My wind-up kitchen timer broke

My wind-up kitchen timer, of many years, broke recently. When it broke, I thought that, when I next go to the supermarket, I’ll buy a new one. I had purchased this one from the supermarket at least ten years ago and it had served me well. When I went to the supermarket, I found that they did not have any wind-up kitchen timers for sale.

Over the next week I checked several other supermarkets and several discount department stores and other shops that sold kitchen stuff. None of them sold wind up kitchen timers. The best I could find was some digital timer that needed batteries and that had a monochrome seven segment display. I then came to the realisation, that, if I wanted to buy a wind-up kitchen timer, I’ll have to order one online.

Ordering a cheap wind-up kitchen timer online seemed a bit crazy to me at the time and I wondered why shops aren’t selling them any more. I thought that, surely, people need to use a timer to help them with what they’re cooking in the kitchen each day. Then I finally realised . . . . . most people must just be using a timer app on a “smart” phone instead of a physical wind-up timer. This must be the reason that shops just don’t sell wind up kitchen timers any more.

If this is indeed the case, and most people are using their “smart” phone in place of a physical kitchen timer, this just seems crazy to me. The last thing that I want to be taking into a kitchen is any phone, let alone a “smart” phone. Phones generally get handled a lot, and are sometimes used whilst sitting on the toilet. I could think of nothing worse than using my hands to prepare food whilst playing with a phone covered in germs and who knows what else. When I’m preparing a meal in my kitchen I want to focus on what I’m doing and I don’t want to be distracted by a phone (or a tablet, or a computer, or a TV).

I just have this image in my head of people, all around the world, standing in their kitchens, trying to prepare food with one hand, whilst holding a “smart” phone in their other hand, absentmindedly scrolling through some social media feed and not paying attention to the food that they are trying to prepare. Am I wrong in thinking this, or is this now the reality? What do all of you think?


@user1 I think this post is not totally about a kitchen timer. :smiley: and I completely understand the sentiment. I’m with you on this. We’ve become too dependent on our smartphone. We’re expected to do EVERYTHING with it.
And the thing that really bothers me- it’s not a cheap gadget. If you’re cooking & it falls into the pot- There goes $1000.


I think this is exactly what is happening. People are gradually being conditioned to rely on their unsmart-phone for everything, regardless of whether it is optimal or even appropriate to do so. It’s a disturbing overreliance.

If the timer is always in the kitchen, it’s ready when you need it. You just pick it up, twist it to the correct time, and that’s it. To do the same thing on a phone, you’d need to unlock the phone, open the clock app, navigate to the timer, and key in the time you want.

I never use my phone on the toilet, but I do still consider it a germ-stick: I press it against my face, and it’s right by my mouth as I talk. I touch it with my hands. I then place it in a nice warm coat pocket where it can incubate. When I was a science teacher, the most disgusting petri-dish cultures my 11 year-olds could produce were:

-3. Light Switch
-2. Door handle
-1. Smart phone

It makes you think…

By the way, I also had a problem finding regular alarm clocks as well as kitchen timers. I generally buy vintage on auction sites. It is also near-impossible to buy a camera or portable music player. Fortunately, many old unsmartphones can be wiped, kept offline and repurposed, and many feature-phones have these functions built-in. But it’s still less optimal than having a device that does one thing and does it well.


I see cameras everywhere in Australia! Same with music players. They’re super easy to find on eBay as well :slight_smile:

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There seem to be two types of people living in the world - those who like to be present and conscious in their lives and with what they’re doing, and those who don’t. It seems to me the ‘present’ people have tendency towards tools which assist them to be present and not distracted when doing things. Hand tools, human-powered mechanical devices etc. Personally I love hand tools because they are tactile, not droning with mechanised noises and I can feel the work I’m producing and get immediate feedback from it to guide me through it’s creation.

I find vintage expos and local bric-a-brac markets are great for finding old, well crafted tools and ‘offline’ things. And you get to have awesome conversations with vintage enthusiasts :slight_smile:

I had the need to purchase a new fridge two years ago and had an awful time finding one that was new and would last 10+ years and meet my size needs, but also one that was NOT wifi connected. I looked at other things at the time out of interest and discovered, most alarmingly, if it’s electrical there is a good chance it has some sort of wireless radio waves pouring from it. Why anyone would need or want a washing machine that connects to your smart phone is beyond me.
But then, I happen to love this beautiful planet Earth more than technology. (Yes, I did find a great NOT connected fridge).

I love that there are businesses making new products using old techniques and upcycling old materials, to make products which are manual, not electrical. Sometimes takes a while to locate them but online can be a great source of finding such businesses, anywhere in the world, and supporting their work buy purchasing their products.

Good luck, I hope you find the timer or parts to fix your broken one :slight_smile: