music on headphones in public was anti-social.

    U.S. Politics 
  • The US government
    • The United States government under the Articles of Confederation, the first national government structure following independence from Great Britain, was fundamentally unlike what came later. The US originally had no president or Supreme Court (there was an official called "president," but it was not a chief executive and held little power), and national decisions were made by a single-housed Congress. The former colonies, now States, often behaved more like autonomous countries, and no national currency existed. The national capital moved around a lot (sometimes multiple times in the course of a year), but was usually in New Jersey, Philadelphia, or New York City, because Washington D.C. was not yet built. It wasn't until the ratification of the Constitution that the US government would be remotely recognizable to a modern American.
    • The term "federalist" during the early years of the Republic meant essentially the opposite of what it does today. As the name of one of the country's first political parties (see section on political parties below), it referred to those calling for a stronger federal government. This reflected the fact that the introduction of federalism as an alternative to the system under the Articles of Confederation involved a strengthening of the national government relative to what came before. Today, however, given that the federal government has grown a lot stronger in the past 200 years (with the Civil War being a major turning point in that relationship), self-described federalists tend to be those advocating greater autonomy and independence for the states.
  • The electoral process
    • The first two presidential elections were merely pro-forma affairs to elect George Washington, who ran effectively unopposed and without any party affiliation. The third presidential election, in 1796, was the first contested election with candidates backed by parties. The only other uncontested election was in 1820, when the Federalist Party, being too busy ceasing to exist, was unable to challenge James Monroe and, being the incumbent president, nobody in his own party would challenge him in earnest.
    • The process of electing the vice president was a convoluted mess during the first few elections. The electors cast two votes with no distinction between president and vice president, and the person with the second most electoral votes became the vice president. In 1796 John Adams ran against Thomas Jefferson, and as Jefferson received the second most votes he became the vice president, rather than Adams' running mate. In 1800, Thomas Jefferson won the Electoral College in the general election, and his electors planned to have one abstain from voting for his running-mate Aaron Burr to ensure that Jefferson was elected president and Burr vice president, but this plan fell to the wayside and Jefferson had to run against Burr in the House after the Electoral College vote tied. The Twelfth Amendment cleared up this process in time for the 1804 election, stipulating separate votes for president and vice president.
    • According to the Constitution, if no candidate receives an absolute majority of electoral votes, then the race gets decided by Congress, where the House of Representatives picks the president (not by a majority of votes in the House but by a majority of state delegations where each state gets one vote), and the Senate picks the vice president. Historically, however, this type of election has only occurred twice: in 1800 and 1824. The emergence of the strict two-party system has made the scenario vastly less likely. Even the five-way race of 1836 and four-way race of 1860 each ended with a decisive electoral majority for one candidate, and later races with significant third-party or independent candidates (1912, 1948, 1968, 1992) didn't come close to causing such an electoral deadlock. The 2020 election, however, wasn't that far from such a deadlock, since if Joe Biden's three narrowest states—Wisconsin, Georgia, and Arizona, all of which Biden won by less than a percentage point—had gone to Trump, the electoral vote would have been a 269-269 tie.
    • Prior to the 1840 election, the candidates themselves didn't campaign at all, but rather relied entirely on surrogates, and most campaigning was only done in print. Electioneering was frowned upon, as it was thought the office should seek the man, not the other way around. William Henry Harrison broke precedent and became the first candidate to personally appear and speak at his campaign events, though this was limited to thanking his supporters. His campaign pioneered many now-commonplace political advertising methods such as handing out buttons, holding campaign rallies with flashy banners, and used the first-ever campaign slogan, "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too." This was a very early precursor to modern campaigns that have marketing budgets in the hundreds of millions. He also holds the distinction as the first candidate to publicly insult his opponent, referring to President Martin Van Buren as "a snob and a dandy." Voters apparently liked the approach, and Harrison won the election in a landslide. Oh, and the "Tippecanoe" part of the campaign song? That was about marketing Harrison as a war hero, as at the time it was unheard of to portray a presidential candidate as anything other than a statesman. George Washington, who could also claim the "war hero" label, did not need to campaign, running unopposed, and Andrew Jackson did not primarily run on his military bona fides either.
      • The "office should seek the man" mentality didn't entirely dissipate until 1912, after it became clear that Republican Party leaders weren't going to hand Theodore Roosevelt the nomination, and he broke precedent and became the first candidate to publicly campaign and give speeches in support of his candidacy. This led to the modern era where presidential candidates criss-cross the country holding events.
    • In early elections, electors were chosen by state legislatures instead of by a popular vote, and even in states that held a public vote the totals were often incomplete. Some states still used their state legislatures to choose electors as late as 1876.
    • The 1848 election established Election Day, and was the first that took place on the same day in every state, and the first on a Tuesday. Prior to that, elections took place over the span of several weeks.
