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Entries in hugo gernsback (4)

Friday
Jan212011

The Trench Destroyer (1917)

This chilling image from the height of World War I appeared on the February, 1917 cover of Hugo Gernsback's The Electrical Experimenter. The excerpt below is from Yesterday's Tomorrows: Past Visions of the American Future by Joseph Corn and Brian Horrigan.

The design of this mobile dreadnaught, with its steel-tired, spoked wheels, suggests that its inventor may have been influenced by agricultural tractors or perhaps an amusement park Ferris wheel. The trench destroyer also embodies the common goal of military visionaries: maximum offensive power with total defensive security.

 Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Saturday
Sep192009

Gernsback Imagines Life 50 Years Hence (1925)

Hugo Gernsback wrote a syndicated piece in 1925 that imagined the world of 1975. It appeared in the February 8th edition of the San Antonio Light (San Antonio, TX) and has an interesting mix of hits and misses. Highlights from the article are excerpted below. You can read the piece in its entirety here.

Gernsback recognized that the future had the potential to be even more fantastic than we could imagine:

The chances are that if someone runs across this fifty years from now, he will severely condemn the writer of this for his great lack of imagination, for, no matter how wild the predictions may seem now, they will look very tame fifty years hence. If someone had tried to explain radio to you fifty years ago, or the X-ray, or radium, he would have been put down as ripe for the insane asylum, and you may rest assured that we are no different today.

 

On television:

Movies by radio! Why not? You will be able to have a moving picture produced in some central plant and projected in your home, on your yacht, or on your camping trip, the picture being sent by radio, and received and projected upon your screen. All this is perfectly possible.

On teleportation:

By [1975], we shall be able to send all sorts of materials by radio. If you think that it is impossible to transmit a carload of coal thousands of miles, you need only go back less than fifty years, when it would have been thought equally impossible to have the street cars of Syracuse, N.Y., run by the power generated by Niagara Falls. Today no one thinks anything of this.

On personal transportation:

Each pedestrian will roll on electric skates, such as have been constructed even today. An insulated wire running from the skate to the head or shoulder of the skater will be sufficient to take the power from the radio power line, and we shall then all be propelled electrically at a pace at least four or five times as fast as we walk today.

On buildings of the future:

All of our buildings and houses are due for a great revolution. In the Wintertime all of our buildings will be warm, and in the Summertime they will be cool. The future buildings and house will be fashioned along the principle of a thermos bottle. Each wall will be double, and the space between the walls will be filled with cork or some other poor heat conductor.

On airplanes:

The tops of our tallest buildings will be flat and glass-covered. They will have airplane landing platforms on which all kinds of airplanes, or even the trans-Atlantic planes of the future will land.

On hanging gardens:

Our large office buildings, or, for that matter, private houses, will have real gardens with large trees on top of the roofs, as has already been tried experimentally with smaller plants in some of our large cities.

On electrified crops:

Not only that, but plant life will also be greatly stimulated as recent high frequency experiments on plants have shown. Our crops and plants will grow practically two to ten times as quickly and the crops will be more productive under this electrification. Under such stimulation it will be quite possible to raise crops at least twice or perhaps more often during the year; and the most interesting part about this is that it will cost the farmer absolutely nothing except for fertilizer. And this he requires anyway.

On moving sidewalks:

Below the elevated railway we have continuous moving platforms. There will be three such moving platforms alongside of each other. The first platform will move only a few miles per hour, the second at eight or ten miles per hour, and the third at twelve or fifteen miles per hour.

You step upon the slowest moving one from terra firma and move to the faster ones and take your seat. Then arriving at your station, you can either take the lift to the top platform or else you can get off upon the "elevated level" and take the fast train there. which stops only every thirty or forty blocks. Or, if you do not wish this, you can descent by the same elevator down to the local subway.

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Wednesday
Aug132008

Aerial Mono-Flyer of the Future (1918)


The August, 1918 cover of Hugo Gernsback's Electrical Experimenter magazine featured the "aerial mono-flyer of the future."

This monorail seems like only a modest improvement in safety over the 1930's sightseeing death-trap known as the sky toboggan. But the mono-flyer is assuredly a less safe concept than the monorail of William H. Boyes, built around 1911.

This image was found in the book Out of Time: Designs for the Twentieth-Century Future. According to the book, Gernsback introduced Electrical Experimenter in 1915 and changed the name of the magazine to Science and Invention in 1920.

Read More:
William H. Boyes Monorail (1911)
Amphibian Monorail (Popular Science, 1934)
Sky Toboggan (1935)

Tuesday
Apr292008

10,000 Years From Now (1922)


The February 12, 1922 Ogden Standard-Examiner (Ogden, UT) published this page, speculating on the world 10,000 years hence. The piece is a shortened article by Hugo Gernsback with illustrations by Louis Biedermann. Excerpts appear below.

The up-to-date scientist has little difficulty in predicting certain things that will happen in ten or fifty years, but a hundred centuries hence is a larger order, even for the most intrepid imagination. That practically nothing of our present civilization will be left after 10,000 years may be safely predicted. We may also prophesy that human beings, a hundred centuries hence, will live in entirely altered circumstances from those in which we now exist.

 

Our illustration depicts one of the future cities floating high in the air, several miles above the earth. The question of sustaining such a large body in a rareified atmosphere will prove to be of little difficulty to our future electrical engineers. Just as we construct leviathans of the sea to-day, some of them weighing as much as 50,000 tons we shall construct entire cities weighing billions of tons, which will be held in space not by gas balloons, propellers, or the like antiquated machinery, but by means of gravity-annulling devices. Already experiments have been made whereby it has become possible to reduce the weight of substances by electrical forces.


See also:
Closer Than We Think