Predictions about the year 2000 from the year 1900.

Gotta love the futurists of the past and what they predicted life would be like come the year 2000:

Prediction #17: How Children will be Taught. A university education will be free to every man and woman. Several great national universities will have been established. Children will study a simple English grammar adapted to simplified English, and not copied after the Latin. Time will be saved by grouping like studies. Poor students will be given free board, free clothing and free books if ambitious and actually unable to meet their school and college expenses. Medical inspectors regularly visiting the public schools will furnish poor children free eyeglasses, free dentistry and free medical attention of every kind. The very poor will, when necessary, get free rides to and from school and free lunches between sessions. In vacation time poor children will be taken on trips to various parts of the world. Etiquette and housekeeping will be important studies in the public schools.

Prediction #18: Telephones Around the World. Wireless telephone and telegraph circuits will span the world. A husband in the middle of the Atlantic will be able to converse with his wife sitting in her boudoir in Chicago. We will be able to telephone to China quite as readily as we now talk from New York to Brooklyn. By an automatic signal they will connect with any circuit in their locality without the intervention of a “hello girl”.

Prediction #19:  Grand Opera will be telephoned to private homes, and will sound as harmonious as though enjoyed from a theatre box. Automatic instruments reproducing original airs exactly will bring the best music to the families of the untalented. Great musicians gathered in one enclosure in New York will, by manipulating electric keys, produce at the same time music from instruments arranged in theatres or halls in San Francisco or New Orleans, for instance. Thus will great bands and orchestras give long-distance concerts. In great cities there will be public opera-houses whose singers and musicians are paid from funds endowed by philanthropists and by the government. The piano will be capable of changing its tone from cheerful to sad. Many devises will add to the emotional effect of music.

Prediction #20: Coal will not be used for heating or cooking. It will be scarce, but not entirely exhausted. The earth’s hard coal will last until the year 2050 or 2100; its soft-coal mines until 2200 or 2300. Meanwhile both kinds of coal will have become more and more expensive. Man will have found electricity manufactured by waterpower to be much cheaper. Every river or creek with any suitable fall will be equipped with water-motors, turning dynamos, making electricity. Along the seacoast will be numerous reservoirs continually filled by waves and tides washing in. Out of these the water will be constantly falling over revolving wheels. All of our restless waters, fresh and salt, will thus be harnessed to do the work which Niagara is doing today: making electricity for heat, light and fuel.

Prediction #21: Hot and Cold Air from Spigots. 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 the bath. Central plants will supply this cool air and heat to city houses in the same way as now our gas or electricity is furnished. Rising early to build the furnace fire will be a task of the olden times. Homes will have no chimneys, because no smoke will be created within their walls.

Prediction #22: Store Purchases by Tube. Pneumatic tubes, instead of store wagons, will deliver packages and bundles. These tubes will collect, deliver and transport mail over certain distances, perhaps for hundreds of miles. They will at first connect with the private houses of the wealthy; then with all homes. Great business establishments will extend them to stations, similar to our branch post-offices of today, whence fast automobile vehicles will distribute purchases from house to house.

Prediction #23: Ready-cooked meals will be bought from establishments similar to our bakeries of today. They will purchase materials in tremendous wholesale quantities and sell the cooked foods at a price much lower than the cost of individual cooking. Food will be served hot or cold to private houses in pneumatic tubes or automobile wagons. The meal being over, the dishes used will be packed and returned to the cooking establishments where they will be washed. Such wholesale cookery will be done in electric laboratories rather than in kitchens. These laboratories will be equipped with electric stoves, and all sorts of electric devices, such as coffee-grinders, egg-beaters, stirrers, shakers, parers, meat-choppers, meat-saws, potato-mashers, lemon-squeezers, dish-washers, dish-dryers and the like. All such utensils will be washed in chemicals fatal to disease microbes. Having one’s own cook and purchasing one’s own food will be an extravagance.

Reading through the full list of 29 predictions you’ll find some of them are spot on (such as #18 above) and others are pure fantasy. Then there’s the few (such as #17) which kind of came to pass in some form that you wish could have been more fully realized.

Found via Boing Boing.

26 thoughts on “Predictions about the year 2000 from the year 1900.

  1. #22 is a little like the pod system used in the hospital to send blood/urine/etc samples, documents and sweets between departments (sometimes next door). The problems are when one gets stuck or a sample leaks. They have cleening pods but I was a little reluctant to eat the sweets offered to me during my work experience given that they were delivered this way.

  2. #17 reminds me that 100 years ago our “captialism uber-alles” nation had a strong socialist current running through it… Free university education for everyone, THAT’S COMMUNISM!!

  3. I once read a series of predictions about the year 2001 from a fifteen-year-old boy living in 1901. I thought they were rather cute.

  4. I thought this was the best prediction:

    “Microscopes will lay bare the vital organs, through the living flesh, of men and animals. The living body will to all medical purposes be transparent. Not only will it be possible for a physician to actually 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.”

  5. This one was pretty good too:

    Prediction #21: Hot and Cold Air from Spigots. 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 the bath. Central plants will supply this cool air and heat to city houses in the same way as now our gas or electricity is furnished. Rising early to build the furnace fire will be a task of the olden times. Homes will have no chimneys, because no smoke will be created within their walls.

    In fact, quite a few of these seem to be fairly spot on, in contrast to the usual predictions of human teleportation and flying cars. Numbers 11, 16, and 28 are laughable, though.

  6. I wonder if it’s an error in the original or if it’s a transcription error, but somebody sure likes giant strawberries (#13 & #26).