    • Political parties used to be able to print their own, pre-filled ballots to distribute to their voters to be cast at polling places. In the 1888 election it was discovered that the Indiana Republican Party was paying voters to back their candidate, Benjamin Harrison. By the 1892 election every state had adopted a secret ballot system, usually printed by the local government.
    • Every December (specifically, the Monday following the second Wednesday in December) after a US presidential election, the members of the electoral college assemble in their respective state capitals to decide who won the election. Or, rather, they meet to decide it once or twice. When the Constitution was written, voters were not given a choice to vote for a presidential candidate; they voted for an elector. That is, if they voted in the presidential election at all; in most states at the time the electors were chosen by a vote of the state legislature. Each elector was expected to exercise his own judgment in actually choosing who to place his vote for. Ever since, however, electors have all been sworn to support a single candidate each, as they were loyalists to the party that won their state, making the Electoral College a simple layer of abstraction in voting for the president mostly-directly. (Only in a few US states do the ballots even show the name of the elector along with the name of the candidate they're pledged for.) The Electoral College vote is such a formality that many voters don't even realize it exists, and it's generally forgotten entirely except when a candidate wins the popular vote but loses the Electoral College, most recently in 2016; or "faithless" electors vote for someone other than the winner of their state's popular vote, also most recently in 2016. The 2016 election has actually started to get anti-Electoral College movements off the ground due to the particularly large popular-vote deficit and the unique unpopularity of the candidate who won that year.
    • The major parties began holding presidential primaries in 1912, though usually only a handful of states held them, and the results sometimes had little, if any, effect on selecting the eventual nominee. In 1968, the eventual Democratic nominee Hubert Humphrey hadn't even run in any of the primaries, leading to mass protests at the Democratic National Convention. For the 1972 election the Democrats held primaries and caucuses in all fifty states, allowing the nominee to be selected by delegates awarded based on the popular vote.note  The Republicans adopted a similar fifty-state primary and caucus system in 1976. Also, early primary seasons tended to be back-heavy affairs, in which it was unusual for more than the early two states of Iowa and New Hampshire to have held primaries before March, and primaries routinely carried on well into May and June. Only later did parties realize that long drawn-out primary seasons weakened the eventual nominee, and tried to make the contest quicker and earlier.
    • Major party conventions were initially serious affairs where elected delegates chose a candidate according to their own judgment, sometimes resulting in hundreds of ballots, as a candidate required two-thirds of the vote, later changed to a simple majority. Now, the presidential nominee is determined well before the convention from a series of statewide primaries and caucuses. In the presidential primary era there were a few conventions close to being contested, most recently the 1976 Republican Convention, when President Gerald Ford's main opponent Ronald Reagan didn't officially concede until he lost the floor vote. From 1956 onward a convention hasn't required more than one ballot, and every convention from 1980 onward opened with a presumptive nominee who had won enough delegates from the primaries to be assured the nomination. Conventions are now simply a pompous "coronation" ceremony for the winner. A contested convention is still a theoretical possibility if none of the candidates win an absolute majority in delegates prior to the convention, and in practically every cycle there are pundits speculating that it might be on the verge of happening, but so far it hasn't.
  • Political parties
    • The Framers didn't believe in political parties, they aren't mentioned anywhere in the Constitution, and the first president, George Washington, was not affiliated with any party and emphatically argued against them in his farewell address. But soon two parties emerged from the competing factions of Federalists and their opponents, who came to be called Democratic-Republicans. The Federalist Party collapsed by the 1820s, and soon the Democratic-Republicans split into factions, leading eventually to the creation of the Democratic Party and the Whig Party. By the 1850s, the fight over slavery led to the collapse of the Whigs, and a new antislavery party emerged, the Republican Party. Apart from 1864 when Lincoln was reelected on the National Union ticket (which was really just the Republican Party under a different name), every winning presidential candidate from 1852 forward has been either a Democrat or Republican. Furthermore, in almost every election from 1856 forward the top-two candidates nationally and electorally have consisted of one Republican and one Democrat. The only exceptions have been 1872 (see next entry) and 1912 (when the race became a battle between Democrat Woodrow Wilson and former President Theodore Roosevelt running under the newly formed Progressive Party, with the Republican nominee, incumbent President William H. Taft, coming in a distant third). The last time a candidate not running as either Republican or Democrat won any states was 1968 when former and future Alabama Governor George Wallace, running on a third-party ticket, carried five Southern states. The last time such a candidate came out higher than third place anywhere was 1992, when billionaire independent candidate Ross Perot came out in 2nd place in Maine and Utah. (It was also the last time such a candidate got a double-digit percentage of the national popular vote.)
    • Several early elections had multiple candidates from the same party running against each other in the general election. In 1812 and 1824 all of the candidates were members of the Democratic-Republican Party, the latter election being a four-way race. The 1836 election was among a Democrat (Martin Van Buren) and four Whig Party candidates. The last time it happened was 1872, when the race was between two Republicans, Ulysses S. Grant and Horace Greeley, though the latter ran as a "Liberal Republican" to avoid confusion.
