Black and White Future Predictions: Were They Right?

People in 1920s-1950s, in the era of black and white movies, predicted the world of the future to be peaceful, prosperous and full of technological innovations. In the videos below, you can see what they got right and which future predictions turned out to be terribly inaccurate.

1957 Kitchen Predictions

A video from a Paris expo about the future of cooking, as broadcasted on Czechoslovakian TV in 1957. They were quite right, weren’t they?

  1. TV shopping is easy and comfortable –  Teleshopping has been around for quite a while and has always been annoying so yes, they were right in 1957, but we upgraded to something much better – INTERNET SHOPPING! Nowadays, you can buy almost anything from Amazon or other sites with just a few clicks.
  2. Glass door fridges – We have some, but they’re usually not used since the heat can easily escape through the glass. There are small minibar glass fridges with glass doors and also a couple of big glass door fridges or at least double door fridges. Almost nobody uses them, though.
  3. Ingredients with just one button thingy – Food isn’t popping out of your kitchen robot on demand (there are just prototypes). What’s getting close though is food subscription services like  or which will send you pre-measured packages of the exact ingredients and a recipe for the food you chose to cook. No leftovers, no worries!
  4. Electromagnetic induction cooking – Correct prediction. Today it is a standard for many households in developed countries.
  5. Automatic cooking devices – Not yet. This one is quite challenging to implement since there are so many ways you can cook and prepare food. But you can download recipes from the internet and someone at youtube can basically guide you though it all; it’s something.
  6. Infrared cooking in a glassed oven – Well, there are infrared grills, although in ovens we usually use microwave radiation! So we’re not using infrared rays (700 nm – 0.1 cm) though, they use a higher wavelength (0.1-100 cm). but the concept is the same. Also, I don’t get their obsession with glass.

Future Predictions from 1920’s

A video from the United States during their Roaring Twenties. These guys from the past were quite right except for the one very sad prediction right at the beginning. See for yourself:

  1. The 1st world war ended all wars Sadly, that is not true at all because as I hope you know, Hitler happened.
  2. Cars with rollable roofs – Correct prediction. That was actually invented quite a long time ago.
  3. Weird capsule rail things – The thing that resembles this the most is probably the Hyperloop, which is currently under developement, so we have to wait a bit.
  4. Biplanes flying everywhere – Nope, no flying cars (yet). However, we did invent the helicopters and there are already autopiloted drones capable of transporting people. Also, biplanes are not used at all today.
  5. Creepy talking robots – Yep, they exist. Almost all robots we have made thus far look creepy, but we have just recently started making ones that can speak or do stuff almost like humans, for example
  6. Corruscant-looking cities – Probably not happening anytime soon. Dubai is getting close though.
  7. Mobile phone and radio – Definitely correct. Most people can’t even imagine the world without them. And all of them carry the also predicted radio inside.
  8. The fashion stuff – People try to create innovative fashion designs so hard that the predictions are nothing compared to what we have now. Just search for “weird fashion” on google, you’ll probably have a laugh.
  9. Utopian city design – We are nowhere near that.
  10. Streamlining vehicles – This prediction turned out to be true not so long after they came up with it, we have been using this technology for ships and air vehicles since the 1930’s.

More future predictions from the past:

  Article from a 1950 magazine

An interesting 11-page article called “Miracles you’ll see in the next 50 years” appeared in the February 1950 issue of Popular Mechanics. As you can see, their 2000 predictions were not as accurate as those in the videos above. Maybe they’ll turn out right a few decades later? A facial hair removing gel would be cool.

  • We’ll be eating food from sawdust – Well you can try biting a tree, but it probably won’t taste good.
  • Shopping by picture-phone – Your phone is a picture phone and you can buy things from amazon with it so yes, I’d say they were right!
  • Cities built around airports – In the medieval times, people built towns around their most important structures – churches. Seeing how important flying is for the US, maybe it will happen in the future, but not yet.
  • Cooking on a solar range – We’ve had them for some time now, they’re especially useful for people in third-world countries. You can find them on wikipedia.
  • Solar panels in deserts – Why not? There are plenty of them in the hottest places on Earth (Morocco for example). Maybe we will cover the entire Sahara and Gobi deserts with solar panels one day!
  • Atomic power plants do not succeed – Terribly wrong. It is by far the most eco-friendly and sustainable power source (if they don’t Chernobyl) because it creates minimal pollution (excluding toxic waste) and the conventional power source – fossil fuels – is running out.
  • Rockets instead of airplanes – There are prototypes of supersonic aircrafts but unfortunately, we can’t get from NY to San Francisco in 2 hours (yet).
  • Houses that last for 25 years for $500 – Nope, not a chance.
  • Shaving cream without a razor Sure! Today you can splash some H2SO4 on your face and whisk away whiskers! They simply go down the drain (along with your entire face).

  Engineer from 1900 predicts the year 2000

John Watkins made a couple of amazingly accurate 100-year predictions, for example that we will have pre-cooked meals, mobile phones and tanks. Fun fact: he also said that there will be no letters C, X and Q in the everyday alphabet and that there will be no mosquitoes or flies.
I am Jan, a futurist and science/technology blogger. **UPDATE: Moving my stuff slowly to a new domain name,**