We Dare You to Not Laugh at These Vintage Visions of the Future

Retrofuturism Robot MaidsFuture housekeeping envisioned in the 1978 book Exploring the World of Robots. Via Paleo-Future.

Like the next number on a hopscotch course, 2013 is now just a hop, skip, and a jump away, and while we’re not ones to make suppositions about what will happen in the new year, we bet plenty of folks will. People have always had a predilection for predicting the future, as proven by these unintentionally hilarious vintage articles and images.

From envisioning ‘food conjured up from sawdust’ to robot helpers named Maid Without Tears (Huuuh?), these vintage predictions are too good to be true. Points to you if you can read them and keep a straight face!

Retrofuturism Living Room with Pinball PollPinball in the pool! Paul Alexander illustration via Krystian Kujda

Retrofuturism City from 1925Congestion gone? We wish! Via Retronaut.

Retrofuturism Weather from 1982The 1982 book Fact or Fantasy (World of Tomorrow) saw domed cities and chilly climates in our futures. Via Paleo-Future.

Retrofuturism Book ReaderNot quite a Kindle – a concept book reader from 1935. Via Retronaut.

Retrofuturism Life in the FutureHits and misses from 1979. Via Will S.

Retrofuturism predictions1950These predictions from the February 1950 issue of Popular Mechanics take the cake! Via Modern Mechanix.


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  1. Avatar
    Gillian 12/28/2012 at 8:05 am #

    These are pretty awesome. I’d actually like to use some of this as artwork in my home, I think it’s so neat to see what people thought was going to happen.

  2. Avatar
    Corrie Kartchner 12/28/2012 at 8:46 am #

    Where did we go wrong?

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    Diane 12/28/2012 at 9:16 am #

    Funny! Many of us do sort shop by picture phone– except it’s called online shopping. They were close.

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      Tammy 12/31/2012 at 4:58 pm #

      I had the exact same thought. Not too far off the mark on that one!

  4. Avatar
    Elizabeth 12/28/2012 at 11:11 am #

    These are so fun! They remind me of a magazine that my grandmother kept for 50 or so odd years, predicting what life would be like in 2010. Remembering this, in 2010 she pulled out this article for my mother and I to read. The author of the article predicted many technological advancements, but the most amusing predictions were those regarding social aspects of life in 2010. He believed that the world would be run purely by women, whom by then would have cast away their restrictive clothing and would choose instead to live in “naked comfort”. The three of us were laughing for hours!

    • Avatar
      Hannah(ModCloth) 01/02/2013 at 9:27 am #

      Wish I could read that article! Sounds hilarious :-).

  5. Avatar
    Sue 12/28/2012 at 12:48 pm #

    Those are hilarious!

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    Sarah 12/28/2012 at 2:42 pm #

    These are so great but some of them are pretty close such as shopping with a screen and working from home!

    x missdottidee.blogspot.com

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    MelodyJ 12/29/2012 at 12:02 am #

    I was thinking the same as others the shop by picture phone is really close. I find the one dated August 1925 interesting. That’s what they thought the 1950’s would look like. Some of that isn’t far off either.

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    Kel Marie 12/29/2012 at 11:19 am #

    I agree, some of these aren’t far off. But the one thing I can’t help thinking is that we must think we are super smart to come up with these amazing inventions in such short time. Still, I think this will all happen…eventually. Like a lot of what Jules Verne wrote it was outlandish at the time, but flying machines and submarines are reality now. We’ve dreamed it, now we’re busy working on how to get there.

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    Gift-Card-CEO 01/07/2013 at 12:03 pm #

    You’ll eat food from “saw dust”??? Too funny. I wonder if people will look back and think the same of us and our ideas about the future.

  10. Avatar
    Jillian Marie 01/23/2013 at 4:02 pm #

    The sawdust thing is a reality, ladies. Ever hear of powdered cellulose?

    Enjoy your shredded cheese!


  11. Avatar
    David Jefferis 07/20/2018 at 8:46 am #

    Hey you’ve got one of my books there!
    ‘Future Cities’ was one of my earliest, conceived and created with the inestimable Ken Gatland of the British Interplanetary Society.
    Still love retro futures, especially dieselpunk.

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