The Ur Roomba (1959)

From Shorpy: "Anne Anderson in Whirlpool 'Miracle Kitchen of the Future,' a display at the American National Exhibition in Moscow." Kodachrome by Bob Lerner for the Look magazine article "What the Russians Will See."

The men who designed space colonies

If your mental image of futuristic human colonies in space involves tubular ships, rolling hills, and a population seemingly plucked from a cocktail party in Sausalito in 1972, chances are good that you've been influenced by the art of Rick Guidice and Don Davis — illustrators commissioned by NASA to envision human homes among the stars. At Discover.com, Veronique Greenwood writes about these artists and the lasting impact they've had on science and science fiction.

Vision of the future, from 1969 Japan

Matt Alt in Tokyo, following up on a recent BB post about a 1979 American view of the future, shares this wonderful scan. He says:

This is 1969's view of 1989! It's from Shonen Sunday Magazine, a weekly comic compilation. Beautiful, groovy art. Hey, at least they got the "Roomba" right (even if they were off by a few decades!)

Hot tip from 1979: the living room of the future will be filled with computers

Click for larger size.

From the book "Future Cities: Homes and Living into the 21st Century," 1979, by Kenneth William Gatland and David Jeffries.

Source: v.valenti's Flickr stream, via the Boing Boing Flickr pool.

A futurist prediction that came true

Sure, it's fun to post old pages of mid-century science magazines and make fun of the predictions that never came true—flying cars! Weather control!

But it's equally, if not more, enjoyable to read predictions for things that actually happened. These are the things that remind us that the world we live in today is pretty goddamn amazing. Teacher Michael Poser sent me one such prediction that he and his students found in The Science Year Book of 1947, a sort-of proto-aggregator that compiled reprints of stories in science magazines. This quote came from a Scientific American article entitled "Microwaves on the way":

In peacetime microwaves are slated for an even more spectacular career… Private phone calls by the hundreds of thousands sent simultaneously over the same wave band without wires, poles, or cables. Towns where each citizen has his own radio frequency, over which he can get voice, music, and television, and call any phone in the country by dialing. Complete abolition of static interference from electrical devices and from other stations. A hundred times as much “space on the air” as is now available in the commercial radio band. A high-definition and color-television network to cover the country. And, perhaps most important of all, a nationwide radar network to regulate all air traffic and furnish instantaneous visual weather reports to airfields throughout the land. By such a system, every aircraft over the United States or approaching it could be spotted, identified and shown simultaneously on screens all the way from Pensacola to Seattle.

What an awesome find! I don't know about you, but I pretty much take for granted all the things that short wavelength radio waves (i.e. microwaves) do for me every day. It's amazing to see something that has become so blase talked about like the wonder of technology it actually is.

Image: mercury m3 sunbury microwave mast, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from osde-info's photostream

Motorola "House of the Future" ads from the 1960s, painted by Charles Schridde


Vintage Ads group participant write_light has posted a fantastic gallery of Charles Schridde Motorola "House of the Future" ads, along with some interesting background on the series:

The artist who painted these gems is Charles Schridde (who just passed in May of this year).  These ads and other vintage television ads can be had (at Amazon for an astonishing low price of 30¢, not a typo) in the book Window to the Future: The Golden Age of Television... by Steve Kosareff.   Further ad paintings by Schridde are HERE and HERE at Paleofuture.com

CONTEST ENTRY: Motorola's House of The Future

1930s newsreel predicts fashion in the year 2000

This brief, 1930s UK newsreel predicts the future of fashion, asking "famous fashion designers" to predict the garb of the year 2000. Pretty much everything worn in this video could be worn, somewhere, in the contemporary world (if only Burning Man), but it's hard to say that any of this really nailed Y2K's sartorial look-and-feel.

1930s Futuristic Fashion Predictions (Thanks, germy shoemangler!)