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The World Today as Drawn by 19th Century Artists

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 French Illustrators Predict the Future

drawing of rolling house

Drawings from 1899-1910 revealed the fantastic visions of the year 200 (“en l’an 2000”) that French artists held.

Some of these images have not yet come to pass.

Others, like the rolling house pictured above have, at least to a certain extent. While driving down the road in a modern motorhome is not quite as depicted, the general concept that there is a house on wheels certainly has come to fruition.

19th C drawing of 21st C postman

And while we may not receive our mail directly from the hands of a flying postman, mail is delivered via airmail across the country and globe.

Originally in the form of paper cards enclosed in cigarette/cigar boxes and, later, as postcards, the images depicted the world as it was imagined to be like in the then distant year of 2000. As is so often the case their predictions fell some way off the mark, failing to go far enough in thinking outside the confines of their current technological milieu (hence the ubiquity of propellors, not to mention the distinctly 19th-century dress).

There are at least 87 cards known that were authored by various French artists, the first series being produced for the 1900 World Exhibition in Paris.

19th C drawing of 21st C school

The concept of audio learning was alive and well in the imagination of these artists. These 19th century artists didn’t quite figure out the how-to, but the idea is brilliant. Especially when we think about how many people walk around with headphones and earbuds while listening to audio books and podcasts in addition to music.

These images were originally included in cigarette and cigar boxes. Many were then made into postcards.

The drawings by artist Jean-Marc Côté were found by Isaac Asimov, the renowned author of science fiction. He had them published in a book in 1986 entitled, Futuredays: A Nineteenth Century Vision of the Year 2000, which is available in paperback from Amazon.

Just don’t look for an audio version of this very visual book!


Thanks to PublicDomainReview for this info. You can check out more of the images there.

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