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Entries in magazines (3)

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:

 

Thursday
Dec092010

Driverless Car of the Future (1957)

TVs that hang on walls? Automatic lights? Food cooked in seconds? American power companies sure had the future figured out! Except for one little thing... we're still waiting on those driverless cars. The futuristic family from this ad bares a striking resemblance to the family of Disneyland TV's 1958 episode, "Magic Highway, USA."

ELECTRICITY MAY BE THE DRIVER. One day your car may speed along an electric super-highway, its speed and steering automatically controlled by electronic devices embedded in the road. Highways will be made safe -- by electricity! No traffic jam.. no collisions... no driver fatigue.

I'm certainly no expert on energy politics of the 1950's, but I must say that the ad takes a weird turn when it starts explaining that power companies are so great because they don't have to wait for an act of Congress to get things done. Can anyone explain the subtleties of the dynamic at work here? Was it merely Cold War chest-pounding about free enterprise or was there a threat to nationalize American power companies around this time? 

Your air conditioner, television and other appliances are just the beginning of a new electric age.

Your food will cook in seconds instead of hours. Electricity will close your windows at the first drop of rain. Lamps will cut on and off automatically to fit the lighting needs in your rooms. Television "screens" will hang on the walls. An electric heat pump will use outside air to cool your house in the summer, heat it in the winter.

You will need and have much more electricity than you have today. Right now America's more than 400 independent electric light and power companies are planning and building to have twice as much electricity for you by 1967. These companies can have this power ready when you need it because they don't have to wait for an act of Congress -- or for a cent of tax money -- to build the plants.

The same experience, imagination and enterprise that electrified the nation in a single lifetime are at work shaping your electric future. That's why in the years to come, as in the past, you will benefit most when you are served by independent companies like the ones bringing you this message -- America's Indpendent Electric Light and Power Companies.

 

This image is from the ever gracious collector of dead tree ephemera, Tom Z. You may recognize Tom as the man who has supplied me with the vast majority of my Closer Than We Think collection. I owe that gentleman a beer or something.

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Sunday
Oct112009

Beyond Tomorrow: The Next 50 Years in Space (1965)

Who says advertising doesn't work? And 40 years later, no less.

I was flipping through the November, 1966 issue of Space World magazine when I stumbled upon this ad for the 1965 book Beyond Tomorrow: The Next 50 Years in Space by Dandridge M. Cole, with art by Roy G. Scarfo. At 168 pages, with 53 full color plates, 47 illustrations, 11 charts and an advertised list price of $7.50, I ordered it immediately.

The $7.50 price was no longer an option (I blame the economy), but it really is an amazing book of retro-futuristic fun. Stay tuned as we take a look at this book in the coming weeks.

Previously on Paleo-Future: