This Pigeon-Guided Missile System Was (Thankfully) Never Deployed

Yesterday, in 1904, pyschologist B.F. Skinner was born. His contribution to the world? This pigeon-guided missile system, among other things. Yes, really. » 3/21/15 4:33pm 3/21/15 4:33pm

In 1900, Two Inventors Audition For A Stage Show About The Year 2000

The year is 1900 and Georges and Madeleine are trying to get a gig showing off the wonders of life in the year 2000, complete with gadget that we would think of today as retrofuturistic. But it's when they debut their time machine on the stage that things start getting goofy. » 2/13/15 11:36am 2/13/15 11:36am

How We Imagined The Future Of Transportation Would Look In The 1940s

These ads made for the Detroit-based Bohn Aluminum and Brass Corporation were largely dreamed up by legendary illustrator Arthur Radebaugh during the 1940s. Radebaugh's utopian visions and Bohn's desire to appear as a forward-looking company combine for a slick retrofuturistic view of transportation. » 2/09/15 3:00pm 2/09/15 3:00pm

You Don't Really Want To Live In This Shiny Retrofuturistic City

We love the look of retrofuturistic cities — the clean cut skylines, the beautifully-turned metalwork, the occasionally almost gravity defying twists and turns of the architecture. But what would it really be like to live in one of them? Possibly quite nightmarish, it turns out. » 1/09/15 4:20pm 1/09/15 4:20pm

We Wish These Retrofuturistic Versions Of American Cities Had Come True

In the first half of the 20th century, artists came up with gorgeous designs for New York City, Columbus, Houston, and other American cities, imagining them as havens of efficient transportation, dense urban living, and space age architecture. » 1/08/15 3:20pm 1/08/15 3:20pm

The Zaniest Ideas We've Had For The Books Of The Future

Throughout the 20th-century, we've come up with crazy ideas for reinventing books, ones that make our phone and tablet readers seem almost modest. From books projected onto the ceiling to reading Ferris wheels, here are some of the last century's strangest and most innovative book proposals. » 10/14/14 3:00pm 10/14/14 3:00pm

How An Architect Who Has Never Left North Korea Imagines The Future

North Korea's architecture is truly fascinating, influenced by the need to rebuild Pyongyang in the wake of the Korean War and the nation's relative isolation. What happens when an architect who has never been outside North Korea designs futuristic buildings to accommodate tourists visiting their country? » 8/07/14 5:00pm 8/07/14 5:00pm

Plastic Homes from the Days When Plastic Was the Future

In the mid-twentieth century, back when colonizing the solar system seemed imminent, people decided to save money by building homes out of plastic. You can see the results here. Some are mind-bogglingly awesome, and some are just mind-boggling. » 7/25/14 4:00pm 7/25/14 4:00pm

Futurism from 1878: A Panoramic Photograph of San Francisco

Eadweard Muybridge was a Victorian photographer whose work transformed our understanding of the natural world. He was the first to show that horses gallop with all their hooves off the ground — and in this incredible photographic panorama, he reveals San Francisco in its infancy. » 6/17/14 12:20pm 6/17/14 12:20pm

Twentieth Century Futurism Looks Really Bizarre Now

What kinds of houses will we build in 100 years? Looking at these illustrations and movies about homes of the future, you realize how much the twentieth century vision of tomorrow differs from the twenty-first century one. » 5/23/14 3:00pm 5/23/14 3:00pm

The Space Gun Was Conceived 199 Years Ago

In 1815 the British artist Edward Francis Burney (1760-1848) published a book of drawings called Q.Q. Esq.'s Journey to the Moon. In spite of the less-than-serious nature of the illustrated story, Burney put some thought into his launch system. » 5/13/14 8:00am 5/13/14 8:00am

1960s Retrofuture Short Film Inspired By The Oldest Story About Robots

Karel Čapek's seminal 1919 play R.U.R. coined the term "robot" and was set 50 years in the future, making it 1969. Chase Masterson of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine stars in R.U.R.: Genesis, set in a flirty 1960s retrofuture where artificials conspire against humans. » 4/29/14 12:30pm 4/29/14 12:30pm

The Days of Atomic Locomotives in America

In the mid-1950s, Dr. Lyle B. Borst—a physics professor at the University of Utah who had formerly been a reactor designer with the Atomic Energy Commission—and his students in his Physics 280 Nuclear Technology course had a great idea. » 4/24/14 8:00am 4/24/14 8:00am

No, Tech Adoption Is Not Speeding Up

Yesterday the folks over at Vox published an article arguing that generations should be defined by the technology they use, rather than by age. They included a graph that purported to show how American society is "adopting new technology more quickly than ever before." The graph is garbage. And here's why. » 4/21/14 3:28pm 4/21/14 3:28pm

How Soviet Artists Imagined Communist Life in Space

Artists from the Soviet Union didn't just imagine a worker's Utopia on Earth. They also thought that the great communist experiment would eventually reach other worlds, too. Here are some incredible works of art and conceptual design that put the Soviet Union in space. » 4/04/14 3:00pm 4/04/14 3:00pm

Do These Powerlaces Match My Hoverboard?

Hadley Freeman over at The Guardian has declared that Back to the Future is this season's big fashion trend. Which makes complete sense, right? It's almost the year 2015—the very year that Marty visits in the BTTF sequel—so bring on those Nike powerlaces and hoverboard-friendly sneakers! Or not. » 3/13/14 6:37pm 3/13/14 6:37pm

The Most Retro-Futuristic DMV in America

In 1979, two artists covered a Southern California building with futuristic murals. They painted moon motorcycles, high-tech highways, and spaceships that would look right at home in Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. But as delightfully retro-futuristic as the building is on the outside, what happens inside may… » 3/06/14 3:35pm 3/06/14 3:35pm

Retrotastic Furniture Made from Amazing Old Suitcases and Trunks

Instead of chucking out all those old trunks and suitcases, these designers have turned them into incredible pieces of furniture. We love these weird comfy chairs, desks and drawers that snap closed, and tables made of trunks that once crossed the country on steam trains. » 3/05/14 3:08pm 3/05/14 3:08pm

The Space Age Never Looked Brighter Than It Did in the Mid-1960s

At the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair, everything was Space Age. From the designs and architecture to the machines and rides, it seemed to everybody that the future was in outer space. Here are some incredible pictures that capture the way we imagined tomorrow — in space. » 2/27/14 4:10pm 2/27/14 4:10pm

Morgan Stanley Thinks Self-Driving Cars Will Bring Utopia by 2026

The term "techno-utopian" is helpful for referring to people who believe technology alone can solve the world's problems. The term is rarely used literally. But if the financial services company Morgan Stanley is to be believed, driverless cars will literally bring about a utopian society in just over a decade. » 2/25/14 7:40pm 2/25/14 7:40pm