Friday, December 28, 2007

X-20 Monorail Toy (1962)

This ad in the December 14, 1962 Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM) shows the X-20 Monorail toy, selling for $5.97.
An amazing invention that's fun for everyone . . . the HO Gauge Monorail. Thrilling speeds on a single rail, carries messages to neighbor's house, travels long distance. Deluxe set includes self-propelled battery-operated monorail engine, 40 ft. flexible aerial track with curve support, 15 ft. of monorail track, 10 monorail suspension towers, variable speed control tower and more.

Those of you intrigued by the half turtle, half frog, Odd Ogg can read more about him at Older Than Me.

See also:
Frederick & Nelson Ad (1962)
Closer Than We Think! Monoline Express (1961)
Amphibian Monorail (Popular Science, 1934)
Monorails at Disneyland (1959 and 1960)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

We Are Animals, Says Mr. Edison (1910)

The January 28, 1910 Decatur Review (Decatur, Illinois) ran portions of an interview with Thomas Edison titled, "We Are Animals, Says Mr. Edison: Inventor Predicts Cheaper Clothing and Less Manual Labor." The entire piece appears below.
In an interview published in the Independent, Thomas A. Edison speaks of future inventions and refers to the problem of getting the most out of fuel as one of the important problems of the day. He has something to say about the clothes of the future.

"The clothes of the future will be so cheap," says Mr. Edison, "that every young woman will be able to follow the fashions promptly, and there will be plenty of fashions. Artificial silk that is superior to natural silk is now made of wood pulp. It shines better than silk. I think that the silk worm barbarism will go in fifty years, just as the indigo of India went with the production of indigo in German laboratories.

"There is much ahead of us. We don't know what gravity is; neither do we know the nature of heat, light and electricity. We are only animals. We are coming out of the dog stage and getting a glimpse of our environment. We don't know - we just suspect a few things. Our practice of shooting, one another in war is proof that we are animals. The make-up of our society is hideous.

"Communication with other worlds has been suggested. I think we had better stick to this world and find out something about it before we call up our neighbors. They might make us ashamed of ourselves. Not individualism but social labor will dominate the future. Industry will constantly become more social and interdependent. There will be no manual labor in the factories of the future. The men in them will be merely superintendents watching the machinery to see that it works right. Less and less man will be used as an engine or as a horse, and his brain will be employed to benefit himself and his fellows."

Regarding the possibility of using radium as a fuel, Mr. Edison says that is only speculative.

"Radium has great power," he adds. "It has no appreciable limit or end. It is not combustible. A carload of radium would have as much energy as all the millions of tons of coal mined in the United States in a year. I have a spinthariscope, which contains a tiny bit of radium of a size that will go through the eye of a needle. It has been shooting off millions of sparks for six years that I have had it, and I expect it will be shooting sparks the same way for thousands of years. Some day we might find immense deposits of it, then it will be a problem how to handle it without dangerous consequences."

See also:
Edison Battery Solves Old Problems (1909)
Moving Sidewalk (1900)
In the Twentieth Century (Newark Daily Advocate, 1901)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Our Friend the Atom (Book, 1956)

Walt Disney Productions published a book in 1956 titled, Our Friend the Atom. A television episode of Disneyland aired in 1957 under the same name and can be found on the DVD set Tomorrowland: Disney in Space and Beyond.

In the book, the promise of the atom is illustrated quite literally as a genie, ready to grant humanity wishes. The final section of the book focuses on these wishes with that special blend of sincerity and hope the 1950s is best known for.

The wishes are shown below along with some of the accompanying illustrations. To read the prologue of the book you can check out "the other blog."

The coal and oil resources of our planet are dwindling, yet we need more and more power. The atomic Genie offers us an almost endless source of energy. For the growth of our civilization, therefore, our first wish shall be for: POWER!

Mankind has long suffered from hunger and disease. The atomic Genie offers us a source of beneficial rays. These are magic tools of research which can, above all, help us to produce more food for the world and to promote the health of mankind. Our second wish, therefore, shall be for: FOOD AND HEALTH!

There is left to us the third and last wish. It is an important one that demands wisdom. If the last wish is unwise, then - as some of the legends tell - all the wishes granted before may be lost.

See also:
Atomic Power Plant of the Future (1939)
Closer Than We Think! Polar Oil Wells (1960)
Solar Power of 1999 (1956)
The Future World of Energy (1984)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Future of Religion (1980)

For the October, 1980 issue of The Futurist Ted Peters, associate professor of systematic theology at the Pacific Lutheran Seminary (Berkeley, CA), wrote a piece titled, "The Future of Religion in a Post-Industrial Society." An excerpt appears below.
Western society is so pre-occupied with the consumption of goods and services that even religion may become just another commodity, like the packaged tour to an exotic island. If so, the world may lose a possible solution to its great crises.

