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Plastic items with molded shapes to look like screws and rivets.

Household items, luggage, or other personal goods with manufactured patina.

Cars with non-functional hood scoops or other vents/intakes along the body.

This never seemed to be prevalent in industrialized history until the last 20-30 years. When I look at changes in taste or design or need from late 19th century through the 1980s, to my knowledge these type of goods were produced to fit the need of the user, with the necessary and available materials. In the past 2-3 decades, it seems like people now want to buy something that looks old, instead of buy something new and allow it to age. Or people want the look of hood scoops...even if the car doesn't need the additional air flow. I would also add that I see more costume jewelry for day-to-day wear than in decades past.

Just not sure why skeuomorphism is now more popular than ever before.

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    Not true that it's only the last 20-30 years. For instance, Buicks had non-functional "ports" on the sides of the hood/fenders since at least the 1950s, probably descended from earlier cars that had exhaust tubing there. (See e.g. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buick_Super ) Non-functional hood scoops were common on "performance" cars in the '60s. And then there were tailfins... – jamesqf Jan 23 '16 at 18:58
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Nothing modern about this trend at all - just witness this ancient Greek cuirass replete with muscle tendons, rib cage, and even a navel and two nipples:

enter image description here

This additional article traces the history of such Greek cuirasses through various stages of development.

As for why it is so prevalent, try asking your wife why she wears lipstick and high heels - appearance matters, in and of itself, beyond and even sometimes to the slight detriment of functionality. Even Neanderthals liked lipstick apparently.

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