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New York's Futuristic Central Vacuum System That Never Was

New York City at the turn of the 20th century was a pretty pungent place. Piles of garbage, millions of people cooking food, and about 2.5 million pounds of horse manure emptied into the streets per day will do that to a city. And don’t forget the 420,000 gallons of horse urine flowing through the streets each week.…

The 1920s Tabloid Reporter Who Predicted TV Could Kill Newspapers

"What for example could be staler than to-morrow morning's newspaper account of a prize-fight or political convention one has already received over the radio?" wrote one commentator in 1928. Radio was overtaking print as the news medium of the day and some people insisted that newspapers were going to disappear…

DIY Fireworks Instructions From the 1920s Were Ridiculously Unsafe

Americans love things that sparkle, things that glow, and especially things that blow up. So it makes sense that on America's birthday, we take great pride in our various spectacles of light and noise. Today, there are countless YouTube videos and how-to websites showing how to create your own firecrackers and…

Here's How One Optimistic Parent From 1989 Imagined 2014

Is it cruel to have children when the world is so terrible? That's not a new question. And when a newspaper columnist in Michigan asked it in 1989, he came down on the side of no. The world of the future — the world of 2014, to be exact — was going to be just wonderful enough that having kids was a great idea. Was he…