What is to become of religion as our society moves further and further into the post-industrial period? Certain trends are fairly easy to identify. For example, an extension of Islamic influence due primarily to the sudden expansion of wealth in Muslim hands. But I would like to bypass trends of this type and focus on something else, namely, the potential interaction between religion and the current understanding of the human self which has developed during the now passing industrial period.

My thesis is that as our civilization becomes increasingly post-industrial, our preoccupation with consuming goods and services will most likely commoditize religion. There is now a strong trend - which I believe will continue - toward treating the moral and spiritual dimensions of life as commodities to be acquired and disposed of according to tastes and whims of shoppers in the religious marketplace.

Excessive consumption, however, whether it be consumption of material goods or spiritual values, is the root of the crisis we call the "world problematique." In addition, as long as the consumer mentality prevails, we will be condemned to a prostitution of the essential religious vision, a vision of the transcendent unity of all things which requires a sacrifice of the human ego. It is just such a vision, however, that holds the greatest promise for resolving the world problematique.

See also:
Headlines of the Near Future (1972)
Future Shock (1972)

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Ultimate Necessity of Space Travel (1959)

Philip N. Shockey wrote a piece for the March-May, 1959 issue of Space Journal titled, "The Ultimate Necessity of Space Travel." Shockey makes the case for a trip to the moon and eventually further into space as a necessity brought about by the eventual destruction of Earth a few billion years from now.

That trip to the moon was still a decade away but, as noted in the piece, was anticipated to be no sooner than 20 years out. An excerpt from the piece appears below.
When one considers that our planet is doomed, at least as far as life is concerned, it is impossible to put meaningful value on the titanic forward struggle of life on Earth through billions of years. This struggle, whether conscious or not, appears agonizingly futile if the gigantic mass contribution can not be perpetuated.

Shockey's daughter, Jeane Goforth, was kind enough to scan the entire issue which can be viewed here.

See also:
Challenge of Outer Space (circa 1950s)
The Complete Book of Space Travel (1956)
Mars and Beyond (1957)
Man and the Moon (1955)
Wernher von Braun's Space Shuttle (1950s)
Animal Life on Mars (1957)
Plant Life on Mars (1957)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Stepped Platform Railway (1890)

These images of a moving sidewalk of the future ran in an 1890 issue of Scientific American. A moving sidewalk very similar to this was actually built for the 1900 Paris Exposition. You can even watch film of the sidewalk in action, shot by Thomas Edison. The images below can also be found in the excellent book Victorian Inventions by Leonard De Vries.

See also:
Moving Sidewalk (1900)
Moving Sidewalk Mechanics (1900)
Gardens of Glowing Electrical Flowers (1900)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

1999 A.D. Controversy

Back in April, I started posting clips from the 1967 film 1999 A.D. I never expected controversy. The video below should hopefully clear things up. Many thanks to Skip at A/V Geeks for the link.

There is a fair amount of skepticism from people questioning the authenticity of material I post here on the blog. Oddly enough, people tend to question the posts of microfilm scans rather than articles I've transcribed.

See also:
1999 A.D. (1967)
Online Shopping (1967)
1999 A.D. Intro (1967)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Paleo-Future Online Store

Do you love the Paleo-Future but don't know how to properly express that love? Buy some buttons. Or a poster. Or print your own.

The 45 button set includes every flying machine featured in this post from August.

You can check out the Paleo-Future Online Store main page here.

See also:
Flying Machines (circa 1885)
Futuristic Air Travel (circa 1900)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Dawn of a New Day (1939)

The 1939 New York World's Fair song "Dawn of a New Day" was written by George and Ira Gershwin. Unfortunately, I don't remember where I found the song so I can't give credit where credit is due. You can listen to the song here.

See also:
Railroads on Parade (1939)
All's Fair at the Fair (1938)
Memory of 'Tomorrow' (New York Times, 1941)
Donald Duck's "Modern Inventions" (1937)
Metal Man Comes to Life (1939)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Our Dread of Robots (1932)

The September 27, 1932 Ruston Daily Leader (Ruston, Louisiana) ran a cautionary editorial about an inventor who was supposedly shot by his own robot. From the late 1920s until the late 1930s you can find countless news articles of the wondrous feats robots were supposed to have performed.

The uneasy feelings we had about automation and mechanization are articulated quite well by the editorial. The end of the piece is accurate in stating, "Machinery has created a revolution in our life. The wage-earner, the farmer, the soldier, the merchant, the politician, the schoolmaster, the printer - all of us, in every moment of our lives, live differently than our ancestors lived because of the constant increase in the mechanization of society."

The entire editorial appears below.
A fable that has held the attention of writers for more than a century came very close to coming true not long ago.

An English inventor had built a big steel "robot," or mechanical man, which was operated by wireless. At a word of command the robot would do various things, including fire a revolver at a target. And one day, when the inventor was just about to give the command, the robot unexpectedly raised the gun and fired, shooting the inventor in the hand.

"I always had the feeling that he would turn on me some day," the inventor remarked afterward. "I don't know why he fired before I gave the signal."

Ever since Mrs. Shelley wrote about Frankenstein, who made a mechanical man which got out of his control, this motion of an automatic, lifeless man created out of machinery has attracted writers; and the writer who handles it nearly always has his mechanical man, at last, go on a rampage and start destroying things.

Indeed, fable has become the modern ghost story. We don't shudder over tales of spooks and haunts the way our fathers did, but we can always get cold chills by thinking about a steel monster that goes about with no brain or heart to control it. We find it more horrifying to think of a body without a soul than to think of a soul without a body. Furthermore, we find it easier to believe in such a thing.

And now, apparently, it has happened. Life has imitated art once more. A robot has shot its master.

A psychologist could probably make a good deal of this fascinating dread of ours for mechanical monsters. Machinery has created a revolution in our life. The wage-earner, the farmer, the soldier, the merchant, the politician, the schoolmaster, the printer - all of us, in every moment of our lives, live differently than our ancestors lived because of the constant increase in the mechanization of society.

See also:
"I Can Whip Any Mechanical Robot" by Jack Dempsey (1930s)
Robots vs. Musicians (1931)
The Robot is a Terrible Creature (1922)
Gigantic Robots to Fight Our Battles (Fresno Bee, 1934)
Mammy vs Robot (Charleston Gazette, 1937)
Restaurant Robots (1931)
Donald Duck's "Modern Inventions" (1937)
All's Fair at the Fair (1938)
The Mechanical Man of the Future (1928)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Big Laughs Coming (1922)

The May 31, 1922 Modesto Evening News (Modesto, California) ran an article titled, "Big Laughs Coming," about how future generations may look at the styles, technology and work life of 1922.

The writer of this piece clearly romanticizes the notion of rural life by proclaiming, "We, voluntarily imprisoned in cramped apartments or small house, will seem queer to our descendants. Daily we go to work in our prison cells, to pound typewriter keys, push a pen or perform monotonous operations with machinery - when we might all be free in the outdoors of farmland." The entire article appears below.
In cleaning house this spring, maybe you ran across the old family album. If so, you had a laugh at the peculiar clothing styles and solemn expressions on the faces of former generations.

Did it ever occur to you, that our photographs are also going to get "the merry ha-ha" when future generations discover them in some obscure nook of the airship-houses that will be in use 75 or 100 years from now?

The marvels of today will be laughably old-fashioned later on. It is hard for us to believe this. That has always been the way. Vanity being eternal, each generation - while laughing at the past - is cock-sure that the present is "the real thing."

Have you read Mark Twain's satire, "A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur's Court?" Its film version makes movie audiences roar at the ludicrous effect of a modern American transported back into time 1400 years, unhorsing armored knights with a lasso and knocking them down like nine-pins with a flivver.

The stately dignity of the ancients is farcical, from the 1922 viewpoint.

At lumber mills, teams used to haul boards to boxcars, where they were leisurely transferred by roustabouts.

At a modern mill, the lumber is carried out to the boxcars on a long conveyor belt, a sort of endless moving platform. The lumber comes in a steady stream. An efficiency expert has calculated how fast the loader at the car should work, and the belt is geared accordingly. The loader works at a set speed or gets buried under oncoming boards.

We regard this arrangement solemnly. But, having all the elements of humor, it will make future generations haw-haw.

In the future, automatic machinery and inventions will free men from industrial slavery. Cheap, fast-flying airplanes will enable all to live in the country. Cities, at night, will be deserted groups of factory buildings.

We, voluntarily imprisoned in cramped apartments or small house, will seem queer to our descendants. Daily we go to work in our prison cells, to pound typewriter keys, push a pen or perform monotonous operations with machinery - when we might all be free in the outdoors of farmland.

Will the future consider us laughable, pathetic or crazy?

It's a good thing the average person's sense of humor is not highly developed. Otherwise, we might either revolt against the stupidity of civilization - or laugh ourselves to death at our dignified solemnity.

See also:
Anachronisms of the Future (1911)
The Air Ship: A Musical Farce Comedy (1898)
Sees World Better or Worse (1923)

Friday, December 7, 2007

Transportation of the Future (1992)

The 1992 children's book Transport (Timelines) features this two-page spread of futuristic bicycle wheels, solar-powered cars, high-speed trains and fire engines with robotic arms.

