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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.

Tomorrow's Mobile Home

Tomorrow's Mobile Home

Recently we looked at a 1946 prediction for a gigantic atomic-powered sphere that would traverse the country as a kind of hamster-ball land cruise for humans.

About a decade earlier there were predictions of a similar looking ball — but for use as homes. The September, 1934 issue of Everyday Science and Mechanics imagined the house of the future as an enormous sphere that would make moving easy if the home owner simply wrapped large tires over the thing and towed it with a tractor.

If spherical, the house of the future can be easily transported to its building lot, set in place, and the fixtures added. The shell is first pressed into shape; then windows are cut, and only a protective tire is need for moving.

The article’s title was “When Home Owners Roll Their Own” and in some ways took the streamline moderne style of architecture to its logical conclusion: the sphere.

For well-known reasons, a tank or vessel shaped like a ball is strongest and lightest. Spherical tanks, gas containers, etc., have been made; the only problem is to construct them, since ordinary methods are not very successful.

A recent patent (No. 1,958,421) deals with pressing metal into shape in a curved container, and pumping in liquid under pressure to swell them out.

Should spherical houses come into favor, as modernistic architects predict, the shell of a house could be made thus; the necessary openings cut; and it would be rolled to the owner’s lot as shown. Properly built-in fixtures would even stand such moving.

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The patent that the article refers to was filed on December 17, 1932 by E.G. Daniels. Patent 1,958,421 explains a new method of making spherical containers. It was common for magazines like Everyday Science and Mechanics and Electrical Experimenter to look at the recently filed patents and imagine what fantastical advancements of the future might be achieved.

This article originally appeared at Smithsonian magazine.

The Milkman's Robot Helper

The Milkman's Robot Helper

Fighting Terrorism in the Future

Fighting Terrorism in the Future