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This Age of Power and Wonder (1930s)

Companies of the early 20th century would often include collectible cards with their foodstuffs and tobacco smokes. The New York Public Library has an extensive collection of these cigarette cards available for viewing online, including many from a series by Max Cigarettes called This Age of Power and Wonder. This series from 1935-38 includes predictions of robot servants, spaceships, live television from exotic locations, and ubiquitous airports atop city high rises. Somewhat ironically for a cigarette manufacturer, card number six in this series of 250 predicted great advances in the treatment of cancer.


Wells Forecasts Space-Ships

 Television of the Future

Our Future Servants?

How London May Be Lighted

 The Amphibian At Work

 Atomic Fuel

Aerodrome of the Future

War on Cancer


Previously on Paleo-Future:


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Reader Comments (13)

GREAT-- never seen these before. I like the one with "ATOM" beaming in the sky.

November 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Horrigan

Second language is Afrikaans. These are all from South African cigs?

November 22, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermh

"War no cancer" is sooo cute for the cigarette brand.

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnton

What would have happened, on the aerodrome, if the plane had overshot the runway?

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBugail Aberdyfi

The television one turned out to be pretty accurate, actually.

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRetro Hound

I love the idea of lighting a large city by sticking a big spiral light atop a tower.

Nobody better be trying to land on any rooftop landing strips, however.

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbuzz

Looking over these old tobacco cards, it kinda makes you realize that we do live in the future our grandparents imagined. It just looks a lot different than our grandparents imagined.

That giant neon spiral is Awesome but Impractical, however.

November 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLucario

While the amphibious vehicle looks like a very crude version of the amtracks used only a few years later in World War II. OTOH, except for the "Ducks" (DUKW) used in the Wisconsin Dells, these amphibious vehicles don't seem to have made it into civilian use.

December 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Latinus

This is cool. And the thing about cancer is indeed rather ironic.

December 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSomeguy

Actually I think the second language is German.Looks like it anyway.

December 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSomeguy

The second language is definitely not German. It looks like Dutch to me (the mother language of Afrikaans).

December 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaximus

That giant neon spiral is Awesome but Impractical, however.

...don't be so sure about that...

December 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercr0sh

Feel sorry for anyone that would live within 5 city blocks of the spiral light tower. trying to sleep at night would be almost unbearable without a good set of curtains.

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSchaffer

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