See also:
The Future World of Transportation

21st Century Eugenics (1967)

The CBS series 21st Century aired a program titled, "The Mystery of Life" on February 26, 1967. The program looked at genetics and the future of humanity.

In this clip, host Walter Cronkite interviews biologist James Bonner. Bonner advocates a "large-scale program of [breeding] better people," otherwise known as eugenics. Procreation by committee sounds like tons of fun!

The episode can be found in its entirety on the A/V Geeks DVD Twenty-First Century.

Bonner: Each baby, when it's born, must donate some of his sex cells, sperm or eggs, and these are put in a deep freeze and just kept. The person leads his life, and dies. And after he's all dead and gone, so the heat of passion is taken out of the matter, a committee meets and studies his life.

Cronkite: So during his lifetime then, he hasn't had any children?

Bonner: He's been sterilized, and hasn't had any children in the normal way. After he's dead and gone, the committee meets and reviews his life and asks, 'Would we like to have some more people like him?' If the answer's no they take out his sex cells of the deep freeze and throw them away. But if the answer's yes then they use him to fertilize eggs similarly selected on the basis of review and validation of a person's contributions during his lifetime. He just doesn't get to brazenly go out and propagate his own genes without assuring himself and everyone else that they're the best possible genes.

See also:
Future Shock - Babytorium (1972)
Instant Baby Machine (1930)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Paleo-Future Inventions Quiz

Encarta has an interesting online quiz about paleo-futuristic products. The quiz was produced by the Discovery Channel and asks questions about jet packs, nuclear-powered cars, meal-in-a-pill, videophones, among others. You can take the quiz here.

(The last question is particularly sad, and doesn't end up well. We'll probably look at news articles from that failed invention next week.)

See also:
Jet Flying Belt is Devised to Carry Man for Miles (New York Times, 1968)
The Future is Now (1955)
Jet Pack Video (1966)
Tomorrow's TV-Phone (1956)
Television Phone Unveiled (1955)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Closer Than We Think! Universal Language Boxes (1960)

The August 21, 1960 Chicago Tribune ran this Closer Than We Think! strip about "Universal Language Boxes" of the future.
In the world of tomorrow, you'll be able to talk in English and be understood by a Japanese who knows only his own tongue, or by an Ottoman Turk who's acquainted with his own language and no other.

A robot translating machine has already been developed by our Air Force. Right now it operates at only 40 words per minute and is bulky and complicated. But miniaturization, combined with magnetic tape, suggests far more dramatic possibilities for the future - a translating box that might listen to one vernacular and instantly relay a verbal translation. Any language would than be usable anywhere, universally!

See also:
Language of the Future (1982)
Connections: AT&T's Vision of the Future (Part 1, 1993)
Vision (Clip 1, 1993)
Vacations of the Future (1981)
Closer Than We Think! (1958-1963)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Robo-Shop (1989)

The December 11, 1989 Post Standard (Syracuse, NY) ran this piece about Jean Du Teau and his newly opened robotics store, Robot World. Du Teau appears immensely optimistic about the future of personal robots. "Robots are today where computers were 10 years ago," he said. "Most people perceive that the robotic age is going to happen in the year 2000. The robotic age is here." The full article appears below.

See also:
In a Cashless Future, Robots Will Cook (1996)
The Future of Personal Robots (1986)
Japanese Retail Robots (1986)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Advertising in the Near Future (1885)

While almost all of science fiction is a direct comment of the time in which it was created more so than a prediction of the future, paleo-futurism is more often a direct prediction of the future. This image of "advertising in the near future," while not science fiction, is clearly more a comment on the period in which it was published.

The image is from an 1885 issue of Puck magazine but can also be found in the 1956 book Predictions by John Durant.

See also:
Picturesque America (1909)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Every Era Produces Good Music (1968)

The August 31, 1968 Daily Review (Hayward, CA) ran this article about the possibility that future generations may one day consider music of the 1960s to be good. The article turns into a very specific endorsement/advertisement of a new LP by The Sandpipers. Do you think there was some payola going on in the newspaper industry as well as the radio business?
NEW YORK (UPI) - It is true that more melodic pop music was produced in the 1930s than in any other decade in this century, yet no era or generation can claim a monopoly on good sound.

And it may be that the pop musicologists of the 1990s may report to their generations that some elegant tunes were composed in the 1960s.

"Spanish Eyes," "Love Is Blue," and perhaps a show tune such as "Cabaret" have a good chance of being in some group's catalogue of popular standards at the turn of the next century.

Both "Spanish Eyes" and "Love is Blue" are among the 11 selections in an outstanding LP entitled "Softly" by The Sandpipers (A&M SP4147). These melodic and nostalgic numbers are handled magnificently by The Sandpipers, who have appeal to all ages.

But the feature song is "Quando M'Innamoro," which also has a foot in the musical door of the future. And the opening number, "Softly," is restful musical medicine.