    • The parties used to be far less ideologically unified, essentially a loose coalition of factions divided along regional, class, and ethnic lines. And there was a lot more ideological overlap between the two parties than there is today. It was not uncommon for some Democrats from Southern states to be more conservative than Republicans from metropolitan or traditionally liberal areas. From the late 1930s until the early 1960s, the House of Representatives was said to be dominated by a "conservative coalition," even though Democrats controlled the House for all but four years during this period. Some Democrats were described as "right-wing," while some Republicans were routinely referred to as liberals. Even by the final decades of the 20th century there were still relics of this pattern, such as very conservative Georgia Democratic Governor Zell Miller as contrasted with very liberal Connecticut Republican Senator Lowell Weicker. The bitter Bush vs. Gore election of 2000 would result in the two major parties becoming ideologically entrenched. Metropolitan areas, which mostly trend liberal, would be overwhelmingly won by Democrats, and rural areas, which mostly trend conservative, would be overwhelmingly won by Republicans. Miller ended up speaking at the GOP convention in 2004, endorsing George W. Bush, and Weicker would heavily campaign for anti-war Democrat Ned Lamont in 2006.
    • The terms "red state" and "blue state," referring to Republican and Democratic states respectively, weren't commonly used until the 21st century. When TV news programs started using color codes for electoral maps in the 1970s, they experimented with different colors, and for a while it was most common to show states won by Republicans in blue and states won by Democrats in red. (In 1980, reporter David Brinkley described the electoral map for the Republican landslide that year as resembling a "suburban swimming pool"—a metaphor that sounds strange today but which was a reference to the map showing the country almost entirely in blue, the color then used for Republican-won states.) Over the next few decades, they gradually shifted to the opposite system, which became universal during the 2000 election, the year when anchor Tim Russert is credited with having coined the terms "red state" and "blue state" in their current meaning.
    • The partisan tendencies of certain states and certain regions of the country have changed drastically throughout the country's history. In particular, the South and the Northeast essentially swapped places in partisan allegiance over the past century and a half.
      • From the end of Reconstruction until the mid-20th century, the Southern states voted Democrat as a bloc, in what was termed the "Solid South". note  All or nearly all the Southern states (particularly the states of the former Confederacy—border states like Kentucky, Missouri, and West Virginia were less reliable) consistently voted Democrat in presidential elections, usually by overwhelming margins. This pattern first started to break down in the 1920s, a decade of strong Republican dominance in presidential elections. Republican Warren Harding managed to pick up Tennessee in his 1920 landslide, and in 1928 when the Democratic nominee was Al Smith, the first Roman Catholic to head a major-party ticket and a Northerner who opposed Prohibition (all making him a particularly bad fit for Southern voters despite their Democratic allegiance), Republican Herbert Hoover carried five former Confederate states. The South reverted to overwhelming Democratic dominance during the FDR years, but when the party adopted a civil-rights plank in 1948, South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond ran a third-party campaign and carried four Deep South states. In 1964, after Democratic President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act and the Republican nominee, Senator Barry Goldwater, voted against it, several Deep South states voted Republican for the first time since Reconstruction. (The rest of the South went to Johnson, but it was overall his weakest region.) Since that time, except for 1976 when the Democratic nominee was Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, Democrats have failed to carry a majority of the South in presidential elections (though many of the states would remain strongly Democratic at the state level until the 2000s) and it has gone on to become one of the most Republican regions of the country. By the 1990s even Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton failed to carry a majority of the Southern states, though he did win several (such as Arkansas, Louisiana, and Tennessee) that have not voted Democrat since. In 2000, even former Tennessee Senator Al Gore failed to carry a single Southern state. Only four Southern states have been carried by any Democratic candidates in the 21st-century thus far: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia.note 
      • The Northeast, especially New England, used to be strongly Republican. From the birth of the Republican Party until the 1990s, Republicans consistently won all or most Northeastern states in presidential elections, with just the following exceptions: (1) The 1912 election when Woodrow Wilson won plurality victories while the GOP vote was split between President Taft and former Republican President Teddy Roosevelt running on a third-party ticket. (2) Three of FDR's four landslides; even then he never carried Maine or Vermont, and it was overall his weakest region. (3) LBJ's 1964 landslide, the first time a Democrat swept the entire region. Since 1992 these states have mostly become Democratic strongholds, with Republicans carrying a state from this region only twice, both times by a narrow plurality: New Hampshire in 2000 and Pennsylvania in 2016.
      • Vermont was once one of the most staunchly Republican states in the country, not voting for a Democrat until LBJ's landslide 1964 victory; aside from recently-admitted Alaska, it was the only state in the country to have never voted for a Democrat beforehand. It would return to its Republican roots for the next several elections. Once Bill Clinton won it in 1992, it never went red again. Today it's one of the bluest states in the country and home to the only self-identifying socialist in the U.S. Senate, Bernie Sanders.
