Mr. Burns uses phrases and expressions that have fallen out of modern-day vernacular, including score (meaning 20), twain (two), post-haste (quickly), petroleum distillate (gasoline), gay (jolly), dean (principal), velocitator and deceleratrix (a car's accelerator and brake), aeromail (post by air), lollygagger (slacker), fourth form (fourth grade), ahoy-hoy (hello), jumping box and picto-cube (television), dictabelt (tape recorder), the New York Nine (New York Yankees), minstrels (rock musicians), horseless sleigh (snowmobile), crackleberries (peanuts), cafetorium (cafeteria), talkie (movies with sound) and mater (mother).
He also displays mannerisms which are considered outdated, such as practicing phrenology, writing with a quill pen, driving a Stutz Bearcat while wearing a Victorian motorists' outfit which includes hat, driving gloves, and goggles, carrying a mace for self defense, driving without regard to traffic laws in the manner of early 20th century motorists, and using an antique view camera to take photographs.
Burns appears unaware of 20th century political and social developments, such as Fidel Castro replacing Fulgencio Batista as the President of Cuba, Siam changing its name to Thailand, the Belgian Congo changing its name to the Congo-Kinshasa, Prussia being absorbed into the German Empire, India gaining its independence from the British Empire, New Mexico entering the United States, the Wall Street Crash of 1929, Idlewild Airport changing its name to JFK Airport, the disbanding of the Negro Leagues, the desegregation of the Major Leagues, Joe DiMaggio no longer being a rookie, the extinction of the dodo bird, the demolition of the Polo Grounds, the ceasing of publication of Collier's Weekly, believing tires need to be revulcanized, confusing The Ramones with The Rolling Stones, thinking cars are still operated by levers, believing mail may still be delivered by autogyro, and the occurrence of the 1939 World's Fair.
Mr. Burns' investment portfolio is made up of long-defunct shares in "Confederated Slaveholdings, Transatlantic Zeppelin, Amalgamated Spats, Congreve's Inflammable Powder, U.S. Hay", and an "up-and-coming Baltimore Opera Hat Company".
Burns commonly refers to deceased persons as if they were alive, including Sir Donald Bradman, Stewie Dempster, Vic Richardson, Al Jolson, Tallulah Bankhead, Louise Brooks, Honus Wagner, Cap Anson, and Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown. He believes some social institutions and inventions are novel or nonexistent, such as musicals about "the common cat" and "the King of Siam", the Packard automobile, the Fire Department, ice cream, vending machines, recycling, strip clubs, the DuMont, the stereopticon, the Crimean War, the word "into", silent films like the 1929 Lulu, and the synonymity of ketchup and catsup.