See also:
All the Music of the Centuries (1908)
Robots vs. Musicians (1931)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Magic Highway U.S.A. Publicity Stills (1958)

Kevin Kidney has uploaded some amazing Magic Highway, U.S.A. images taken straight from publicity stills of the era. He cleaned them up, spending upwards of an hour and a half on each image. As a Disney artist for over 22 years, Kevin's Flickr account also contains great examples of his work on Disney collectibles. Kevin currently works as a freelance designer.

See also:
Disney's Magic Highway, U.S.A. (1958)
Farm to Market (1958)
Magic Highway, U.S.A. Segment (1958)
Disneyland to Take to Highways Tonight (1958)

World of Robots (1929)

The November 10, 1929 Helena Daily Independent (Helena, Montana) ran this short piece about the robots of the future which would enslave humanity by the year 1950.
Birmingham, Eng., Nov. 9. - The world will be a place of mechanical men in 1950, according to the Institute of Industrial Welfare. Skill will have vanished from industry then, it was predicted, and men will be slaves of machines, working ceaselessly in the cause of mass production. The institute is trying to develop "leisure skill" in place of mechanical skill.

See also:
Donald Duck's "Modern Inventions" (1937)
All's Fair at the Fair (1938)
The Mechanical Man of the Future (1928)
The End of Work (1966)
Restaurant Robots (1931)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Maid Without Tears (1978)

Matt Chapman, co-creator of Homestar Runner, sent me this great image from the 1978 book Exploring the World of Robots.

While I've never had a maid, I didn't know that they were always on the verge of crying! As Matt notes, "the 'Maid Without Tears' does not appear to have been made without cords as she has two of them coming out of her, dragging dangerously on the ground." Text from the image appears below.

Stay tuned, because I've found some great newspaper articles about the "Quasar, robot of the future." With headlines like, "Take out your trash, laugh at your jokes," and "R2D2? You ain't seen nothin' yet!" just scratch the paleo-futuristic surface.
Today we have many different gadgets in our homes. They make housework and gardening easier. In [the] future we may have robot servants to do all the jobs in the home.

In charge of tomorrow's servants will be a robot brain. It will run the house. It will control other machines electronically. The brain will work vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers, washing machines, food mixers, automatic cookers and other gadgets.

We will be able to give the brain its orders, telling it what jobs to do and when to do them. If we forget to mow the lawn, the robot brain will remind us. Then we can tell the robot to get on with the job.

There may be walking robots to do the dusting, and to lay and clear the table. The robots in the picture are real. One is called Quasar. Quasar can vacuum carpets, mow lawns, carry trays of food, and even take the dog for a walk! At the door is another robot, called the Maid Without Tears.

One day people may not go out to work at all. They will work from home, using television and robots. The robot brain will suggest meals for the day. It will order our shopping, finding out from other robots in the local shops where the best buys are. The goods will be packed and delivered to our home by robots.

See also:
Robots: The World of the Future (1979)
Living Room of the Future (1979)
In a Cashless Future, Robots Will Cook (1996)
Closer Than We Think! Robot Housemaid (1959)
The Electronic Brain Made Beef Stew (1959)
The Future of Personal Robots (1986)

Cars Detroit Forgot To Build, 1950-1960

Bruce McCall's 2001 book The Last Dream-o-Rama is a brilliant, hilarious example of postmodern paleo-futurism (an obnoxiously academic term I came up with to describe co-opting past visions of the future).

With a subtitle of "The Cars Detroit Forgot to Build, 1950-1960" this book is pure parody. Although, side-by-side with the sincere concept drawings of Driving Through Futures Past, one would be hard-pressed to tell the parody from the real thing.

The illustration above is called the "HobbyPop RoadShop from 1958" which proclaims that Mom better drive smoother upstairs because, "Dad's trying to build a birdhouse downstairs!" More excerpts from the book appear below.

El Scandinavia Mk XXX, 1956
"The Look of Today, Tomorrow!" was Matterhorn Motors' promotional theme for 1956, and semanticists, at least those with both the time and inclination, still bicker over its precise meaning: a promise, or an IOU?

Opening night of Matterhorn Motors' Futurific Tomorrowrama Cavalcade of Chrome, Detroit, October 1954. Public hysteria topped Orson Welles's 1938 radio broadcast of War of the Worlds before Matterhorn announced that none of the dream cars on display would be produced for sale.

Bossmobile Gal Friday Execustreak, 1958
Bulgemobile Corp. decided to give the busy Fifties executive the break he needed with its premier dream car for the '58 season. Enter the fabulous Bossmobile, where the high-salaried corporate big shot could sit back, digest his three-martini lunch, and dictate memos or gab to his golf pro on the portable Electrofone or just uncap the Johnny Walker in the lower right-hand desk drawer for a bracing nip or three before the Bossmobile deposited him at his split-level suburban home in time for cocktail hour.

