Top 5 Sounds Your Students Won’t Recognize

Do you remember driving into a gas station and running over the black hose and hearing the two “ding, dings” that notify the attendant you need gas? If you do, that means you’re as old as some of us here at ThinkFives.

Not only are there toys and other home products that our students wouldn’t recognize, there are sounds we once knew that are now only a faint echo of their former self. ThinkFives researched sounds from the past and surveyed teachers to identify the sounds our students wouldn’t recognize.

It ignited a lot of fond memories and we now are down to these Top 5 sounds your students probably won’t recognize.

Flash Bulbs

The loud rapid fire “click, click, click, click, click” accompanied by flashes of blinking strobes from right to left was a common sound at any major event in the middle part of the last century. As a Hollywood star would exit her limo and put her first step on the red carpet, the hundreds of clicks from the flash bulbs blinking brightly signaled that this was an important person. Or in even earlier days, the sound of a flash going off might be accompanied by the sound of a puff of smoke quickly following the shot.

One special type of flashbulb was the flashcube. A technological breakthrough in the 1960s, it allowed any home photographer to take 4 rapid pictures in a row, each lit wonderfully. Not only would you hear the sound of the cube popping and melting its crystal light, you could hear the quick churn of the cube turning clockwise ready for the next shot.

Gas Station Drive Up Bell

As we mentioned in our preface, gone are the days of full-service gas stations – stations that poured your gas, washed your windows and collected your money. They might even check your oil and fill your tires with air.

While some stations had their attendant waiting readily at a pump, on slower days and slower times, black pneumatic hoses snaked from pump to pump creating the forewarning “ding-ding” that was the alert that a customer approaches. Nowadays it’s a world of do-it-yourself — and in 20 years the whole concept of a gas station may be an archaic idea.

Record Player Noises

Coming in at #3 is a collection of sounds all produced by 1 device, the record player.

For starters, do you remember the sound that the player made after you added your 45 cylinder over the middle pole and stacked your 45s? Each record would drop – one at a time – and you’d hear the soft slap of the hard plastic dropping on the record below. Share this concept with your students and you will probably first get several questions. What is a 45? What is a record stacker? And why would you want to do that in the first place?

Or how about the sound of a record player arm lifting and swinging across to the outer ridge and dropping its needle into the first groove? You could often hear the slightest scratching noise as the stylus settled into the vinyl to begin your first play.

And finally, what about the sounds of a broken record? It could be the scratching of a certain ridge which produced an almost quaint background sound. Or worse yet, it might be the unsettling scratch of the needle bumping across the entire record leaving indelible gouges. Or true to the expression “like a broken record,” it could be infinitely repeating 4 seconds of melody as the stylus, stuck in one groove, plays it over and over again.

Telephone Rotary Dial

It was a swoosh then a click-click-click – a sound that almost will never be heard again. As kids it was fun to put your finger in the “0” hole and give the rotary a full spin. That was true until your parents scolded you for calling the operator.

On the rotary phone dial, the digits are arranged in a circular layout so that a finger wheel could rotate against a spring tension with one finger. Choosing the number or letter (with 0 being farthest away in a counterclockwise circle), you would rotate your finger to the stop position. When released, the dial interrupts the direct electrical current of the telephone line (local loop) the specific number of times associated with each digit. But in all honesty, who really knew that or who cared? It just worked.

But all is not lost. For the nostalgic, you can install that sound for that “click, click, click” as a ringer on your iPhone. Try it and watch as students around you are completely baffled by the sound.

Chalk on a Blackboard

Coming in at #1 on our list, it’s a sound familiar to most veteran teachers and one that we are all glad has been relegated to distant memories. That is the excruciating screech of white chalk on a blackboard. And equally painful, is its skin-crawling close cousin, fingernails on a blackboard.

Every teacher has had the experience. You’re humming along, sharing your many pearls of wisdom on the board and for some reason you look toward the class and inadvertently trail the chalk across the board. The hairs on your neck stand and your shoulders cringe as you jerk the chalk back as if you were electrocuted.

Researchers say the shape of the human ear may amplify certain aspects of the sound of fingernails or chalk scraping on a chalkboard to make it even more annoying to the listener. In addition, people’s perceptions about these irritating sounds may increase stress levels.

While most of the sounds on this list make us nostalgic, this is one we’d rather forget.

Honorable Mentions



What do you THINK?

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