Predictions from 1900?

As we are about to enter 2012, I thought I would post some interesting predictions supposedly written in 1900. I discovered this list on PBS.org which purports to be predictions from The Ladies Home Journal written in 1900.

To be frank, the predictions are so accurate (11 of 13 have come to pass, by my count, which I have highlighted in blue) that I find it rather implausible that someone predicted them in 1900.

Here is the list:

Automobiles will be cheaper than horses are today.

Liquid-air refrigerators will keep great quantities of food fresh for long intervals.

Huge forts on wheels will dash across open spaces at the speed of express trains of today. They will make what is now known as cavalry charges.

Hot or cold air will be turned on from spigots to regulate the temperature of a house as we now turn on hot or cold water from spigots to regulate the temperature of a bath.

Man will see around the world. Persons and things of all kinds will be brought within focus of cameras connected electronically with screens at the opposite ends of circuits, thousands of miles at a span.

Electric currents applied to the soil will make valuable plants grow larger and faster, and will kill troublesome weeds. Rays of colored light will hasten the growth of many plants.

Wireless telephone and telegraph circuits will span the world.

There will be no street cars in our large cities. All hurry traffic will be below or high above the ground…These underground or overhead streets will teem with capacious automobile passenger coaches and freight wagons with cushioned wheels….Cities, therefore, will be free from all noises.

Photographs will be telegraphed from any distance.

Not only will it be possible for a physician to see a living, throbbing heart inside the chest, but he will be able to magnify and photograph any part of it. This work will be done with rays of invisible light.

Fast electric ships, crossing the ocean at more than a mile a minute, will go from New York to Liverpool in two days.

There will be Air-Ships, but they will not successfully compete with surface cars and water vessels for passenger or freight traffic.

Grand Opera will be telephoned to private homes, and will sound as harmonious as though enjoyed from a theater box.

Pneumatic tubes, instead of store wagons, will deliver packages and bundles.

What say you?

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About Sean Patrick Hazlett

Conservative clean energy crusader, national security hawk, financial analyst, engineer, and former military officer.
This entry was posted in General, Predictions, Science, Technology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Predictions from 1900?

  1. Scott Erb says:

    This is a challenge. Can any of us come up with long term predictions for the next 100 years that people will be in awe of in 2112? (2112 is also a great album from the band RUSH).

  2. Pingback: 12 Technology Predictions for 2112: Throwing Down the Gauntlet | Reflections of a Rational Republican

  3. nickgb says:

    Liquid air refrigerators were already known at that point (refrigeration was hardly new in 1900), and we don’t use liquid air anyway. Similarly, x-rays were known at this point, though obviously the writer took a big jump to the imaging level described. And I doubt that, what they considered “huge forts” are really anything we see in battle.

    Checking television’s entry on wikipedia, I confirmed that people were already telegraphing images, possibly moving images, at this point.

    It’s a neat list, but I think you’re giving them way too much credit.

    • “And I doubt that, what they considered “huge forts” are really anything we see in battle.”

      Huge forts, admittedly requires an intepretation. I considered them to be tanks, because tanks have replaced horse cavalry. In fact, the modern mechanized military is by its nature a mobile fort.

      “It’s a neat list, but I think you’re giving them way too much credit.”

      Fair enough.

  4. Moe says:

    Sean – I’m not surprised at that list. As nick said, a lot of that technology development was already well underway. I think we don’t give them enough credit – the sheer volume of the inventions that had been going on since 1850 was astonishing.

    Just think of Micahelangelo – he predicted flight and even sketched out a helicopter. Our ancestors had vision, but had to wait for the technology to catch up.

  5. Pingback: 12 Technology Predictions for 2112 | Reflections of a Rational Republican

  6. JL says:

    I’d like to see that city traffic idea come to LA. I really would..

  7. Andrew Kinane says:

    Hi Sean,
    Lady’s Home Journal forcasts for future are impressive. Women’s intuision is alive and well!

    In God We Trust is on our coins – a concept on which the nation was founded.

    Keeping this in mind and reviewing past and current trends and prophesues, my forcast for the 10 to 20 years are:

    U.S. bankruptcy in near future.

    World War III

    End of our current civilization and the beginning of a new and better civiliation.

    If U.S. bankrucy is a near future possibility (nations and civilzations have come and gone before) any suggestions to protect ourselves, livelihood or our investments if it does happen?

    Andy Kinane, author of Noah II, a modern parable about our times

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