5 Predictions From The 1900s That Came True

As one of Ireland’s leading builders merchants we know how important it is to make even the smallest construction job as easy and as straight forward as possible. Especially when it comes to supplying those budding DIYer’s. So we’re always in favour of a bit of forward thinking and coming up with ideas that will make a valuable contribution to peoples lives. We take a look at 5 forward thinking individuals who’s ideas actually came through.

The beginning of the 20th century was an exciting time of great innovation where massive steps were made when it came to transport and communication. Since then we have come a long way and many predictions that were made back then have come eerily true. Some were way off the mark, some underestimated us and some folk predicted we wouldn’t even be here. But having made it through many a ‘false’ apocalypse let’s take a look at what our ancestors got right.

1 – Digital, Colour Photography

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John Elfreth Watkins was a civil engineer working in transport who makes this list a couple of times. In 1900 he wrote an article on future predictions and to be fair he didn’t do too badly. One of them was colour photography or ‘photography that shows all nature’s colours’, as he puts it. He also correctly predicted that these photos could be shared instantly around the world. So in a way, he kind of predicted the Internet. He did get some things wrong, for instance: ‘There will be no C, X or Q in our everyday alphabet’. Ah here John, what did C, X or Q ever do to you?

2 – Mobile Phones


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John Elfreth Watkins again. He predicted that:
‘Wireless telephone and telegraph circuits will span the world. A husband in the middle of the Atlantic will be able to converse with his wife sitting in her boudoir in Chicago…’.
He didn’t specify why the husband had left his wife all alone in her boudoir or what network he would be using from the middle of the Atlantic but we’re sure the coverage is only fab.

3 – Skype

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In 1910 French artist Villemard produced a series of postcards predicting life in the 2000s. While he didn’t envision any changes in clothing he did get quite a few things eerily right. One was a phone call with images/moving pictures. He also predicted air sea rescue, machines taking over from humans in various industries and drive-throughs. Though, his drive-through wasn’t for fast food but depicted a light aircraft flying through a pit-stop serving wine.

4 – Escalators & Travelators

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Villemard wasn’t the only one producing postcard predictions. German confectionery company also released their own versions such as one featuring ‘moving pavements’. His picture makes it look like a whole load of fun and a bit of a social occasion. We seem to have grown accustomed to escalators and as a result take them for granted. Why not strike up a conversation with a passer-by next time?

5 – Skyscrapers

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In 1901 in Wisconsin, Arthur Palm, a 14 year-old boy, wrote an essay for his school paper in which he predicted buildings would be so tall they would pierce the clouds and be over 200 floors high. He imagined a city so over-populated that they would have to build numerous roads up above the ground in a double-stack formation. Kind of like freeways and railway lines. He, rather cutely, predicted the option of eternal youth. He even knew exactly where it would happen. On the 119thfloor a sign would read ‘Old People Restored to Youth by Electricity, While You Wait.’ Not quite there yet, give us another 100 years.