See also:
Gyroscopic Rocket Car (1945)
GM's Three-Wheeled Runabout (1966)
Postmodern Paleo-Future
GM Car of the Future (1962)
Automobiles of the Future (1966)
Postmodern Paleo-Future Art

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Mile Run in 3:41 by Year 2000 (1965)

The September 4, 1965 Press Courier (Oxnard, CA) ran an article titled, "Physiologist sees mile run in 3:41 by year 2000." The entire article appears below.

In case you were wondering, the actual world record in 2000 was 3:43.13, set by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco, according to Running Times magazine.
How fast will man run the mile in the year 2000?

The answer, according to Oxford University physiologist B.B. Lloyd, is three minutes, 41 seconds - more than 12 seconds faster than French athlete Michel Jazy's current world mark of 03.53.6.

Lloyd, addressing the annual convention of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, said the trends in record breaking of the past 50 years were likely to continue for the next 50.

Records keep getting broken, he said, because athletes keep getting "greater hearted" - their muscles get more oxygen from the blood pumped to them by the heart.

Thus, he thought the reason for improvement lay not so much in individual skill as in more intensive selection and training, particularly during the final stages of growth.

These were his forecasts for other world marks at the end of the century.

100 yards: 8.6 seconds, now 9.1.
440 yards: 42.4 seconds, now 44.9.
10,000 meters: 26:08.4, now 27:39.4
Marathon: two hours, two minutes, now two hours, 12 minutes. [paleo-future editor's note: Khalid Khannouchi of Morocco held the record in the year 2000 with two hours, five minutes and forty-two seconds.]

Lloyd said the ability of a runner to use oxygen had increased about eight per cent since 1930.

He added:
'There seems no reason why a similar rate of increase should not be seen for the next 50 years, particularly as the maximum capacity to use oxygen in cross country skiers has already been shown as six per cent larger than that of record breaking miler John Landy.

And he forecast that women may overtake men in sprint events. Women, he said, can use their original stores of energy faster than men.

See also:
Lunar High Jump (1979)
Sport in Space Colonies (1977)
Olympic Games on the Moon in 2020 (1979)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Magic Highway, U.S.A. Segment (1958)

Jeff over at 2719 Hyperion consistently has great analysis of all-things-Disney. Last week he posted the futuristic segment from the 1958 Disneyland TV show, "Magic Highway, U.S.A." Provided it stays up, I recommend checking out the clip because you can't find this program anywhere else.

You may remember the clips that we've looked at here on the Paleo-Future blog, including the commute as well as farm to market.

See also:
Disney's Magic Highway, U.S.A. (1958)
Farm to Market (1958)

Wernher von Braun's Space Shuttle (1950s)

These illustrations by Fred Freeman show Wernher von Braun's concept for a space shuttle in the 1950s. The illustrations can be found in the book Visions of Spaceflight: Images from the Ordway Collection.

To provide safety in case of a malfunction of the reusable upper stage - von Braun's 1950s shuttle concept - crew and passengers press buttons on their chair arms. Contour seats straighten automatically and enclosures snap shut forming sealed escape capsules. To abandon ship, the crew and passengers push another button and the capsules, guided by rails, are ejected by explosive powder charges. The arrangement is seen in cross-section.

After ejection, the capsules' descent is controlled by four-foot steel mesh parachutes. At about 150 above the ground or water, a proximity fuse sets off a small rocket that further slows the rate of fall.

See also:
Challenge of Outer Space (circa 1950s)
The Complete Book of Space Travel (1956)
General Dynamics Astronautics Time Capsule (1963)
Mars and Beyond (1957)
Man and the Moon (1955)
Closer Than We Think! Space Coveralls (1960)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Closer Than We Think! Custom-Grown Timber (1960)

The man in this May 8, 1960 Closer Than We Think! strip is injecting color into trees from a walking robot paint-mixer. Much like polar oil wells, this image certainly has a different connotation in 2007 than it did in 1960.

Today's forests simply grow. Tomorrow, this process may be speeded and regulated - as to size, quality and even color, thanks to intensive research work now under way.

The U.S. Forest Service has already developed pine trees that mature twice as fast as today's ponderosa. Rayonier, Inc., is injecting radioactive carbon 14 into trunks to affect cellulose growth. Weyerhaeuser Co. has created new ways to avoid insect damage. And the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports a treatment that will pre-color lumber while the trees are still growing; thus painting of wood may one day become a thing of the past.

