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April 06, 2007

The 1901 Predictions of a 14-year-old

Over at Paleo-Future, there is a record an excerpt of the 1901 predicitions of 14-year-old Arthur Palm about what life would look like in the year 2001. The full predictions are recorded in a book: Yesterday's Future: The Twentieth Century Begins (Voices of the Wisconsin Past).

"How it may appear a hundred years hence, when modern inventions have been carried to their highest point of development that even Edison would feel jealous of the great inventions in the year 2001. In the year 2001 you will see sky-scrapers sticking far above the clouds over 200 stories high. On the streets there will not be any room for street cars, so they will build lines way up in the air, and there will be landings fastened to the high skyscrapers, where the people will wait for the cars. The carlines will have different kinds of names and you will see the name "Manhattan Air Line" many hundreds of feet above the ground. You see air-ships and carriages fastened to balloons for the transportation of the people through the air, and you will often see collisions in the clouds. In one of the sky-scrapers on the 119 story you will see a sign, 'Old People Restored to Youth by Electricity, While You Wait.'"

The fact that people then believed in electricity as a panacea stands in contrast to the tenor of discussions about the cost to the planet of electricty generation today.

Posted by gary at April 6, 2007 03:35 PM

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