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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.

The Predictions of a 14-Year-Old (Milwaukee Excelsior, 1901)

In the year 1901 Arthur Palm, a fourteen-year-old student from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, published an article in his school newspaper (the Excelsior) describing the world of 2001. Below is an excerpt of his article as featured in the book Yesterday's Future: The Twentieth Century Begins (Voices of the Wisconsin Past).

"How it may appear a hundred years hence, when modern inventions have been carried to their highest point of development that even Edison would feel jealous of the great inventions in the year 2001. In the year 2001 you will see sky-scrapers sticking far above the clouds over 200 stories high. On the streets there will not be any room for street cars, so they will build lines way up in the air, and there will be landings fastened to the high skyscrapers, where the people will wait for the cars. The carlines will have different kinds of names and you will see the name "Manhattan Air Line" many hundreds of feet above the ground. You see air-ships and carriages fastened to balloons for the transportation of the people through the air, and you will often see collisions in the clouds. In one of the sky-scrapers on the 119 story you will see a sign, 'Old People Restored to Youth by Electricity, While You Wait.'"

The belief that electricity would eventually cure all ills was surprisingly common. I guess that's why I'm so amazed that people still receive electro-shock therapy. It seems so primitive and naive.

The Future World of Energy (1984)

Century 21: Space Needle Designs (1962)