      • Certain states from other regions, such as Illinois and California, followed a similar path to that of the Northeastern states. Early in the GOP's history these were strongly Republican-leaning states, then in the 1930s they moved toward swing-state status, before transforming into Democratic strongholds by the 1990s.
      • In contrast, most of the states of the Mountain and Great Plains regions—Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas—have been pretty consistently Republican throughout their entire history, seemingly immune to the big shifts happening in the more eastern regions outlined above.
      • The two most recent states admitted to the Union, Alaska and Hawaii, were initially more competitive than today. In their first presidential election since statehood—the 1960 nail-biter between Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon—Alaska went Republican and Hawaii Democrat just as today, but only by very narrow margins. LBJ's 1964 landslide was the only time Alaska voted Democrat, though in 1968 it once again went only narrowly to Nixon. In every election since then, it has voted Republican by wide margins. Hawaii took a little longer to become safely Democratic: while the only times it was won by Republicans were the Republican 49-state blowouts of 1972 and 1984, even its Democratic victories in that period were often narrow. Since 1988, however, it's consistently voted Democrat by comfortable margins.
    • Despite the "Solid South" phenomenon described earlier, much of the 20th century saw wild swings in the party support of individual states from one presidential election to the next, in ways that look odd today. In all but 5 of the 16 elections from 1928 to 1988, the winning candidate lost just 10 or fewer states. There were even a few elections in which the winning candidate achieved a near-sweep of the states (1936, 1972, 1984). Furthermore, it was not uncommon in this period for a state won overwhelmingly by one party to be won overwhelmingly by the other in the next cycle. Only since the 1990s did the modern situation emerge where each party comes into every election with a floor of roughly 20 states, and the two candidates then fight over a handful of "battleground" states, the number of which has dwindled in recent times. Since 2000, all but 15 states have voted for the same party in every election. Americans today tend to take this situation for granted, even though it's historically anomalous. There was a time not too long ago when all or most of the states were viewed as being at least potentially up for grabs.
  • Ideology:
    • For most of U.S. history the South tended to favor a party that stood for low tariffs, weak federal government (except of course when it came to enforcing their will and beliefs) an opposition to railroads and federal infrastructure spending, and, to put it bluntly, white supremacy. The weird thing is that said party was the Democratic Party for most of U.S. history while virtually nobody in today's Democratic Party would run on any of those planks, let alone a platform made up of them.
    • Believe it or not Woodrow Wilson sought - and got - the endorsement of African American community leaders in 1912. His first term disgusted them so much, they publicly expressed regret at ever having given it.
    • During the American Civil War New York City had a mayor who is the bad guy from Lincoln (Fernando Wood) who was an avowed racist. NYC also had the famous draft riots where Irish Americans rioted against the draft and attacked African Americans with the victorious troops from Gettysburg having to put it down.
    • In his very first political campaign George Wallace, who'd go on to become the public face of Southern opposition to Civil Rights ran a fairly moderate campaign - including an endorsement by the NAACP - for Governor of Alabama... And lost badly. Whether or not he actually said "I'll never be outniggered again" afterwards is a matter of some historical debate, but for the rest of his political career he appeared publicly as a 110% committed segregationist, although he did reform his views in his later years.
  • States
    • Adding new states to the Union was once much more frequent; 45 of the 50 states were ratified before the 20th century, and the most recent state to be ratified was Hawaii in 1959.
    • The exact boundaries of the different regions have shifted over time—most notably the South. In the early US, the boundary between North and South was based on the Mason-Dixon line. It was originally intended to separate slave states from free states, but it was also a fairly even split of the northern and southern halves of the country's original dimensions—before Florida was added (making the South a lot longer on its vertical axis than the North) and the country expanded westward. The Civil War ended up having a significant impact on the perception of the region's boundaries, as the 11 states that joined the Confederacy came to be seen as the core of the region, whereas border states that stayed with the Union—Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia (which split off from Virginia during the war), Maryland, and Delaware—were less likely to be thought of as part of the South. During the 20th century, Maryland and Delaware increasingly came to be identified with the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic region (though the US Census still classifies them as part of the South to this day), while Missouri came to be identified with the Midwest. Kentucky is the only one of the border states that is pretty consistently thought of as Southern today. Whether West Virginia is a Southern state depends on who you talk to; the same is true of Oklahoma (which was unincorporated Indian territory during the Civil War and didn't become a state until decades later). Even the former Confederate state of Virginia is now often classed as Mid-Atlantic, and Texas is sometimes seen as Western.
      • The concept of the "cultural South" is even more nebulous, as certain areas that have seen strong migration from the North have lost their Southern status in many people's eyes—this is particularly true of South Florida and the Miami area (it has often been said about Florida that "the further north you go, the more southern it gets"). And not only in Missouri but in several bona fide Midwestern states—Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio—the southern portions of those states (which border Kentucky) are known for some culturally Southern qualities.
