Saturday, January 1, 2011


"A new fuel of vastly increased power but of infinitesimal bulk will supersede gasoline within the next 10 years": - Norman Bel Geddes, "Ten Years From Now," Ladies Home Journal, 1931

"Cars will cost as little as $200. People will have two-month vacations. They will care little for possessions. The happiest people live in one-factory villages" - General Motors President, New York Times, September 12, 1929

"The population will begin to get smaller and smaller" - author Cyril Bibby in 1947, at the beginning of the baby boom

In a 1967 speech to the Women's National Democratic Club, Nobel laureate Glenn Seaborg, then head of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, spoke of the box-shaped, multi-armed robot that would be programmed for the specific needs of the housewife. The mechanical maids of 2000 would be capable of simultaneously sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, washing "and picking up your husband's clothing," he said

"Experimental evidence is strongly in favor of my argument that the chemical purity of the air is of no importance" - professor L. Erskine Hill of London Hospital, 1912

"Computers will benefit even more than telephones from the development of integrated circuits in ever smaller 'chips,' and very small computers may emerge. Most computers will probably still occupy a large room, however, because of the space needed for the ancillary software - the tapes and cards to be fed in, the operating staff, and the huge piles of paper for printing out the results. But future computers, though no smaller, will be capable of doing far more than their predecessors"
- professor Desmond King-Hele, The End of the Twentieth Century, 1970

"Private passenger vehicles will be barred from most city cores by 1986." - The Futurist, 1967

"It may, however, be safe to assume that it will hardly be possible to apply electricity to haul great passenger trains" - George H. Daniels, railroad executive, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 1900

"I do not hesitate to forecast that atomic batteries will be commonplace long before 1980…It can be taken for granted that before 1980 ships, aircraft, locomotives and even automobiles will e atomically fueled" - RCA found David Sarnoff, The Fabulous Future: America in 1980, 1956

"To us who think in terms of practical use, the splitting of the atom means nothing" - British science writer Lord Richie Calder, 1932

"An entirely new profession - that of airmanship - will be thoroughly organized, employing a countless army of airmen…Boundaries will be obliterated…The great peoples of Christendom will arrive at a common understanding: the Congress of Nations will no longer be an ideal scheme...Troops, aerial squadrons, death dealing armaments will be maintained only for police surveillance over barbarous races, and for instantly enforcing the judicial decrees of the world's international court of appeal" - Century Magazine, 1878 

When the Quebec Act recognized Catholic rights in Canada in 1774, a New England pamphlet warned, "If Gallic Papists have a right to worship in their own way, then farewell to the liberties of poor America!" 

"In 2000 Commuters will go to the city in huge aerial buses that hold 200 passengers. Hundreds of thousands more will make such journeys twice a day in their own helicopters" - Waldemar Kaempfert, Popular Mechanics, 1950
Image of an imagined cityscape with aerial transport (did not accompany Popular Mechanics article)
"It is hardly necessary to inform you that life [a hundred years hence] will be as nearly a holiday as it is possible to make it. Work will be reduced to a minimum by machinery. Everything will be brought to your hand by deaf and dumb waiters and sliding shelves, operated by electricity supplied to the entire country by the power of the sea" - Editor C.M. Skinner, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 30, 1900

"Split second lunches; color keyed in disposable dishes; a society rich in leisure and taken for granted comforts. At the turn of the next century, most food will be stored frozen in individual portions. The computer will keep a running inventory on all foodstuffs and the nutritional needs of the family" - "Year 1999 A.D." a 1967 film by the Ford Motor Company 

Cartoonist Kemble predicted in a cartoon in Life Magazine that the automobile would pass out of existence by 1905. His comic depicted a man planting flowers in a model T with the caption, "Of course, there will always be some use for the automobile." 

"The people of New York will practically live in the sky…there will be avenues of aerial gardens and sky golf courses. Instead of going up to the country, people will go 'up' for country air. There will be aerial hangars and airplanes will be as common as flivvers" - architect and "urban visionary" Hugh Ferris, 1925 

"There will never be a bigger plane built" - a Boeing engineer after the first flight of the Boeing 247 in 1932. The twin engine plan had a capacity of 10 people 

"We must also prepare ourselves for the very real possibility that the outcome of this situation might well be the total extinction of the entire human race. It really could be worse than I am predicting, and I really am being optimistic. First, I would like to assure you that I am not some kind of nut anxiously waiting for the end of the world..." - Cory Hamasaki, DC Y2K Weather Report, November 1998 

"We just won't have arthritis in 2000" - Dr. William Clark, president of the Arthritis Foundation, 1966 

"Much of our formal education in the past was designed to prepare us for a world in industrial revolution. We went to school on specific days at specific times, just as our parents went to work. By 2000 that will have changed and education will be as unregimented as our lives at that time" - David Saperstein, "Your Time, Your Station," in the 1974 book Women in the Year 2000 

"All human infectious diseases [will be ] successfully eradicated" - prediction for the year 1999 by economist Feliz Kaufmann, 1980 

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