Wednesday, December 31, 2008

'The Future' in 1900

On New Year's Eve in the year 1900, the Brooklyn Eagle editorial staff took it upon themselves to predict what the new century might bring. They came up with some surprisingly prescient answers, and a couple of real clunkers, albeit amusing clunkers.

They guessed that advertising "would be the breath of life in commerce," that "cheap and speedy transportation" would decentralize populations and suburban life would expand due to the growth of "rapid transit," and that the telephone and telegraph would become commonplace.

Perhaps their most impressive prediction was that "the journal of the 20th century will not be the newspaper," but instead information would be passed along "applied electricity." Not bad, sounds like they had a whiff of the internet.

But....they also thought "liquid air would banish poverty from the earth." And they were a bit off when they predicted mail would be delivered to homes in pneumatic tubes, science would find the means to bring the dead back to life, and houseflies would disappear. Dare to dream...

Photo above from Paleo-Future

1 comment:

Mae West NYC said...

IN RESPONSE TO: . . . . Perhaps their most impressive prediction was that "the journal of the 20th century will not be the newspaper," but instead information would be passed along "applied electricity." . . . .
What an intriguing prediction! I was wishing for a speedy resolution to my perusal of LAIN'S BROOKLYN CITY DIRECTORY this week at the Brooklyn Public Library [Grand Army Plaza] but no such luck. I'm happy that the library at the Brooklyn Historical Society will reopen on January 5th where I can LAIN to my hearts content. Phoebe, come up and see Mae, a Brooklyn gal. / MaeWest.blogspot.com