One hundred years ago, the Summit County Journal in Logansport, IN made some predictions about what Christmas would be like this year. Some of their predictions are still wishful thinking, but they did manage to predict both online shopping and YouTube.
One of the main predictions that this Indiana paper made was that Christmas this year would be full of people flying to their holiday destinations. Cars, they suggested, would be things of the past. Everyone would get to work by flying or via pneumatic tubes. The Earth would be used solely for homes and pleasant parks. Sadly the flying car has yet to take off, as it were, and we'll still trapped in our stinky automobiles for at least another century.
But shopping and watching movies via some kind of contraption that combined the telephone and "moving picture machines" was apparently easy to imagine. The paper explained:
A hundred years from now, if you want to avoid the rush and do your Christmas shopping in your own apartments, the scientists probably will have provided for you a combination of telescope and moving picture machine by means of which you can connect your room with the toy department and see the display by wire - or perhaps by wireless - and at the same time you get prices and leave your order with the clerk by telephone . . . If you prefer to remain at your apartments [on Christmas night] the telautoscope attached to your telephone may be connected to any theater you desire and you can sit in your easy chair and smoke while you see the play projected on the wall like the most perfect moving picture. All the stage settings will be there to make the play seem real and the improved telephone will bring ever shade and subtle inflection of the actor's voice to your ear.
It seems certain that this telautoscope arrangement - the exact word to describe it will be coined after the process is discovered - will be one of the triumphs of the coming century. It will enable you to see the person you are talking to over a telephone.
If you want to see a nice version of the whole article, you can check it out here.
via The Occultist (Thanks, Steve Huff, for the tip.)