I was looking at some classic logic IC:s like the 74-series and could not help to wonder when they where designed, since it feels like they have been around a very long time.
If we take a example, how old is the 74HC595 design?
The Fourth Edition, 1980, of TI's "The TTL Data Book for Design Engineers" (the TTL reference at the time!) doesn't list the 595.
I found references to the original TTL 74595 (pre-LS) on the 'Net, though. Probably will be from well before 1980, the Data Book already contains many LS-TTL ICs. It's old.
I've advised here before against using the 74HC595 to drive LEDS: 8 LEDs @ 20mA/LED exceeds the maximum device current of 70mA. The original 74595 may not have been used to drive LEDs, they weren't that common mid-70s. I remember seeing 7-segment displays in a Radio Shack (Tandy in Belgium) catalog at the time, which used electric filaments instead of LEDs. That was already in the same housing the LED displays use, not a tube.
According to Wikipedia, the HC logic family was only introduced in 1982. Whether the '595 was part of the original roll-out, I couldn't say, but the specific part you called out couldn't have been developed before that time.