Shopping list

80-year-old mechanical shopping list baffles Facebook users

80-year-old mechanical shopping list baffles young Facebook users

  • A vintage grocery list has sparked intrigue online over some of the unknown items
  • A photo of a 1940s metal block shopping list has gone viral online
  • But users were intrigued by the term ‘Catsup’ and that ‘frozen food’ existed
  • Commentators versed in history have revealed that “Catsup” is the first name of ketchup

A mechanical grocery list with items etched in metal dating to at least the 1940s was discovered.

Unlike today’s paper doodle, the bizarre device consists of a block of metal inscribed with kitchen staples like bread, butter, milk and tea.

The reusable list uses mobile markers next to each item that let shoppers flag when they need to restock on certain items.

A photo of the list, still in working order, has sparked intrigue online not only for its design, but also for some of the unknown elements etched into the artifact.

A vintage metal shopping list from the 1940s (pictured), which can be repurposed, has sparked amazement online

Many products remain commonplace today, but some reviewers were confused by some seemingly foreign terms.

‘What is ketchup?’ said a woman.

‘Is catnip on the list? Or is it my eyes? another added.

Those familiar with the story were quick to chime in to point out that the word was the early spelling of ketchup or tomato sauce, leaving others stunned.

“I didn’t know it was originally called ketchup,” one woman replied.

Others were shocked that there were frozen foods ‘back then’, while some felt the list was rather lacking.

“Where’s that damn hummus?” one person asked, another adding, “And wine.”

“I’m surprised there aren’t little notches for cigarettes and hair pomade,” another user wrote.

Another man shared a photo of his handheld collectible, from around the same time

Another man shared a photo of his handheld collectible, from around the same time

‘How did they survive without chia, poppy seeds, baobab flour and gluten-free bread?’ a third interviewee.

Several people have said they have the relic, with one man sharing a photo of his listing from around the same time.

Shopping lists date back to 3000-3500 BC, when the ancient Sumerians of Mesopotamia in the modern Middle East invented the first form of writing, a system of symbols called cuneiform.

Marker system shopping lists were first developed around the turn of the 20th century, and collectibles can still be purchased at many online auction sites.