‘What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years’ c.1900

  • el
  • pt

    Thank you to @notjarvis

    22 comments to ‘What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years’ c.1900

    • Jonathan

      Lots of those predictions are very accurate. If only university education was free to all!

    • Sean

      Brilliant read… Amazing how many predictions are accurate but also interesting how certain technologies would not have evolved in this vision, i.e airships are the only mention of flight.

    • James Russell

      This reads as though written by a Dr Strangelove-type character – ‘there will be no wild animals… rats and mice exterminated… house flies exterminated…’ yet it appeared in The Ladies’ Home Journal. What does that tell you about American ideas of ‘progress’?

    • GP

      Can’t wait for those giant apple-sized strawberries!

    • Gary

      An astonishing read. Thank you for bringing it to us!

    • Andrew

      What was the fascination with giant fruit and veg all about?

    • Alissa Rothstein

      Wow – he pretty much nailed most of his predictions. it’s a shame that university education still isn’t free to all.

    • Tim

      I’m calling shenanigans on this one. The predictions are suspiciously accurate and fit our current priorities and achievements too well. If you read tech predictions from only 20 years ago, many of them are ludicrous and far-fetched. How, then, did this list of 20-30 prophecies (from around 115 years ago) match up so well with 2024?

      If this were historically written, I’d also expect to see a lot more verbiage that didn’t make sense to me. To the contrary, the way it’s written seems faked, like a lot of effort (or not enough) went into making it sound “old.”.

      I want to believe, but can’t.

    • Ben K

      Retronaut STOP Big Fan STOP Not sure this is the real deal old bean STOP Would love to be proved wrong STOP

    • David McG

      The phrase “ready made meals” in common usage in 1900? I don’t think so. Own up, whoever fabricated this. It’s clever but not clever enough.

    • Mary

      Well, if it’s fake, Ladies Home Journal (which is still published) is in on it:


    • John Simpson

      Tim: any examples?

    • Brent Eades


      This piece has been floating around the Internet for at least five years and has been validated repeatedly. But yes, the author’s prescience does seem almost too good to be credible. His obsession with over-sized veg and fruit convinces me, really :)

    • Emily

      19th century folk were crazy for pneumatic tubes! Most of these predictions are from Bellamy’s “Looking Backward” so they were ideas about the future that had been popular for a little while.

    • David McG

      The Ladies’ Home Journal site states the article was printed not circa but precisely 1900. It shouldn’t be too difficult to check in a library whether it was published that year. I shall make it my mission. More later.

    • John Simpson

      For the record, I’m going with real. It’s not THAT prescient, is it? He doesn’t even conceive of flying birds crossing the oceans; it’s all different ways of making boats more futuristic. And how does the phrase “ready-cooked meals” bind it as a hoax, exactly?

      “If this were historically written, I’d also expect to see a lot more verbiage that didn’t make sense to me.” – come on Tim, it was only 1900.

    • Shaun

      Not just free education, but if you look closer they also predicted universal healthcare. We can only wish . . .

    • Liz

      Free education is not that far fetched, though, historically and internationally speaking. In the communist countries education (even university education) was free – until the system collapsed.
      Although it came at a price for the next generations to pay…

    • Lu

      I think I have this issue at home. I’m pretty sure it’s a real article, not that I’m sure we have any reason to assume bad faith here or some kind of hoax. I’ll check and report back.

    • ken

      The biggest issue with these predictions is us. We criticize using the filters of our reality. Not only can we not see into the future, but we don’t have the ability to see backward 100 years so we question everything in a manner consistent with the shallow Twitter/Facebook model where cynicism is confused with intellect.

    • Honour Horne-Jaruk

      “To the wisest and best in each field of endeavor I have gone” – these predictions were made by experts, each one projecting forward present (1900) trends in his own field. No wonder they were relatively accurate.
      As to the giant strawberries, etc.: if you have the money, you can buy “dipping strawberries” every bit as large as the most common apples of that day. However, they have virtually no flavor.
      We have green and lavender-blue roses, though true black ones still elude us.
      If we went to present-day specialists and asked each one to extrapolate forward ten years, or even twenty, advances likely to occur in his or her own field we’d have a similar rate of success. (The rate of change sped up too much in the past century to make 100-year predictions useful.)

    • Home Fancy

      It doesn’t seem fake to me; so much of it is inaccurate. The drugs stuff? I think people consume more drugs than ever. And the agricultural stuff tends to be wrong, too– cars are still more money than horses (in fact you can pick up a horse for free these days), cows still have horns and can run faster than hogs, wild hogs can still run pretty quickly for that matter, and all of those giant peas and roses don’t exist. There are still insects and rodents and wild animals. To me, more is incorrect than correct, and while it’s uncanny that some of it came true, enough of it is wrong that it’s 100% believable.

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