In an issue of Ladies’ Home Journal circa 1900, John Elfreth Watkins, Jr. wrote up a list of predictions that people could expect to see 100 years later.This wild document has been scanned and shared by How To Be A Retronaut.
It’s a tremendous piece of writing that shows how imaginative, thoughtful, and accurate people can be when contemplating the future.
Of course, some of the predictions sound ridiculous to us now.
'Spelling by sound will have been adopted, first by the newspapers. English will be a language of condensed words expressing condensed ideas.'
FALSE: We still actively rely on those letters.
'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.'
TRUE: We regulate the temperature in our houses with heat or air conditioning.
'If there be a battle in China a hundred years hence, snapshots of its most striking events will be published in the newspapers an hour later.'
TRUE: E-mail makes this completely possible.
'Trains will run two miles a minute.'
TRUE: Chinese high-speed rail currently tips the charts, running at 217 miles per hour.
'Except in menageries. Rats and mice will have been exterminated.'
FALSE: Anyone living in New York City knows that rats and mice are here to stay.
'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.'
TRUE: We can call anywhere we want in the world, and with Skype and FaceTime, we can see who we call.
'A university education will be free to every man and woman.'
FALSE: With the exception of certain countries, a college education still costs money.
'Pneumatic tubes instead of store wagons will deliver packages and bundles.'
FALSE: We still pick up our own items or have them delivered by truck.
'They will be eaten by our great-great-grandchildren for their Christmas dinners a hundred years hence.'
FALSE: There might actually be a strawberry the size of an apple somewhere, but it's an exception to the rule. Strawberries are the same size they've always been.
'Drugs needed by the lungs, for instance, will be applied directly to those organs through the skin and flesh.'
FALSE: There are plenty of topical medications, but swallowed pills are still the way most drugs are delivered to the body.