      • Some years ago, the website 538.com ran a poll to determine which states self-identifying Southerners themselves are most likely to perceive as belonging to the South. They followed it up with a comparable poll on the definition of the Midwest.
  • Presidents of the United States
    • Among early elections, it wasn't uncommon for both candidates to have facial hair, ranging from mutton-chops and mustaches to sporting full beards. Benjamin Harrison's win in the 1888 election was the last time a bearded candidate won, and William Howard Taft and his handlebar mustache's win in 1908 was the last time a candidate with facial hair won. The last major party candidate with facial hair was the mustached Thomas E. Dewey in 1948, with some fringe conspiracy theories claiming his mustache was the actual cause of his upset loss. From 1952 onward every presidential candidate has been clean-shaven.note 
    • Dewey Defeats Truman: Harry S. Truman was the originator of this trope. While a historically significant President due to his decision to drop the atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Truman was originally considered by the media, who enjoyed more trust and influence with the American public at the time, as an absolute non-contender against popular Republican New York Governor Thomas Dewey in the 1948 election. Dewey, assured of victory, grew cautious and complacent, and Truman, a fiery campaigner went for the jugular and started criticizing Dewey. Give 'em hell Harry's enthusiastic campaigning cemented his image as a man of action and energized a group of oft-overlooked rural and African-American voters. It was enough, and a jubilant Truman would hold up the famous Chicago Tribune issue at his victory celebration.
    • Dwight D. Eisenhower It seems everyone liked Ike! As a very popular military general with a likable demeanor, Eisenhower was courted by both the Democratic and Republican parties to be their 1952 nominee. It is almost impossible to imagine any individual currently who could plausibly run as either the Democratic or Republican nominee, seeing how part of the road to the nomination is how effectively the candidate can criticize and attack the policies and nominee of the other party, and even businesspeople along with military brass have political leanings.
    • John F. Kennedy is generally considered an inspirational figure in American history, due to his untimely death and lofty ideals for America's future. However, the 1960 campaign was marked with fear in a sizable group of voters of a Roman Catholic President, concerned he would take orders from the Pope and was not willing to be a President for the then-Protestant majority in America, which also dogged 1928 Democratic nominee Al Smith, the first Catholic to be nominated. In response, Kennedy delivered a celebrated speech that managed to influence the general attitude to religious minorities seeking elected office in America to this very day, proclaiming that he was a candidate who happened to be Catholic, that he would work for all Americans if elected, and that candidates should be judged by their ideas and not their religion. In 2007, Mitt Romney, a Latter-Day Saint, would invoke JFK's speech during his first Presidential run when questions over Romney's faith threatened to overshadow the rest of his campaign.
    • Lyndon Johnson was never close to John F. Kennedy as his vice-president and interviews with Jacqueline Kennedy stated that JFK did not want to see LBJ become President. However, upon the assassination of JFK, Johnson took over the Presidency and enacted much of Kennedy's agenda.
      • Johnson was once given the nickname of "Landslide Lyndon". Modern readers might assume that to be a reference to his blowout presidential victory in 1964. In fact it was coined years earlier, as a sarcastic reference to his absurdly narrow victory of 87 votes in the primary runoff election to the Senate race of 1948, which was tainted by allegations of voter fraud.
    • Richard Nixon was a popular two-term President from 1968 to well, until Watergate broke out. Nixon lost the Presidency to JFK in 1960, and lost his bid to become Governor of California to Pat Brown (Jerry's dad) in 1962. After losing to Brown, Nixon held a grumpy press conference afterwards where he bitterly stated to the press (which Nixon detested and who also returned the favor) "You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore." It seemed any future political ambitions for Nixon had been buried at that point by being an absolute Sore Loser. However, an ABC News special was aired five days later called the The Political Obituary of Richard Nixon which featured criticism of Nixon by Alger Hiss, convicted of perjury and accused of spying for the Soviet Union. The special was seen as an Attack Backfire, with a high amount of angry callers to local ABC affiliates and almost 80,000 critical letters and telegrams. Genuinely intending to leave politics forever (and considering accepting the chairmanship of Chrysler), Nixon would parlay public sympathy into a political comeback, as he did ten years before with the Checkers speech.
    • Gerald Ford was a member of the 1932 undefeated Michigan Wolverines football team and was considered a very talented and versatile football player who was able to play three different positions. Ford was widely expected to turn professional. Ford ended up becoming an assistant football coach at Yale while he attended their law school.
    • Jimmy Carter was considered a serious underdog for the 1976 Democratic nomination when he ran. When he called his mother to tell her he was running for President, she replied "President of what?"
    • Ronald Reagan originally was a New Deal Democrat, but adopted his trademark conservatism while a spokesman for General Electric. Prior to being elected Governor of California in 1964, Reagan was well-known as being a "B" movie actor, immortalized in Back to the Future. While his politics had shifted rightward (some say in large part due to his second wife Nancy and Reagan did have a habit of always announcing to whoever was listening what Nancy thought on any given issue) Reagan would always defend the honor and integrity of FDR when people around him criticized him and would not take kindly to FDR's name being besmirched as he was personally grateful to FDR's policies helping alleviate the poverty Reagan's family had fallen into at the time.
