Things to look forward to in our electric future

How American
Promo image Probably the American Chemistry people.

Now that we have been thankful for everything that we have, all the retailers are telling us that it is time to look ahead to everything that we want and go out and buy it! Over the years we have been promised so much, stuff that just never arrived. As Peter Thiel has noted, “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.” Of course these things are all either coming soon or are in actual use (like the robot lawn mower). But lets look back at those things that America's independent Electric Light and Power Companies promised us in the fifties and sixties.

flying arAmerica's Independent Electric Light and Power Companies/Promo image

Seat belts? we don't need no seat belts. We are also promised beds that make themselves and ultrasonic dishwashers and get this- you will be able to dial up a library book!

driverless carAmerica's Independent Electric Light and Power Companies/Promo image

This is the image that has launched a thousand autonomous vehicle posts, playing board games in the self-driving car. (of course the reality is, they would all be looking at their phones). They also promise us instant cooking, TV screens that hang on the walls, and "an electric heat pump will use outside air to cool your house in summer, heat it in winter." Pretty prescient, this one.

where will your children liveAmerica's Independent Electric Light and Power Companies/Promo image

Color! Television! In every room! Perhaps most interesting is "Light Conditioning will include built in sunlamps, special fixtures for producing striking lighting effects indoors and out, ceiling panels that glow", most of which we are now getting with the LED revolution.

hedge cutterAmerica's Independent Electric Light and Power Companies/Public Domain

OK, robotic lawnmowers are a thing already, but look at what this is doing to the hedge! Just think of all the amazing topiary you could program in, Edward Scissorshands is out of a job. They also promise that "your home will be kept dust-free and clean automatically.

checklistAmerica's Independent Electric Light and Power Companies/Promo image

Finally, on this Black Friday, here is a checklist of the things you need to have a decent standard of living. Our house only got a score of 22, which means I really should go shopping right now, because "one good measure of your standard of living is the number of ways you put electricity to work." So I am off to find a tape recorder and a vibrator.

Tip of the hat to Sally Edelstein, who has been collecting these for years.

Tags: Wayback Machine

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