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Going to the Opera in the Year 2000 (1882)

This lithograph from 1882 depicts the fanciful world of 2000; flying buses, towering restaurants, and of course, 1880's French attire. Albert Robida is less well-known than Jules Verne but contributed just as much to the collective imagination through his amazing illustrations.

If you speak French I recommend picking up the Robida book La vie électrique. For the record, I don't speak French. Much like a child, I got it for the pictures.

(UPDATE: Some very good questions have been raised about the date of production for this lithograph. The year 1882 came from a Library of Congress source. La Vie Electrique (published 1892) contains structures that look similar to the Eiffel Tower but are in fact lighthouses. However, I am definitely open to the idea that "circa 1900" would be a more appropriate label.)

See also:
Postcards Show the Year 2000 (circa 1900)
Collier's Illustrated Future of 2001 (1901)
Predictions of a 14-Year-Old (Milwaukee Excelsior, 1901)
The Next Hundred Years (Milwaukee Herold und Seebote, 1901)
What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years (Ladies Home Journal, 1900)

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Reader Comments (15)

Funny how much this reminds me of a lot of Syd Mead paintings: (Presumably) rich people dressed up and going out on the town in their flying cars.

June 18, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterartbot

Beyond the clothing, the other startling anachronistic aspect (paleo-futuranachronistic?) is the absence of features to protect passengers from weather -- no windshields, no doors, no tops or coverings. It's odd because even buggies and carriages of the era would have had a top or canopy of some kind (sometimes retractable).

June 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterWutzke

These look like the personal flying machines in Miyazaki's version of "Howl's Moving Castle":

I'd be willing to bet his research department saw these prints or something similar.

Too cool!!

June 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJay

It is doubtful that this litograph is of 1882 because:

- Eiffel tower was building 1887-1889
- Klaxons were first fitted to automobiles and bicycles in 1908

June 19, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterБурый

I will have to agree to the probability that this is from a later date. Certain aspects of the aerocars specifically mimic aspects of very late 1890s and very early 1900 Renault designs, which I just cant see occuring three years before the Benz brothers came up with their first internal combustion trike-car.

June 19, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterFrink" REL="nofollow">La vie électrique was published in 1892.

The horns we see in the image have air bulbs attached. They are not klaxons (a trade name) which were electromagnetic devices.

June 21, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterpk

I love Albert Robida's work!
And apparently I'm not alone.

There is a marvelous Japanese anime called "Howl's Moving Castle." In it are conveyances much like flying motorcycles. They look like" REL="nofollow">this

Notice how they resemble Albert Robida's" REL="nofollow">flying machine.

June 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterWinchell

Oh, it's definitely the source of much of the design concept for "Howl's Moving Castle" -- a wonderful film and amazing visualization of the Diana Wynne Jones novel! I love Albert Robida's work. One of the university presses recently printed the first English edition of one of his novels (with all the illustrations) that was just amazing.

Jay said...
These look like the personal flying machines in Miyazaki's version of "Howl's Moving Castle":

I'd be willing to bet his research department saw these prints or something similar.

Too cool!!

June 18, 2007 1:47 PM

July 13, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterstus

Thank god the monocle never went out of style.

September 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

What a prediction, people actually flocking to an opera in 2000. Unless it's prefixed by "Phantom" then that's hilarious. I wonder if our conceptions of the future will look dumb in a few decades, or have we all gotten better at it?

August 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Very cool. I love looking at visions of the future from times past. It's amazing how so many things were guessed right, and then again how many were completely wrong.

April 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTony

I agree that Howls moving castle springs quickly to mind. Does anyone KNOW if the design was derived from Robida? Robida is new to me so I am following up all sorts of links on him and have order a pile of books.

May 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGreensteam

Aside from the resemblance to "Howl's Moving Castle", I marvel at how old the fantasy of flying cars really is! In an era when autombiles themselves were thought of by most as merely a rich man's toy, the steampunkish quantum leap ahead to traffic-filled skies of flying cars and limos illustrates how truly imaginative people have been throughout time.

April 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDaisy

I would love to have a print of this in my living room. I love it. I love the opera and I love the print.

November 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Pale Lady

I'm glad you got a kick out of it^.^ The rest of the Paleo-future blog has a huge selection of stuff like this and speculative future stuff that never came to pass. I think that a lot of people are just as optimistic about 100 years in the future now as they were back then. Technology is amazing, even if it's not a huge thing like Online pharmacy reviews or radio; amazing stuff is happening every day^.^

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermarco antonio solis

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