We’re often fascinated with things that are brand-new and the pristine: everything from shiny gizmos and gadgets to a freshly paved neighborhood street can catch our eye—and appreciation! But while “new” may be a status symbol and a target for envy, it doesn’t last forever.
As the days, months, and years pass by, even the most well-built devices and the sturdiest buildings will show the effects of Father Time. They end up broken-down, withered, or rusted away. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing! In fact, there’s an odd beauty to these objects that have been worn away by time…
1. Years of grime had piled up on this New York City apartment—located on East Houston Street—so workers rinsed it away with a chemical formula since the facade couldn’t withstand true power washing. How satisfying is it to see all that dirt come off?
2. An interior door knob (left) hidden away from the elements maintained a clean look even after a several decades of use, while on the right, this once-matching handle mutated after bearing abuse from salty sea winds.
3. A man started carrying a “Peace” silver dollar in his pocket after he left the military in 1952, and by 2014—over 60 years later—he still had the coin in his pocket. Time and friction had worn it down so smoothly it was beyond recognition!
4. In 1982, U.S. minters began utilizing copper-coated zinc to make pennies—as opposed to the 95 percent copper coins they used prior (see the pennies in the middle three columns). When the copper-zinc pennies corroded, they looked like the blue-hued coins on the far right. When they were new, they looked like the pennies on the left.
5. Photographer David Perry snapped this photo he called “Well-Worn Steps of Faith” at Wycoller Hall in the United Kingdom. Centuries of heavy foot traffic warped these solid stone steps into something almost fantastical.
6. The men using this bathroom assumed everyone else would be using the metal plate to push open the door, making the metal a hive for bacteria. To circumvent the germs, they opted to utilize this now-worn-away spot on the door instead… just like everyone else.
7. For 12 years, every time this woman’s dog wanted to go outside, her pooch pawed at the same part of the door just a few inches from the ground. Eventually, a small spot etched its way into the door!
8. When this person’s dog lowered his head to drink from his water bowl, his circular vaccination tag clinked off the side of the bowl. Every day for 13 years, a bit of the tag chipped away with each drink, until it looked like this.
9. The floors at this Bank of America in Atlanta, Georgia, were made of marble, a relatively soft—but beautiful—stone. Over time, the collective weight of people speaking to the bank’s tellers pressed foot imprints onto the floor!
10. Death by a thousand paper cuts might sound like a fictional idea, but this copier and scanner proved that paper can do some serious damage. For years, hot paper chipped away at the plastic, leaving behind these scrapes.
11. A hiker’s walking sticks support some serious weight as they bite into rocks and uneven ground along winding mountain trails. After the pair seen on the bottom saw about 2,000 cumulative miles of hiking and their tips crumbled away, the owner had to retire them.
12. The owner of his barber shop neglected to reapply finish to the floors every now and then. Subsequently, his barbers left footprints every time they moved around the chair, which let black rings show the culmination of a few years’ worth of haircuts!
13. At London’s Buckingham Palace, tourists and locals press all the way up against its black iron fences to witness the changing of the guard. In the process, people hold on tight to some of the shorter posts, wearing away the tips.
14. Some chefs sharpen their knives weekly—some even daily. For 41 years, the bottom knife saw that level of maintenance. Each sharpening removed about one-ten thousandth of an inch from the blade, which, believe it or not, was once identical to the knife at the top!
15. After sitting for 10 years in their dispenser, these once-vibrant M&Ms didn’t look so appetizing anymore. Condensation likely melted away the coating on the candies while heat melted the chocolate, creating this sugary pool of candy powder.
16. It only took three years for the hat on the left to accumulate enough wear, tear, and wheel-bearing grease to end up the tattered, blackened mess you see here. Luckily, its owner didn’t repeat that abuse to his second hat. But what lies in store for the still-brand-new third? Only time will tell!
17. So many ads and promotions had piled up on this lamppost over the years that someone carved out a cavernous tunnel through the papers and still didn’t hit the metal pole holding them all up!
18. One of these once-identical remotes spent the duration of its life in the house of a smoker, and it’s not hard to guess which! Interestingly, the “seven” button on the smoker’s remote was particularly filthy. Did they watch one channel that much more than the others?
19. Kids on the playground spent years pounding on the tether balls chained to this pole. As a result, heavy, two-foot long chains constantly beat and wrapped around it, chipping away at the dark blue paint until it sported this cool design.
20. The five-millimeter-thick guiding tracks running through this crosswalk allowed blind folk to navigate the road more easily with their canes. Accelerating cars and asphalt viscosity, however, distorted the once-straight walkway until it looked like cresting ocean waves.
Time always gets the last laugh, but for photographers, that might not be such a bad thing. Who knew there was such a poetry to capturing objects worn away by time?
Share these worn objects with your friends below!