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City of the Future Postcards (circa 1910)


Leominster in the Future (postcard circa 1910)

At the turn of the 20th century, the postcard seemed to be a popular medium with which to imagine the future. While these depictions were often tongue-in-cheek they, like the Jetsons in the 1960s, held some kernel of truth about society's expectations for what was to come. We see in these two cards some things we might obviously expect like flying machines, subways, cars and monorail trains. The postcards however, also illustrate things that we take for granted today, such as a department of sewers building. Don't forget pneumatic tubes which, as well all know, made the postal service obsolete in 1924. I sure do love when my packages are delivered via Parcel Tube. How did we live without it?

These postcards from the early part of the 20th century were somewhat over-the-top in their depictions (see the floating park in the sky), but they reflected the optimism of the time, as inventions like the automobile and aeroplane ushered humanity into a fast, new mobile future.

Claremont, N.H. in the Future (postcard circa 1910)

Previously on Paleo-Future:

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Reader Comments (5)

I've got one of these postcards, circa 1911, that my Granny gave to me. I'll scan & share with you as soon as I can dig it up.

May 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSeeingI

wow...nice article and nice collection, thanks for sharing.

Most interesting is the parcel tube, which presumably would have gone down into a series of tubes underneath the city, from whence it could be delivered.

The hope/belief that compressed air would be a major part of the future was widespread, even for transmitting mechanical power from hydroelectric plants and such. Turns out AC power lines won that tech battle, but you couldn't have guessed that at the time. Which, to me at least, is super interesting.

November 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlexis Madrigal

Of course, in the future people will dress exactly the same as they do in the present.

November 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVirginia Postrel

It's not too far off.
We got cars, monorails and blimps (and planes and helicopters) today

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJimmy

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