    • George H. W. Bush generally had a tough image as President, being Commander in Chief during Desert Storm in 1990 and a decorated World War II fighter pilot. However, two years earlier, Bush was the lackluster front-runner for the GOP nomination solely due to being Reagan's vice president. Unlike the great communicator Reagan, Bush found himself boxed in from all sides, Bob Dole ran to his right, Pat Robertson was firing up the religious right, and all that was compounded by a public perception of Bush being an elderly, irascible, out-of-touch wealthy nerd. After confronting Dan Rather in an interview which was pitched as a political profile, but where Bush was ambushed about questions related to Iran-Contra, Bush cited Rather's walkout on the air the year before because a tennis match would cut into the CBS Evening News, as an example of why one incident shouldn't reflect on the entire career of a person. Rather was speechless, and overnight, Bush quickly shed his image as a "wimp" and his campaign caught a second wind. Bush embraced his Badass Bureaucrat history (he once ran the CIA), started confronting his opponents head-on, and winning the nomination; his journey would culminate in the "Thousand Points of Light" speech at that year's GOP convention, considered a classic piece of American rhetoric, which was somewhat ironic since Bush had a reputation for being long-winded and meandering.
    • Bill Clinton's endorsement would be gold for any Democrat currently running for office. However, Clinton's 1993 healthcare bill led to strong feelings either supporting or opposing it. In the midterm elections one year later, Clinton became so politically toxic to the bill's opponents that Democrats in swing areas were asking him not to campaign for or endorse them. And being Governor of Arkansas and bringing his team from Arkansas with all not strongly linked to Washington, would have a rough first two years in office from political opponents and the media. Richard Nixon reached out to Clinton and the two developed a strong friendship with Nixon mentoring Clinton on foreign affairs and the office itself. A devastated Clinton would preside over Nixon's 1994 funeral.
    • George W. Bush's Presidency would be forever linked to 9/11 and The War on Terror. However, his 2000 campaign involved Bush calling for a "humble foreign policy" and was much more focused on domestic issues such as his infamous call for "compassionate conservatism," which became a punchline for liberals and conservatives alike.
    • Barack Obama is renowned for his political acumen, but Obama's first foray into elected politics went terribly. Obama was defeated badly in the 2000 Illinois 1st congressional district Democratic primary, 61-30%, by incumbent Bobby Rush, who continues to serve to this day.
    • Donald Trump was originally a Republican, left the party to join the Reform Party in 2000 (where he ran for President, but failed to become the party's nominee, losing to Pat Buchanan), became a Democrat in 2001 and rejoined the Republicans in 2009 (he was also briefly independent from 2011-2012). His 2016 campaign was dismissed by many as an attempt at self-promotion with no chance, owing to his over-the-top rhetoric and persona, which ended up resonating with voters tired of traditional politicians. Trump ended up becoming the Lethal Joke Character and would completely decimate the common wisdom of politics, defeating a strong Republican field that included Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz, and finally defeating Democratic Party nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton in an upset victory (she was widely considered to be a virtual shoo-in for the Presidency in that November's election, especially after Trump's Access Hollywood scandal in October) where he lost the popular vote but won the Electoral College with thirty states backing him.
    • Speaking of Lethal Joke Character, Joe Biden was this against Trump; the early installment weirdness comes in by way of the fact that he had run in the presidential primaries numerous times before, and had failed to carry a single state each time. After the first few primaries, it looked like a repeat of the previous, and most moderates were gravitating towards Mike Bloomberg, until most of the field dropped out, clearing an easy path to victory. A message of decency and, above all, competence proved effective against Trump, whose actions were very much erratic and inconsistent, and resulted in Biden winning the popular vote by margins barely behind Barack Obama's 2008 run, with a respectable margin in the Electoral College as well. While his milquetoast approach failed to mobilize voters in previous attempts, in 2020, a year marred by the COVID-19 Pandemic, and with the incumbent failing to mount an effective response, stability and a degree of normalcy is exactly what voters were seeking.
  • Other politicians
    • Until 1996, Elizabeth Warren was a registered Republican and became more progressive after as a law professor, she was recruited to serve on a bankruptcy reform commission and felt that bankruptcy laws were rigged against regular people.
    • Hillary Rodham Clinton grew up as a Republican and campaigned for the Presidential campaign of libertarian-conservative Republican nominee Barry Goldwater in 1964.
    • During the 1972 presidential campaign, Democratic Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine had his campaign derailed by an extremely unfair attack where responding to accusations against his wife made by a newspaper whose editor was hostile to Muskie. He was reported to have cried and broken down while he was giving a speech during a snowstorm. Compare that to today, where politicians are expected to show emotion and vigorously defend any political attacks on their family.

