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Welcome to the Paleofuture blog, where we explore past visions of the future. From flying cars and jetpacks to utopias and dystopias.

Solar Energy for Tomorrow's World (1980)

The foreword to the 1980 book Solar Energy for Tomorrow's World proclaims, "A New York Times poll taken in 1979 revealed that 42 percent of the American people optimistically believed that our energy problems could be solved by solar energy in just five years. Most scientists think that's too optimistic. But whether it takes five years - or ten or twenty - they are certain that we will eventually realize what once seemed like only a remote dream."

The illustration below, from the first chapter of the book, depicts a future of harnessing the power of the sun as a solution to the energy crisis.

In the future you may expect to see many structures like this "tower of power." It captures the energy of the sun by reflecting its rays on a boiler atop a twenty-to-fifty-story structure. The heat converts the water or other liquid to steam, which powers a turbine. (Honeywell)

Connections: AT&T's Vision of the Future (Part 6, 1993)

What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years (Ladies Home Journal, 1900)

What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years (Ladies Home Journal, 1900)