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« Pop Culture and the Space Age | Main | Libertarian Paleo-Future »
Sunday
Sep232007

Boy's Flying Machine of the 20th Century (1900)


This image ran in a supplement to the December 29, 1900 Minneapolis Journal called The Journal Junior. The caption reads, "A look to the future: The boy of the present has a glimpse of the twentieth century boy." Minneapolis Journal cartoonist Charles Lewis Bartholomew, better known as Bart, drew it.

My nerd-excitement was off the charts when I found this image. In the lead up to 1901 there were many illustrations (speculating about future technology) which were syndicated in newspapers across the country. Because so many illustrations were re-used in newspapers, it's rare for me to find images of this era that I've never seen before. This illustration, however, was completely new to me and I'm thankful to the Minnesota Historical Society for keeping their microfilm in such great condition.

See also:
Futuristic Air Travel (circa 1900)
In the Twentieth Century (Newark Daily Advocate, 1901)
Going to the Opera in the Year 2000 (1882)
Postcards Show the Year 2000 (circa 1900)
Collier's Illustrated Future of 2001 (1901)
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)
French Prints Show the Year 2000 (1910)
The Predictions of a 14-Year-Old (Milwaukee Excelsior, 1901)
More Predictions of a 14-Year-Old (1901)

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Reader Comments (6)

There are some great ancillary features in this image -- the moon being a man's face (think about that, you see that in all sorts of old images, but it pretty much disappeared when the space age actually began); the hedgerows in the background; and my favorite, the mile marker stone along the roadside. In 1900 cars hadn't really come along; within 15 or 20 years as roads were widened and travelling speeds increased, milestones largely became a thing of the past.

September 24, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterWutzke

The NY Times now has opened it's archives. From 1851 to about 1922, all their articles seem to be free (you do have to give them your email). I've only explored it a little, but I've seen some stuff like this there: (first paragraph)
ONE HUNDRED YEARS TO COME.

April 22, 1883, Wednesday

Page 8, 652 words

An English Vicar, sitting in his quiet study, has had a vision of the marvelous growth of population in this country of ours, and of the grand expansion of English-speaking races in the next 100 years.

September 24, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

For my money, the best thing about this picture is the look on the face of the kid whose parents were too poor to buy him a flying suit, and has to make due with a plain old bicycle while that snooty rich kid rubs it in his face.

Oh, and also the flying boy's ridiculous bow tie.

September 25, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRoss

Ironically, the kid with the bike looks more futuristic- very 50's. Seriously, a bow tie??

August 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKaz

Almost forgot- who in the 20th century would be caught dead in knickers? I thought those died decades before this picture was drawn!

August 16, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkaz

Yes, the Buster Brown outfit on the flying kid looks more like steampunk, with the Victorian kid having tech decades in advance, and the mid 20th century boy wondering what the heck's going on with the time traveler visiting him from overhead. The illustration reminds me of the charm of early 20th century illustrators, such as W.W. Denslow's Oz pictures.

January 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria

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