These Vintage Ideas of the Future Were Actually Pretty Impressive
These Vintage Ideas of the Future Were Actually Pretty Impressive

These Vintage Ideas of the Future Were Actually Pretty Impressive

Shannon Quinn - December 15, 2022

These Vintage Ideas of the Future Were Actually Pretty Impressive
A vintage image of a home with a glass encased pool. Credit: Rare Historical Photos

Feeling Hot in the Dead of Winter

In the 1960’s, an artist predicted that backyards would one day be covered in a glass dome. People can enjoy their swimming pool all year long, because they are protected from the elements. This is not actually very far-fetched at all, because indoor pools have been around since 1828 in England. It’s also reminiscent of a heated glass greenhouse. However, we don’t see this exact design existing today. And it may never happen, because it would be incredibly expensive to build the structure and keep it heated in the winter time.

These Vintage Ideas of the Future Were Actually Pretty Impressive
A 1930’s concept of a train that is powered by a propeller. Credit: Reddit

Small Propeller Train Cars in Japan

This image comes from Japan in 1936, and it depicts a train going incredibly fast. In the image, you can see that it’s powered by a propeller, similar to an airplane. This prediction is actually pretty accurate, because the first Bullet Train came to Japan in 1964. The rest of the world hasn’t caught up with Japan yet, and our trains are incredibly slow compared to the Bullet Train. Clearly, this was a thought in the zeitgeist of Japanese culture for a long time. And they made it a priority when it came to new inventions.

These Vintage Ideas of the Future Were Actually Pretty Impressive
Hilton once announced that they would have a hotel on the moon. Credit: BBC

Hilton Once Proposed That They Would Have a Hotel on the Moon

In 1967, Conrad Hilton announced tot he Wall Street Journal that he plans to create a space hotel on the moon. He insisted that he would be able to see a Hilton hotel on the moon during his lifetime. They even sent out a reservation request form, in order to see who was interested in renting a room. Hundreds of people wrote back saying that they were interested. On the form, you can see “After 1973 arrival”, meaning that they estimated that they would reach their goal in just 6 years. This was incredibly ambitious, considering that the first moon landing did not happen until 1969. Obviously, this plan never came to pass, because we haven’t built any buildings on the moon yet.

These Vintage Ideas of the Future Were Actually Pretty Impressive
An artist’s concept of a vacation resort on the moon. Credit: Reddit

This Space Resort Shows People Swimming on the Moon

Similar to the previous images involving the Lunar Hotel, this picture is an artist’s depiction of a vacation resort on the moon. Guests get an amazing view of the Earth off in the distance, as well as a moon mountain behind the hotel. The one glaring issue is that this would never happen, because people need oxygen to breathe. When this was posted on Reddit, some people gave it the benefit of the doubt. They say that it’s plausible because the glass dome must be covering the area, and it’s just too far away for us to see.

These Vintage Ideas of the Future Were Actually Pretty Impressive
A retro concept product of a portable TV. Credit: Reddit

Portable TV Concept From 1967

People have been imagining watching TV on the go for decades. However, scientists had some trouble trying to figure out how to bring the mechanical elements of a television on the road. This concept was created in 1967. It’s a helmet that completely covers someone’s head, and it needs to balance all of that heavy gear on their shoulders. On Reddit, the top comment joked, “We’ll call it Meta.” Obviously, this invention never came to pass. There would be no need for it today, because we have smartphones, tablets, and laptops that allow us to watch TV on the go.

These Vintage Ideas of the Future Were Actually Pretty Impressive
Concept art of a giant screen in a stadium. Credit: Reddit

Giant Curved Screen In a Stadium

This image says, “Giant curved TV screens surrounding one huge hall will picture world-wide news events.” It appeared in Popular Science Magazine in December 1955. For sports fans out there, you already know that many stadiums around the world really do look like this. The only difference is that the screen may not be as large. Today, there may been flatscreen TV’s hanging on the walls of train stations or grand halls, because they play the news often, just like this art suggests. So for the most part, this prediction has come true.