See also:
Closer Than We Think! (1958-1963)
Closer Than We Think! Fat Plants and Meat Beets (1958)
Robot Farms (1982)
Going Backward into 2000 (1966)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Edmund G. Brown's Californifuture (1963)

Today we continue our look into the time capsule and booklet titled 2063 A.D. Buried by General Dynamics Astronautics in 1963, there is some question as to where it may now reside, as the General Dynamics Astronautics building has been torn down. Some guessed that it would be at the San Diego Air & Space Museum but my last trip to that city turned up nothing. Hopefully, this time capsule hasn't been lost forever.

The piece below by California Governor Edmund G. Brown appears on page six of the time capsule booklet.
The Honorable Edmund G. Brown
Governor, State of California

I have been asked by those responsible for placing this "space" capsule to write down my guesses about the state of man's space efforts one hundred years from this date when, hopefully, this capsule will be opened.

Most of my life has been spent as a politician. Politicians generally know very little about rockets, satellites and the other trappings of outer space.

It is their task to be concerned about inner space, the still undiscovered space of the mind and the spirit, and about whether the institutions of men on this planet create for the men they are supposed to serve the atmosphere, the psychological spaciousness, in which they can grow to fulfill their human potential.

This is the "space" about which I am concerned in 1963 as I write this statement. Even here, on ground that is much more familiar to me than is outer space, I have few predictions, but many hopes, about life on earth one hundred years from now.

My chief hope is that by the time men will have truly grasped the overriding necessity of freedom as a condition of man's continued existence: freedom from the necessity to hate as well as freedom from oppression of the mind, the spirit and the body.

I hope too that, having grasped this imperative, man, one hundred years from 1963, will have transformed his institutions into guarantors of that freedom.

See also:
General Dynamics Astronautics Time Capsule (1963)
Broken Time Capsule (1963-1997)
Lyndon B. Johnson on 2063 A.D. (1963)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Meet George Jetson (Wall Street Journal, 2007)

Jason Fry has a very interesting piece in today's Wall Street Journal about those who long for the Jetsons' version of the future. The November 15, 2007 issue of Rolling Stone also has an article about paleo-futurism, although I haven't read that one yet.

An excerpt from the Wall Street Journal piece appears below but just to clarify, there were only 24 episodes of the original 1960s version of the Jetsons. New episodes were produced in the 1980s.
I doubt the creators of "The Jetsons" ever imagined how they'd influence kids growing up in the 1970s. The last episode of the original "Jetsons" aired in the spring of 1963, but its real heyday came in syndication, with the show playing on what seemed like continuous loop in the late 1970s. Amazingly, there were only 24 "Jetsons" episodes --- it's a bit frightening to imagine how many times I must have seen each one.

And I'm not alone. Rolling Stone just released another anniversary issue, this one interviewing 25 big names about the future of the music industry, global warming, politics and the like. Turns out a fair number of Rolling Stone's famous interviewees spent their childhoods the same way I did: watching George and Jane and Judy and Elroy.

Kanye West and Bruce Springsteen would like their flying cars already. The future was "The Jetsons," George Clooney recalls -- it "meant getting into a silver costume with a ring around your neck and riding around in floating cars. It was antiseptic and perfect." Chris Rock also grew up expecting airborne cars and moving sidewalks. Mr. Clooney finds it "funny that none of it really came around," but Mr. Rock notes that flying cars aside, "The Jetsons pretty much came true. My kid even has a mechanical dog that does flips." (Who's right? I'll get to that.)

See also:
Paleo-Future in the Wall Street Journal

Take Me With You Dearie (1909)

A friend just sent me a link to Early Aviator, which has some great images of flight from the early 20th century. Some are serious photographs while others are fanciful illustrations of what aviation was to be.

Some of the sheet music imagery and titles feel like they could be part of a Mr. Show sketch. The image above is from sheet music published in 1909 by Junie McCree and Albert von Tizler, titled "Take Me Up With You Dearie."

See also:
Futuristic Air Travel (circa 1900)
Aerial Navigation Will Never Be Popular (1906)
Pears Soap Flying Machine (1906)
Postcards Show the Year 2000 (circa 1900)
Flying Bicycle (1919)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Closer Than We Think! Space Coveralls (1960)

Due to popular demand, today we have "Space Coveralls" from the March 20, 1960 Closer Than We Think! strip which ran in the Chicago Tribune.
Astronauts will need protection from dangerous radiation, temperature extremes, lack of oxygen, unusual conditions of gravity and other space barriers. Special suits to do that job are now being developed.

Air conditioning is a must. Westinghouse is now creating an individual "package" which maintains steady temperature and has a blower to circulate air. Other companies are devising roomy space coveralls with built-in ray protection and oxygen systems. One protective measure that might be included: Metallic pads on the suits - so that disabled "drifters," separated from their mother ship, can be brought back to safety with a large magnet.

