Literature: What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years
Automobiles will be cheaper than horses are today. Farmers will own automobile hay-wagons, automobile truck-wagons, plows, harrows and hay-rakes. A one-pound motor in one of these vehicles will do the work of a pair of horses or more. Children will ride in automobile sleighs in winter. Automobiles will have been substituted for every horse vehicle now known. There will be, as already exist today, automobile hearses, automobile police patrols, automobile ambulances, automobile street sweepers.
An article originally published in the Ladies' Home Journal
in 1900 predicting what may happen by the year 2000. Some predictions were surprisingly accurate, managing to predict air conditioning, fast food, and global transmission of news. Some weren't (e.g., hot and cold air are to be supplied via pipes from a central plant, wild animals exist only in zoos). Some were technically correct, but missed the mark (opera is
transmitted to private homes, but it's hardly a major form of entertainment). And we only wish that we had exterminated mosquitoes and flies.
This article has been copied around the Internet. Since it is from 1900, it has fallen into the public domain, and may be found among other places here
- Futuristic Superhighway: This article predicted that cars would travel on underground or overhead roads, leaving the streets clear.
- I Want My Jetpack: Where are those lightning-throwing blimps??
- Reality Is Unrealistic: Some people originally believed this article to be fake because the accurate predictions were too good.
- Zeerust: A lot of the predictions are correct in basic idea, but not in how they are actually implemented. For instance, fast food and home delivery are both predicted more or less accurately, but the writer at the time believed they would be delivered via "pneumatic tubes" rather than by car, and that such establishments would use actual dishes, rather than the paper/plastic/cardboard disposables most fast food restaurants provide.
- In some parts of the world, typically poorer areas with cold winters, heat is delivered by hot air sent from a centralized location.