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French Prints Show the Year 2000 (1910)

Flying FiremenThe National Library of France (BnF) has an amazing collection of prints from 1910 which depict life in the year 2000. They are credited to Villemard.

There's speculation that they were included with "foodstuffs" of the era, much like the German postcards we looked at back in April.

Car ShoesThe BarberThe Avenue of the OperaA Curiosity
I wonder if the "curiosity" referred to is the horse as an uncommon means of transportation, or the extinction of all animals as referenced in the 1900 Ladies' Home Journal article we looked at a while back.The Electric Train From Paris to BeijingA RescueSpeak to the Caretaker
This image clearly takes its inspiration from another French futurist, Albert Robida, and his book The Twentieth Century.Sentinel Advanced in the HelicopterCyclist ScoutsPhonographic MessageOne For the RoadLady In Her BathroomHeating With RadiumHearing The NewspaperCorrespondence CinemaCars of WarBuilding SiteAt SchoolA Festival of FlowersA Chemical Dinner
It's amazing how long the idea of synthetic food has been with us. Before starting this blog I had assumed that the idea started with the Jetsons.Airship On The Long CourseThe TailorFlying Police

See also:
Postcards Show the Year 2000 (circa 1900)
Evening Fashions of the Year 1952 (1883)
The Air Ship: A Musical Farce Comedy (1898)
Going to the Opera in the Year 2000 (1882)
Collier's Illustrated Future of 2001 (1901)
Predictions of a 14-Year-Old (Milwaukee Excelsior, 1901)
No One Will Walk - All Will Have Wheels (Brown County Democrat, 1900)
The Next Hundred Years (Milwaukee Herold und Seebote, 1901)
What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years (Ladies Home Journal, 1900)
Flying Machines (circa 1885)

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Reader Comments (65)

Correspondance cinema is a bit like a webcam or a video blog.

The barber reminds me of" REL="nofollow">this comic.

September 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKit O'Connell

It's amazing how close some of those are to what actually happened.
All expect the flying men and the brain-transfer thingy have come out in one way or another.

Even the food pills; just think of vitamins and calcium-pills and... the idea is that we don't have to eat food that we don't like to eat, making eating more into choice instead of necessity.

September 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSalo

I love the At School one because that is pretty much what education in most capitalist economies have been trying to achieve ever since. Pack Em In Boys!

September 10, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter73man

¡ Heating with Radium at home !

Ok ok have to admit that it is no far away from what we are doing nowadays.

Heating with electicity made heating with radium

September 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAmio Cajander

These prints are amazing and some are freakishly accurate! I've reflected on a few of them over at!.html" REL="nofollow">my blog - and I love your content... so original! You're definitely being added to my already chock-a-block google reader :)

September 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie

Heating with radium..LOL.. Also the flying policeman, but still using his club as a weapon was good...

September 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Wow - everybody is so thin.

September 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDr. Momentum

I love the construction site! I'm in architecture and it's not like that at all. Thank goodness, since having a building depend on one person would probably not be a very successful one. Thanks for posting these!

September 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

The Cyclist Scouts made the theme song to "CHIPS" pop in my head. :) But also made me think of cops on Segways...

September 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJason R. Hunter

love the pilot stopping for a drink in mid-air and the heating with radium.

kind of scary, but very cool.

September 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAllie, Dearest

anne: Well, it's kind of true as well, since there are construction robots. I remember watching a documentary on TV about a robot that was able to build entire skyscraper floors.

Nice predictions anyway, a lot of them are pretty accurate. I always find it funny though how they think ahead a 100 years when it comes to technology, yet they can't imagine thinking outside the box when it comes to things like design, fashion or architecture. The most unusual item design-wise is the Paris-Bejing train imo.

September 10, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterrobotriot

I want some car shoes!

September 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Indeed, some of these have become a reality somehow. Car shoes are Wheelies and roller skates, perhaps even Segways, electric train to Beijing, although not so, there's one under the English channel which to me is far more impressive.

Most interesting is phonographic message and Hearing the Newspaper. The internet is that and more.

The most annoying thing though is that a lot of people for some reason believed by the year 2000 people would have personal flying machines. That won't happen for a long while still.

September 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSed Emihcra

One thing that I always find interesting in these postcards that predict the future: They never seem to predict any changes in fashion. It's always the same things that people were wearing when the postcards were made. Yet even back then, I'm sure that fashions changed regularly.

September 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJonny Mnemonic

"One for the road"

apparently they thought drinking wine and flying aircraft is a futuristic possibility


September 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

i found everything fine but
what PISSES me off is that...

they have machines acting on there own like they have some superior artificial intelligence.

this is not the case for example the picture of getting a hair cut or constructing a building. i guess the fact that they were right on some makes up for it. after all there is no way the could have known.

September 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I like that where ever there are flying people - there are flying police :)

Max ... Out! free online operating system.

September 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Why I'd say that personal flying vehicles won't happen 'til at least 2100!

September 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I think it's a marvelous piece of history. It's interesting to see his conception of a future that lacks one of the greatest breakthroughs in human history: electronics. Everything is mechanical, the planes still have wings made of coton...amazing

September 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterFred

I like the way they connected their lifestyle with future.

September 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAcronyms Fan

People will have flying cars and heat their houses with radium but 'chinamen' will still be stereotypical and everyone will dress in Victorian outfits.

September 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterTheMattstard

Everyone is mentioning about how the fashion stays the same. How about blade runner? And all our futuristic movies where everyone is wearing jumpsuits? And punk haircuts?
The person did try, note the woman talking to the custodian shows her legs! This is 1910, mind you.

September 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

The curiosity of the horse is a comment on its (accurately) predicted estrangement from every-day transportation as a direct result of the automobile.

September 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Sorry to disappoint, Salo, but yes, even the items about flying men have come to pass. Only here in the states, we call the flying firemen 'Smoke jumpers'. They use things called parachutes.
And the flying policemen are just cops in choppers. Ever seen one of those?
The brain-transfer? Ever hear of the Internet? Ever learn a foreign language at school and use the language lab setup with the headphones?
Oh, and heating with radium? Well, ok it is radioactive material, even if it isn't radium...

September 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

These are ridiculous. They are cartoonish at best. They only take what they know exist at the time and just add to it. The dress, haircuts, decor still is still suppose to look in 2000 as it did in 1910.

September 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

i love these. i remember watching films in grade school about the future. now that i am here in my future, where is my damn jet pack?

September 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterOphelia Chong

I love seeing what people think the future will be like. Some are way out there - remember Space 1999?

Then there are those true visionaries like Gene Roddenberry. It's truly amazing what he got right. Was he a time traveller or just a really good guesser?

September 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterGretchen

I'm sure that the predictions we have today for the next hundred years will be perceived just as "campy" as these are to us today. Let us not forget that Jules Verne who died in 1905, predicted many things in our century accurately such as air conditioning, the submarine, the automobile, and a trip to the moon where three astronauts are launched from Florida and return via a water landing. I wonder how many of there French prints are inspired by Mr. Verne rather than an original concept. It is also interesting that many of these predictions are identical to predictions that we make for the year 2100!

September 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterScott

Interesting that such a high fashion culture envisioned no change in fashion over 100 years.

September 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDenver Photographer

I love the fact that the "Car Shoes" picture shows a dude in the background eating concrete.

Great stuff.

Hey, wrt the "heating with radium" thing everyone's getting a chuckle out of, wasn't there a big craze for a while using radium in everything, even cocktail drinks? It seems I remember reading a horrifying article somewhere about folks whose jaws were eaten up with cancer because of the fad.

Or did I dream it?

September 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterThe Vicar of VHS

I love these pictures! Hey, I wouldn't mind at all if we went back to the womens fashions from the 1900's. I still have to put up with bell bottoms and it's the 21st century for crying out loud!!!

September 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

No video games, iPod, or pet rock! This artist way off...

September 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Greiman

Gretchen-- good point on Roddenberry. The thing he did that was really smart though, was to focus his future not in the next century, but 300-400 years in the future. That way, by then, none of us would still be alive to see if he was right or not.

September 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRaleighRob

don't drink and fly!

September 11, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterbrem

Came in through this post -- which is fascinating by he way -- and fell in love with your blog! Kudos!

September 11, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter6FM

Those flying firemen, the barber and all those flying men aren't a bad idea! Whoah.. they weren't all stupid, i guess! *lol*

September 12, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Only the clothes design will never change in their visions! We have invented everything but we'll keep those ugly clothes!

September 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commentervalugi

My favorite is the 'Heating With Radium' one. Lol. Nothing beats that winter chill better than Radium induced death!
The other one that really captured my attention was the 'Correspondence Cinema', as it is pretty cool we have that today in the form of video-link conversations, which are only a 1-2 second lag away from being in real-time.

September 12, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAlexander

It seems the pics shows the older years of 1910!!

September 14, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

You've been "slash-dotted" on the Yahoo! e-mail group for Studio Foglio's "Girl Genius" webcomic! (Specialist subject: mad scientists and their handiwork.)

If these pictures are grocery giveaways then almost certainly they are for amusement and not serious futurology. I suppose we must consider that the visible future then included European imperial government of most of the world and continuing technological advance, and international tension... and we know what happened. "6/28 changed everything."

I agree: the horse in 1910 was still the, um, workhorse of transport, away from railways, you'd see horses every day, there were very few motor vehicles. Just as in our 2007 there are very few personal flying machines... but they exist, it's just that -you- don't own one. John Travolta has a Boeing 707 and a Gulfstream.

Flying firemen, thermal currents... maybe :-) As for radium -and- the "chemical dinner", I suppose the small quantities involved (tiny wineglasses and plates) are the point.

One thing... I don't see robots, that someone complained of; all of these machines have operators, or programmers - I don't think you work the bath machinery while you're in it. Now who invented the robot... Isaac Asimov pointed to Greek myth and "Frankenstein", there were children's clockwork toys, L. Frank Baum's Tiktok of Oz... he still had to be wound, as far as I recall.

September 14, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Carnegie

The "cars of war" remind me somehow of mad max.

September 15, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I love this stuff, and I have to agree the heating with radium was the best.

September 15, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterR2K

my boyfriend has a lovely old print with some of these pitures on it (it must be a series of images because his has about 6 of these). he picked it up from a carboot sale.

September 16, 2007 | Unregistered Commentersaf

Hey, heating with radium is actual. Think of nuclear power plants...

Nice pics anyway :-)

September 19, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Je ne vois pas la différence avec la France d'aujourd'hui...

September 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

As a teacher, I would love posters of these prints. I'd have my kids write short stories based off of them. Does anyone know if they can be purchased poster-sized and, if so, where?

September 21, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKatrina

The "stereotypical 'chinaman'" in the Paris-Beijing train is wearing a queue, which all Chinese were required to wear to show allegiance to the Manchu emperors, whose reign ended in 1911. As this was just before that time, showing them in this light isn't stereotypical, but reflects China at that moment without looking into the political future, which these prints clearly were not designed to do.

October 3, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterbrappy


this is photoshopped

June 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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July 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRosie

Well, the fashion bit I can understand: for most of the second millinnium, fashion stayed virtually the same. In their defense, they really didn't expect fashion to turn on its head like it did.

On another note, I love the phonographic communicator. That is pretty much dead-on, right?

October 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdaydream11

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