Monsanto House of the Future
When this treehugger was just a sprout, he received a Life Science Library book on plastics that featured the Monsanto House of the Future, and was entranced and inspired. The House of the Future was one a number of fairground houses of the future that never made it off the grounds and into the marketplace. Designed by MIT, it opened in 1957. Quoting Metropolis : visitors were treated to a glimpse of carefree futuristic living inside a plastic-walled floating cruciform structure with picture phones, height-adjustable sinks, dishes washed by ultrasonic waves, and atomic food preservation. "It was the permanence, the durability of plastic that made the Monsanto house a marvel," writes Bernard Cooper in his book Maps to Anywhere. "The wings, it was said, would never sag. The plastic floor would never buckle, chip, or crack." At the time, 30 percent of Monsanto's business was in plastics, synthetic resins, and surface coatings.
By 1967 the design was considered dated and Monsanto's motto "Better Living through Chemistry" had taken on other meanings.
After attracting a total of 20 million visitors from 1957 to 1967, Disney finally tore the house down, but discovered it would not go down without a fight.
According to Monsanto Magazine, wrecking balls literally bounced off the glass-fiber, reinforced polyester material. Torches, jackhammers, chain saws and shovels did not work. Finally, choker cables were used to squeeze off parts of the house bit by bit to be trucked away.