It’s the year 2018. And while we have some very cool tech that we take for granted, we’re still waiting on quite a few things that we were promised. But what did the people of yesteryear imagine 2018 would be like?
I’m calling it. The year 2000 is officially retro. Fight me.
This bicycle, designed by Benjamin Bowden, was included in the “Britain Can Make It Better” exhibition of 1946. Known simply as the Classic (and later the Spacelander), Bowden’s initial design for the bicycle included a motor that gave riders a little extra oomph while traveling uphill.
According to the LA Times in 1923, it took streetcars 30 minutes to move just six blocks in downtown LA that summer. The automobile had invaded the city, and the streetcars were owned by private companies that didn’t want to spend any money on improvements. The dream? Elevating mass transit, like in the 1923 model…
We all use dystopian movies and books to make sense of our world. Whether it’s Brave New World, 1984, or The Hunger Games, dystopian fiction serves as a common touchpoint to talk about our fears. But what happens when companies knowingly embrace the dark side of futurism and start naming products after the things we…
In an age when anyone with a smartphone and a steady hand can get a perfectly focused, well-lit shot, lo-fi photos feel a bit passé. But if Holga Digital has anything to say about it, blown-out shots with fuzzy vignettes are about to become all the rage on hipster Instagram feeds.
Electric airships, submarines, and other futuristic vessels were the main attractions on the covers of a pulp novel series called Frank Reade Weekly Magazine: Containing Stories of Adventures on Land, Sea & in the Air.
A small village on the left bank of the river Tisza in Hungary hides one of the best-preserved industrial relics I have ever seen. If you wander along the flood prevention dyke near the village, you’ll see an old building with an enormous brick chimney towering above the trees: this is the old Tiszabercel water…
Rotary dials are one of my favorite UI devices. I like the force feedback they provide as you spin a number in, and the sound they make as the dial zips back into position. At last, I can have that feeling every time I make a call, using Polish engineer Paweł Zadrożniak’s crazy DiY rotary dial smartphone.
YouTuber Avboden has a home automation system from 1985, and he recently created this video to show people how it worked. It actually has a pretty great UI, with touchscreen — and it even allows you to give commands from your 1980s ultra-modern, push-button phone.
One of the first-ever fitness wearables was so dangerous it was banned by the US government for causing miscarriages and hernias. The line between “convenient exercise device” and “ornate torture tool” was thinner back in the 1950s.
One of the greatest media experiments of the 1930s and 40s was the faxpaper. Almost entirely forgotten today, it was a technology that could deliver newspapers over the radio waves, then print them instantly right in your home.
It's almost here, guys! Flying cars! Jetpacks! Hoverboards! Or so we've been promised. It seems these technologies are always just two years away. At least that's what the media keeps telling us.
"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…
"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]
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.
The short documentary, 2001 A Space Odyssey: A Look Behind the Future is a fascinating artifact of film history. As the folks at Coudal Partners point out, it might be a little "cornball" at times, but it still serves to give context for thoughts around space exploration from technical experts and artists in the late…