Today, roughly 75 percent of American households have a dishwasher. But this wonder of modern kitchen science still lags well behind refrigerators and microwaves — which are both over 95 percent. The automatic dishwasher was the high-tech promise of the 1920s. And the 1950s. And the 1970s. So why has the dishwasher…
Every generation has its shiny new technology that’s supposed to change education forever. In the 1920s it was radio books. In the 1930s it was television lectures. Here in the second decade of the 21st century, it seems the Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) is the education tech of tomorrow. Let’s hope it pans out…
There you have it—the pinnacle of modern technology, in 1989 Soviet Russia, at least. Recently, someone decided to unearth this gem and share the nostalgic find with the internet. Craziest thing about it? This bad boy was almost three hundred US dollars.
Once upon a time, long before Twitter or Xbox live, you could turn on a TV that looked a lot like this and watch spacemen valiantly defeat their enemies with rayguns and plutonium-powered rockets. We can't travel back to that simpler age, but we can re-create the experience using 3D printing.
Yesterday, in 1904, pyschologist B.F. Skinner was born. His contribution to the world? This pigeon-guided missile system, among other things. Yes, really.
The year is 1900 and Georges and Madeleine are trying to get a gig showing off the wonders of life in the year 2000, complete with gadget that we would think of today as retrofuturistic. But it's when they debut their time machine on the stage that things start getting goofy.
These ads made for the Detroit-based Bohn Aluminum and Brass Corporation were largely dreamed up by legendary illustrator Arthur Radebaugh during the 1940s. Radebaugh's utopian visions and Bohn's desire to appear as a forward-looking company combine for a slick retrofuturistic view of transportation.
We love the look of retrofuturistic cities — the clean cut skylines, the beautifully-turned metalwork, the occasionally almost gravity defying twists and turns of the architecture. But what would it really be like to live in one of them? Possibly quite nightmarish, it turns out.
In the first half of the 20th century, artists came up with gorgeous designs for New York City, Columbus, Houston, and other American cities, imagining them as havens of efficient transportation, dense urban living, and space age architecture.
Ever spend time imagining what the world was like the year you popped into it? I love it. Because man, 1983 was ridiculous. And terrible. And awesome. Michael Jackson did his first moonwalk. AOL, Microsoft Word and My Little Pony came into existence. The first consumer Camcorder came out (Sony!) and weighed 7353009…
Throughout the 20th-century, we've come up with crazy ideas for reinventing books, ones that make our phone and tablet readers seem almost modest. From books projected onto the ceiling to reading Ferris wheels, here are some of the last century's strangest and most innovative book proposals.
North Korea's architecture is truly fascinating, influenced by the need to rebuild Pyongyang in the wake of the Korean War and the nation's relative isolation. What happens when an architect who has never been outside North Korea designs futuristic buildings to accommodate tourists visiting their country?
"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…
In the mid-twentieth century, back when colonizing the solar system seemed imminent, people decided to save money by building homes out of plastic. You can see the results here. Some are mind-bogglingly awesome, and some are just mind-boggling.
"EVERYBODY'S TALKING ABOUT SHELTERS" proclaimed Life magazine in its January 12, 1962 issue.
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…
January 2000: Truck concept vehicle from Ford called "The 24.7" featuring technologies like internet, hands-free mobile phone, real-time route assistance, weather reports and stock read-outs. [Getty Images]
Eadweard Muybridge was a Victorian photographer whose work transformed our understanding of the natural world. He was the first to show that horses gallop with all their hooves off the ground — and in this incredible photographic panorama, he reveals San Francisco in its infancy.
The photo above, taken on April 6, 1925, shows a movie projector being loaded into an Imperial Airways airplane for the first in-flight movie ever. And the photo below shows the screen and interior set-up for this historical feat. But was it really the first in-flight film ever shown? Technically, no.