See also:
Closer Than We Think! (1958-1963)
Closer Than We Think! Boytopia (1960)
Challenge of Outer Space (circa 1950s)
The Complete Book of Space Travel (1956)
Mars and Beyond (1957)
Man and the Moon (1955)
Spaceport of the Future (1957)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The End of Work (1966)

Today, we have more from the 1966 radio documentary 2000 A.D.. In this part of the program host Chet Huntley talks with Irwin "Bud" Lewis about the future of computers and leisure.
My opinion is that we're going to have to readjust our old, Puritan perhaps, concepts of what a person should do with his life. We used to believe that work was ennobling, that a man who devoted himself to hard work was in some way virtuous. Now, it seems to me, that what is required is a different attitude toward what a man should do with his life. Because there's not going to be all the jobs that used to be around.

Listen to the program here.

See also:
2000 A.D. Radio Documentary (1966)
Going Backward into 2000 (1966)
Transportation in 2000 A.D. (1966)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Closer Than We Think! Boytopia (1960)

This Closer Than We Think! strip ran in the March 13, 1960 Chicago Tribune.

Community center planners are getting ready to meet tomorrow's challenges. For proof, look at "Boytopia," the concept of the Boys' Clubs of America for the age of automation and space travel.

Such centers would teach youngsters the mechanics of space travel, solar energy and other new phases of science - just as today they are taught about auto engines, television and radio, electricity and wood-working. There would be special facilities for the handicapped, too, so that all the upcoming generation might be better fitted for the strenuous age of interstellar travel.

See also:
Closer Than We Think! (1958-1963)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Zero-Gravity Football (1981)

This illustration of "zero-gravity football" appears in the 1981 book School, Work and Play (World of Tomorrow).
Zero-gravity football is a great sport, but it can only be played in a space colony or a space station, where there are zones in which everything is weightless. The players zoom through the air, powered by small motors in their backpacks. Laser lines mark out the field.

See also:
"Grasshopper" Golf Cart (1961)
Sport in Space Colonies (1977)
Olympic Games on the Moon in 2020 (1979)
Future Without Football (Daily Review, 1976)
Lunar High Jump (1979)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Discovering the Videophone (1970)

The photo above ran in the August 6, 1970 Daily Courier (Connellsville, PA). The last sentence of the picture's caption appears to believe that the telephone was "discovered" rather than invented. Start digging and you may discover some brand new technology, in your own backyard!
Lee Klingensmith (left), son of Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Klingensmith of New Salem Road, and Joseph Lucas (right), son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Lucas of New Salem, look at the new videophone on display at the Fayette County Fair.

The exhibit is sponsored by Bell Telephone and is entitled "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow". It shows the progress made in communications since the phone was first discovered.

See also:
Tomorrow's TV-Phone (1956)
Television Phone Unveiled (1955)
Futuristic Phone Booth (1958)
Governor Knight and the Videophone (Oakland Tribune, 1955)
Face-to-Face Telephones on the Way (New York Times, 1968)
Picturephone as the perpetual technology of the future
The Future is Now (1955)

Pacific Bell Concept Video (1991)

The 1991 Pacific Bell concept video that we looked at in pieces a couple weeks back imagines a world of communication much like that of Connections from AT&T. Parts one through three of this unnamed Pacific Bell video appear below.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

See also:
Pacific Bell Concept Video (Part 1, 1991)
Pacific Bell Concept Video (Part 2, 1991)
Pacific Bell Concept Video (Part 3, 1991)
Connections: AT&T's Vision of the Future (1993)
Flowers by Alice (1992)
Apple's Knowledge Navigator (1987)
Apple's Grey Flannel Navigator (1988)
Vision (Clip 1, 1993)
Vision (Clip 2, 1993)
Vision (Clip 3, 1993)
Starfire (1994)
GTE's Classroom of the Future (1987)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Restaurant Robots (1931)

The March 27, 1931 Lima News (Lima, Ohio) ran a piece titled, "Press the Button and Mechanical Man Will Pop Right Up With Meal." Automation, as we've seen through countless other posts, epitomizes futurism of the 1930s. Robots (a relatively new term in 1931) seemed to often be thrown in for that extra bit of flair.

The machine age is about to take command of the world's largest industry - the $23,000,000,000-a-year restaurant business. Hungry patrons will push various buttons representing items on the menu, their orders will be transmitted electrically to kitchen robots which will prepare their food, deliver it, collect the bills, and carry off the dishes.

See also:
Just Imagine (1930)
In a Cashless Future, Robots Will Cook (1996)
Closer Than We Think! Robot Housemaid (1959)
The Electronic Brain Made Beef Stew (1959)
The Future of Personal Robots (1986)
Donald Duck's "Modern Inventions" (1937)
All's Fair at the Fair (1938)
The Mechanical Man of the Future (1928)