P.J. O'Rourke's Going To Tear Your Future Playhouse Down

The future ain't what it used to be. Satirist P.J. O'Rourke took his family to see the newly opened House Of The Future at Disneyland, and it was closed for repairs. ("HoFII has a subprime mortgage, or so it appears," he writes.) But he did get a good enough look at it to discover that it's barely futuristic, and most… » 12/03/08 1:23pm 12/03/08 1:23pm

Invite the Neighbors In for a Quick Shave at the House of the Future

We’ve already discussed Disneyland’s new, improved (i.e., more corporate) Microsoft/HP House of the Future AKA Innoventions Dream Home. Here’s a quick tour of the original Monsanto House of the Future (plenty corporate in its own right, of course—everything was plastic!). There's even what looks like a communal… » 7/22/08 12:20pm 7/22/08 12:20pm

It Sucks! It Flies! It Cleans Your Floors! (circa 1960)

OK, flies is an overstatement—the UFOoid Hoover Constellation vacuum cleaner floats on a cushion of air, as this commercial makes abundantly clear. Don't miss the row of dazed housewives pretending to be fascinated as the Constellation scoots down the table, all the while secretly wondering where to get their next… » 5/22/08 12:12pm 5/22/08 12:12pm

Corporate America Predicts the Future at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair

"What'll It Be Like in 2000 A.D.?" asked Popular Science in its April 1962 preview of the marvels to be found at the Seattle World's Fair, which opened that month. First up on Popular Science's tour of the future was the Standard Oil diorama. Not surprisingly it featured a host of gas-guzzling vehicles for land and… » 3/06/08 12:54pm 3/06/08 12:54pm

Roll-Oh the Household Robot Solves All Domestic Problems in 1940

A bored housewife, her "chromium butler," and a condescending workman from Ray's Robot Repair star in Leave It to Roll-Oh (1940), a film short originally shown at the New York World's Fair of 1939-40. Roll-Oh answers the door, vacuums the rug (with his foot), and makes dinner, among other domestic chores, thus freeing… » 3/03/08 12:52pm 3/03/08 12:52pm

"If Mail Can Be Shot Through a Tube Why Not Meals?"

From his first job at Scientific American circa 1900 to his retirement in 1956 as science editor at the New York Times, Waldemar Kaempffert wrote widely about the sciences. As you might imagine from the man who penned yesterday's Popular Mechanics article, Kaempffert was a man with grand plans for a future world made… » 2/27/08 12:40pm 2/27/08 12:40pm