  7. I do!  The ones at Sam’s Club are practically radioactive mutants, super-strawberries.  With Breyer’s vanilla ice cream and some NesCafe mocha syrup…

    (yeah, big mystery where I get the extra weight I’m carrying)

  8. LOL giant strawberries rock!

    I thought #17 was particularly funny, I mean that should be the way our system is run… but apparently our country puts more of a focus on making sure we have cold war spending than a decently educated population.

  9. KEngels: Free university education for everyone, THAT’S COMMUNISM!!

    You may have meant it as a joke but there are many in US and Oz who really think that way.
    I wonder how many brains are wasted due to higher education non-affordability.

    I liked Prediction #22: Store Purchases by Tube.
    Tubes which reminded me of your Ted Stevens describing the internet as a series of tubes.

  10. LJ: You may have meant it as a joke but there are many in US and Oz who really think that way.
    I wonder how many brains are wasted due to higher education non-affordability.

    Looks like you’ve found a self-perpetuating cycle

  11. #22!!! It has been done! The internet man!

    “The internet is not something you just dump something on. It’s not a truck.
    It’s a series of tubes. ”

  12. I’ve goota tell you guys… No. 17 actually did come true. In the UK, in the late 40s and 50s, the late great Anaurin Bevin established the ‘welfare state’. It took a while to build up, but through sheer luck I gathered the benefits of it at its peak. I got free vitamins and minerals when I grew up, free dentistry and optometry, a free health service, a free university education AND a grant to live on while I was there.

    of course, in the UK the welfare state has declined a lot since then, but it showed that it IS possible without communism.

    Overall, I am amazed at how accurate these guys got the predictions. Would you fancy taking a shot at what things will be like in 2100?

  13. Overall, I am amazed at how accurate these guys got the predictions. Would you fancy taking a shot at what things will be like in 2100?

    I’m going to go with:

    Strawberries as Large as Apples will be eaten by our great-great-grandchildren for their Christmas dinners a hundred years hence.  Raspberries and blackberries will be as large.  One will suffice for the fruit course of each person.  Strawberries and cranberries will be grown upon tall bushes.  Cranberries, gooseberries and currants will be as large as oranges.  One cantaloupe will supply an entire family.  Melons, cherries, grapes, plums, apples, pears, peaches and all berries will be seedless.  Figs will be cultivated over the entire United States.

  14. Would you fancy taking a shot at what things will be like in 2100?

    if man is still alive, if woman can survive, they may find

  15. I have always viewed prognosticators throughout time akin to the Sci-Fi authors of our time. Perhaps the “better selling” future seers were the Richard Mathesons or Raymond Feists of their times.That has always been the association I get whenever I read things such as this list of predictions: A long chain of sci-fi fans all throughout the length of human civilization’s existence. It’s probably crap but it put’s a smile on my face.

  16. Does anyone happen to have the link to the rest of them. My browsing ability appears to have left me for I am unable to find it on the Boing Boing page smile

  17. Never mind I found the link about .5 seconds after I made my post. Isnt that just typical.

  18. …if man is still alive, if woman can survive, they may find…

    I think you’ll find thats in 2525, not 2000.

    Numbers … 16, … are laughable, though

    Spelling by sound will have been adopted

    Y. I rlly h8 it when sum1 uses txt 2 rite 2 me, or 2 post on net.  I get really pissed off when I see bad spelling and grammer. not odd mistakes, but plain old chav ignorance.  The occasional story surfaces of essays or job applications written in like this.  The apologists who whine about evolution of language and letting the kids writelike this NEED A REALLY GOOD KICKING.

    Oh and for the record any one who confuses ‘affect’ with ‘effect’ needs to writeout the correct uses 1,000 time.

    English is being fucked up until we all have to speak like trailer trash- I blame US TV, though I have a special place in hell for what Steven Fry calls AQI. Australian Questioning Intonation. 

    This is when the voice goes up at the end of a line? And makes a statement sound like a Question? Its, like, a really bad habit, yeah? Seems to show lack of, you know, confidence? And makes it hard to respond? As you, like, have to, you know, work out it’s not, like, a question, yeah?

    Bloody Oz Soaps.

  19. Hey LH, that was a cool dummy spit.?.
    I don’t know how else to punctuate the AQI.?.
    Do you know that Australians doing that stuff don’t even realise they’re doing it?
    I’m not sure when the habit started; I think I started noticing it in the 70s.?.
    When I’m listening to someone do it I find it hard to keep the smile off my face.?.
    The AQI is more likely to be done by the young … mmm … I mean them that’s 40 and under although I can bung it on to piss dad off whenever I want.?.

  20. Woman at work does it.  I really have to think when talking to her- I spend a couple of seconds trying to work out the answer!

    WTF is Dummy Spit? (that’s a real “?”)

  21. WTF is Dummy Spit?

    I’m trialling not putting any references to any Ozisms I may use.
    But seeing as you asked so politely

  22. Hey LH, that was a cool dummy spit.?.

    And the comfort blanket, and the cuddly toy.  When I do this live I do it as a Stage ‘Stand Up’ rant.

    The trolls here really wind me up.
    LEARN TO FUCKING SPEAK ENGLISH.
    There I’m Calm
    No
    Hang on
    THERE IS A FUCKING ‘U’ IN HUMOUR.
    Now I’m done.

  23. LH: I think you’ll find thats in 2525, not 2000.

    No, we were talking about the year 2100. I couldn’t resist the reference, even if it was basically nonsensical.

  24. even if it was basically nonsensical.

    Aaahh, is that why it sounded like such a logical follow on to me.

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