    Other 
  • Assuming you are an adult, your life is this. You can now dress, feed, and care for yourself, but back then you depended on your parents for everything. You also think way differently now than you did when you were a child, or even a few years ago. Depending on the person, and the events in their life, the changes may be more gradual and subtle... and some may not change much at all.
  • It's common to put up faces and guard bits of yourself when meeting new people, causing any early memories of spending time with your friends or acquaintances before you understand them to be this.
    • If you start dating or fall in love with someone you've known for a while either platonically or through casual contact, you would most likely look back at experiences or pictures containing the both of you and wonder why you didn't feel this way about them then.
  • The first three Cirque du Soleil shows, including their breakthrough hit Le Cirque Réinventé, had traditional one-ring circus staging, going through one self-contained segment at a time with little thought to thematic bridges beyond a loose "whimsical-circus-star-for-a-day" conceit expressed mostly in the opening and closing sequences. Starting with their fourth show Nouvelle Experience, the ring and curtain at the back were eliminated from the staging and the thematic throughlines of each show became much more detailed. Performers were encouraged to create distinctive characters for themselves, and the resultant interactions between the characters helped informed how one act flowed into another, resulting in a far more theatrical approach to the circus format that came to define the company. Aestethically, the early shows also have simpler, less surreal costuming and music than later shows do (musically the Cirque shows evolve significantly with #5, Saltimbanco).
  • The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has adopted a great many televised formats since the era of television began. During the 1980s all the way up to 2002 (or the early 1990s in some regions), for example, CBS broadcast it as "The All-American Thanksgiving Day Parade", which focused on multiple parades shown more or less simultaneously, including the traditional New York City parade; the Disneyland parade in Anaheim; the Opryland USA parade; a parade in Miami Beach, and prerecorded footage of the Aloha Floral Parade in Honolulu (which happened the previous September) and the Toronto Santa Claus Parade. Since 2002, however, the wraparound footage was dropped and today CBS focuses exclusively on the New York parade (though it doesn't use the Macy's name), compensating for their lack of extra content by padding, whether it be showing pre-recorded musical performances (from both Broadway and the larger music world), featuring viewer-submitted photos at the top of most commercial breaks, interviewing celebrities, and giving tutorials on holiday recipes.
    • Subverted with NBC's broadcast of the parade however, where the parade is, and always has been, a New York-only affair, and since The '80s it's slowly becoming more of a media extravaganza than a parade, with Broadway musical numbers performed in the street in front of the Macy's department store and many guest appearances by celebrities (some of which are completely gratuitous). This is also played straight with the circa 1979-1993 parades, which were produced by Dick Schneider, while the parades from 1994-onwards were produced by Brad Lachman. Both producers had vastly different visions for the broadcast, and for proof, compare this opening from a Schneider-era parade to this one from a Lachman-era parade 10 years later.
      • The Schneider-era parades were also more of a licensed property funfest, a claim which can best apply to the 1984 parade, which notably featured a float sponsored by Hanna-Barbera featuring much of their characters holding a birthday party for Scooby-Doo (!), and the 1989 parade which had the Joker, a Marvel Comics float featuring Melba Moore, a tribute to the anniversary of Looney Tunes, and ALF as a cohost (!!) alongside Today then-anchors Willard Scott and Deborah Norville.
      • Then came 2013, where (with Lachman still producing the parade) the parade's format was changed dramatically, with a new graphics package, revamped logo, and everything being taken Up to Eleven (the fact that Cirque du Soleil got a float that year should probably tip you in). Oh, and they also tweaked their opening a tiny bit. There's a reason why it was the highest-rated parade in years...
    • The festivities also once included an ice show performed at the Wollman Rink in Central Park, but that seems to have ended long ago.
    • The parade itself had live animals (which were only phased out because they were scaring kids) in place of the balloons when it began in The Roaring '20s. During the first few years they had the balloons, they used to be released into the air at the end of the parade - they actually had a return address on them so if someone happened to find them and bring them to Macy's they would get a cash reward. This proved too difficult and the practice of balloon releasing went out the window. The Tom Turkey float wasn't introduced until 1971, the smaller novelty balloons didn't happen until 1985note , the Mike Miller/Spirit of America dance teams only first showed up in The '80s, and the parade continued to use giant balloons of old chestnuts like Betty Boop, Woody Woodpecker and The Pink Panther until well into The '90s.
  • The National Bible Bee, a Scripture memory and knowledge competition, has a big case of this. The way it is now, its defining traits include the Sword Study (an extremely in-depth study on a single, very short book of the Bible), the "Bible Bee box" of materials (including cards with all the passages on them), and a Nationals competition with lots of family-friendly fun. The very first year, 2009, you had to study no less than six books of the Bible, all of them quite long, on a very non-in-depth level. There was no "Bible Bee box" - it was up to you to print out the cards yourself. And the Nationals competition took place in a hotel better suited for guys on business trips than vacationing families, featuring such wonders as weighted tables with snacks in jars on them that charges you the cost of the product if you pick up anything (and the prices aren't exactly competitive - i.e. eight dollars for gummy bears). There's a lot more than that, though, such as all sorts of format changes and the number of verses (it's been changed around over the years, but the first year the highest age division had to memorize 1,500 verses).
