Here is a page out of the Ladies Home Journal from December 1900. It is a list of predictions from a gentleman named, John Watkins, for the year 2000. I figure we can give him an extra 12 years and see how well he scored.
I know this is difficult to read, so I will highlight the interesting parts for you:
Prediction # 1: The US Population would be 350-500 million people. The current population 311 million. I think that is a miss. He gave himself a wide berth for his guess, and even though he was kind of close, I move that this be marked in the miss column. Population at his time, 1900, 76 million.
Prediction # 2: Gymnastics will begin in nursery school. Exercise will be compulsory in the schools. Every school will have a gym and there will be public gymnasiums. A man or woman unable to walk ten miles at a stretch will be regarded as a weakling. I will mark this as a hit. All schools do stress physical fitness and most people today could walk ten miles as long as there was a fast food restaurant at the end of the journey.
Prediction # 3: Photographs will be telegraphed from any distance. Hello internet! Another hit for Mr. Watkins.
Prediction # 4: Plants will be made proof against disease microbes just as readily as man is today against the small pox. Another win for Mr. Watkins on genetic manipulation of crops. There are many varieties of disease resistant plants that are built right into the seeds.
Prediction # 5: One cantaloupe will supply an entire family. Today they are large enough for a family to eat one. The question is how big was a cantaloupe in 1900?
Prediction # 6: Melons, cherries, grapes, plums, apples, pears, peaches, and all berries will be seedless. I will give Mr. Watkins a win… just because we have seedless watermelons, grapes, and bananas.
Prediction # 7: Mosquitoes, flies, and roaches will have been practically exterminated. What a sad, sad, miss. We were really pulling for no bugs. I would even give up the seedless watermelons for this one. Big, big miss.
Prediction # 8: There will be No C, X or Q in our every-day alphabet. They will be abandoned because unnecessary. Spelling by sound will have been adopted, first by the newspapers. English will be a language of condensed words expressing condensed ideas, and will be more extensively spoken than any other. What? Was he getting text messages from the future, lol? OK pretty close, but with that C, X, an Q, thing…this will be graded as a miss.
Prediction # 9: Store Purchases by Tube. Pneumatic tubes, instead of store wagons, will deliver packages and bundles. These tubes will collect, deliver and transport mail over certain distances, perhaps for hundreds of miles. So far I have only seen these at banks. So….umm…this is a miss.
Prediction # 10: Ready-cooked meals will be bought from establishments similar to our bakeries of today. They will purchase materials in tremendous wholesale quantities and sell the cooked foods at a price much lower than the cost of individual cooking. So much win here…fast food restaurants, frozen microwave food, the old TV dinners, and on an on. Big Win!
Prediction # 11: Few drugs will be swallowed or taken into the stomach unless needed for the direct treatment of that organ itself. If only he could have foreseen the amount of money that could be made with the drug industry…another miss here. There is however, research to target drugs to specific genes so maybe he was on the right track…only not in the year 2000, but maybe 2100 instead.
Prediction # 12: Hot and Cold Air from Spigots. Hot or cold air will be turned on from spigots to regulate the temperature of a house as we now turn on hot or cold water from spigots to regulate the temperature of the bath. Central plants will supply this cool air and heat to city houses in the same way as now our gas or electricity is furnished. Rising early to build the furnace fire will be a task of the olden times. Homes will have no chimneys, because no smoke will be created within their walls. This is very close, I don’t want to call it a hit, but it’s not a miss either.
Prediction # 13: Coal will not be used for heating or cooking. Wow…not even close. Miss.
Prediction # 14: Grand Opera will be telephoned to private homes. Big win….Radio, television, and the internet…and let’s not forget Netflix.
I didn’t cover all of Mr. Watkins’ predictions, but I think you get a good feel for guesses made more than a hundred years ago. And, I have to say, they were pretty good. Some were uncannily good, other waaaaaay off.
Until next week, keep your mind tripping.
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