These Vintage Ideas of the Future Were Actually Pretty Impressive
Space explorers opening the door to a foreign horizon. Credit: Reddit

Space Explorers Staring at the Horizon

This is a painting by a German futurist named Klaus Bürgle in 1965. It was painted for Das Neue Universum, a young readers book anthology with stories from science, research, and entertainment. It ran from 1880 to 2002. In this image, we see two astronauts opening the door to a space ship seeing a red planet in the sky. If you look closely, it also looks like there is a city on the horizon. Why didn’t they land closer to the civilization? We may never know the answer to the secrets of the painting, because the artist passed away in 2015.

These Vintage Ideas of the Future Were Actually Pretty Impressive
City under the Sea by Klaus Bürgle. Credit: Flickr

A City Under the Sea

Here is yet another painting by Klaus Bürgle. This time, he imagined that humans would begin building a civilization under the sea. Today, there are actually quite a few underwater hotels out there. So it wasn’t too far off from the truth. However, we can see that his imagination took him to a place where there was an entire city in the ocean. This would probably never happen, because it would be very expensive and dangerous. Most people don’t want to live under water.

These Vintage Ideas of the Future Were Actually Pretty Impressive
Actors at Tomorrowland in 1960, and Tomorrowland at night. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Tomorrowland at Disneyland Is a Futurist Theme Park

The entire concept of Disneyland’s Tomorrowland was Futurist at its time. The park first opened in 1955, and it featured a lot of futurist concepts like space ships, astronauts, and space stations. The park is still popular today, because it’s an iconic part of Disneyland. In 2015, Disney came out with a movie called Tomorrowland that featured many of the same themes that we see in the movie. However, the movie flopped in the box office because it was not as popular as Disney may have expected it to be.

These Vintage Ideas of the Future Were Actually Pretty Impressive
Hugo Gernsback and his TV goggles. Credit: Reddit

“Teleyeglasses” Envisioned Television Goggles

This image shows an inventor named Hugo Gernsback demonstrating his television goggles, also known as “teleyeglasses” in 1963 for Life Magazine. Some of his other inventions were an electric hair brush/comb and a battery-powered handheld illuminated mirror. He has been dubbed “the man who invented science fiction” because he founded a publication called Amazing Stories Magazine. This proposed invention makes so much more sense than the massive headset that was made four years later in 1967. In a lot of ways, these goggles are reminiscent of a modern VR headset, except for the antennas on the top.

These Vintage Ideas of the Future Were Actually Pretty Impressive
An issue of Popular Mechanics from 1915. Credit: Popular Mechanics Magazine

Armored Pushcarts to Protect Soldiers on the Battlefield

This issue of Popular Mechanics from 1915 suggests putting soldiers in armored push carts while they are on the battlefield. On Reddit, quite a few people joked about how inefficient this would actually be. One of the top comments says, “For use on those famous flat obstruction free WW1 no-mans land.” Another said, “Lovely well maintained lawns. Just right for those small castor wheels.” Harsh, but true. No army would ever use this, because they are like bringing your own coffin to the battlefield. There is a good reason why these push carts were never actually invented.

These Vintage Ideas of the Future Were Actually Pretty Impressive
The Sega VR headset from the 1990s. Credit: Reddit

Sega VR: The Headset That Never Was

Yet another company to come out with a vintage VR headset was Sega in the 1990’s. It was planned to be an add-on accessory to the Sega Genesis. And for a while, they were confident that it would be released, because it was shown at several trade shows and expositions. But this would never come to fruition, because the company ran into too many technical issues. On Reddit, one of the top comments said, “I want the alternate timeline where Sega invents the Metaverse, not Facebook.” Same.

These Vintage Ideas of the Future Were Actually Pretty Impressive
A retrofuturist depiction of a flying car. Credit: Reddit

When Will We Finally Get Flying Cars?

This next illustration looks like something straight out of The Jetsons. We will probably never get flying cars, because they would be too expensive for the average person. On Reddit, people were arguing over the safety of this vehicle design. Many people argue it would never work because of the poor visibility underneath the aircraft.

How did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

Retro future predictions that show how people from the past imagined the future, 1900s-1970s. Rare Historical Photos.

Man Amplifier Cornell Lab 1962-1966. AllAboutImages. YouTube

RetroFuturism. Reddit.

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