  • In its first year, the Ig Nobel Prizes gave out three of its awards to fictitious people they made up Just for Pun. Since then, that concept has been dropped; all awards are given out for real events.
  • The entirety of the cable channel Nickelodeon (its first year, the "mime" era, and the "silver ball" era) was this prior to the beginning of the "orange" era in 1984.note  Furthermore, the channel was originally commercial-free until January 1984.
    • The logo originally featured a Victorian-era gentleman looking down into a nickelodeon machine.
  • When the Disney Channel began airing in 1983, it was also commercial-free except between programming blocks (no commercial interruptions). The programming was also geared more toward families with children than it was toward teens and tweens. And while the channel had a synthesized musical jingle just like today, the synthesizer was more "prog-rock" than "pop-rock" or "techno."
  • The first two instances of Anthrocon, the biggest con in the Furry Fandom, were held in Albany instead of Pittsburgh.
    • On the subject of furries, fursuits worn in the earlier days of the fandom more closely resembled either cheap mascot costumes, Uncanny Valley attempts at realistic animal masks, or even just animal-printed furry clothing with face paint and animal-eared hoods. More recent fursuits are a lot more refined whether they are portraying colorful cartoons or realistic animals.
  • All you need to do is take one look at the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs to see how different our ideas of them are now from then. When dinosaurs were first discovered, they were dumb, lumbering lizards. The best two examples are Megalosaurus and Iguanodon, the first two dinosaurs known to science: the former is a traditional theropod dinosaur—two small arms, two big legs, a long tail, mouth full of sharp teeth, and an S-shaped neck—and the latter is archetypal of the entire suborder of Ornithopods. Hawkins' reproductions, however, were based on incomplete fossils and therefore show Megalosaurus as something like a cross between a wolf and a monitor lizard and Iguanodon as, rather fittingly, a huge iguana with a horn on its nose.
  • This trope is the reason we're stuck with a planet named Uranus. Since it was the first planet to be discovered via technology instead of naked-eye observation, Uranus kicked off a significant debate over what it should be called. Johann Elert Bode successfully argued for keeping the mythological theme of the other planets, but used the Greek name instead of the Roman version that the others use. If Uranus had been discovered after the establishment of a clear naming system, it most likely would have been called Caelus instead.
  • Inertia Labs is a group of engineers with a signature line of combat robots used for BattleBots, Robot Wars, and so forth, best known for their box-like shape and pneumatic-powered flipping arms designed to fling their opponents into the air. However, their first known bot, Rhino, had an extendable spike instead, and it wouldn't be until their second bot, Toro, that they would settle into those flipping arms, as well as Theme Naming based around bulls or The Wild West (with the exception of T-Minus).
  • For their first decade of operation (1990 to 2001), Bolliger & Mabillard built all of their roller coasters with an element known as a "pre-drop". The pre-drop is a short drop after the top of the lift hill and before the start of the first drop, designed to reduce stress on the lift chain. The flat section between the pre-drop and the first drop serves as a shelf to support the weight of the train, reducing related stresses on the chain. On most coasters without a pre-drop, the weight of the train tends to pull on the lift chain as it begins its descent because the latter half of the train is still being lifted by the chain. Pre-drops have not been used on the company's Dive or Flying coasters, or on hyper coasters built after 1999, which is the reason the only hypercoasters you'll find with pre-drops are their first two: Apollo's Chariot at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and Raging Bull at Six Flags Great America). Newer B&M roller coasters don't have a pre-drop, as on the newer rides, the chain accelerates after the train passes the crest to acquire the same speed as the train when it is being taken over by gravity.
  • During the first few years of a roller coaster's operation, it is not unusual to see the park make changes along the way as they sort out any problems that exist on opening day.
    • The Legend, the second of the three big wooden roller coasters to be built at Holiday World in southwest Indiana, is a notable example of this. When opened in 2000, the ride featured a single 24 passenger train built by Gerstlauer. This Gerstlauer train only saw two years of operation before the park decided to replace it with a pair of trains from Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters so as to maintain parts uniformity with The Raven (and their future third wooden coaster, The Voyage) and increase capacity. Thus, in early 2002, the Gerstlauer train disappeared, the two PTC trains were added, and the station was modified to create a new storage track next to the base of the lift hill as well as extend the brake run zone to accommodate two-train operation.
    • The Beast at Kings Island was built with PTC trains that were five cars with four rows per car. Due to wear and tear, the current three-bench trains were introduced a few years into the ride's operation, and reducing the trains' capacity from 40 to 36 riders.
      • The second underground tunnel on The Beast where the track passes under a culvert originally was two separate tunnels that were combined in 1980.
      • The Beast did not have the helix covered over until 1980, its second year of operation.
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