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Entries in arthur radebaugh (46)

Monday
May112009

"Factory" Farms of the Future (1961)

Remember when the term "factory farm" was synonymous with a positive way to produce food? Neither do I.

But this April 9, 1961 edition of Closer Than We Think (which appeared in the Chicago Tribune) treats the phrase as a part of humanity's natural progression in the advancement of science. I imagine what a different world we'd be living in if "FACTORY FARMED!" were plastered on food packaging rather than "ORGANIC!" or "ALL-NATURAL!" That world somehow seems just as plausible given a few historical and societal tweaks. Those giant tomatoes could have been pulled directly from John Elfreth Watkin's December, 1900 piece for the Ladies' Home Journal. And those monorail tank cars are certainly reminiscent of the high-speed freightways used to transport food in the 1958 Disneyland TV episode Magic Highway, U.S.A.

The full text of the strip appears below.

Agriculture in the world of tomorrow will be so mechanized that farms will actually resemble factories. Crops and livestock will be raised on regular schedules under uniform and carefully controlled conditions.

"Sensors," those automatic control devices for today's wonder machines, will be adapted to the requirements of precisions agriculture. They will take the place of human judgement in deciding and reacting to soil conditions, crop maturity, moisture levels, weather forecasting, feeding needs, etc. Bendix researcher W. E. Kock has reported that instruments to do this already exist or will soon be developed.

A special thanks to Tom Z. yet again for being an invaluable resource for the Closer Than We Think series.

Previously on Paleo-Future:

Tuesday
Mar312009

Corner Grocermat (1959)

The January 4, 1959 edition of Closer Than We Think illustrated the corner grocermat of the future. The modular/mobile nature of the whole idea is reminiscent of the "farm to market" trains featured in Magic Highway, U.S.A. They certainly could have inspired the "mobile malls" of 1981 we looked at a while back.

Here's an idea to make marketing faster and easier! As proposed by the Clark Equipment Company of Battle Creek, Michigan, it involves the use of self-service "food banks" that would be preloaded with bread, milk, soups, etc., at the wholesaler's and then hauled to handy neighborhood locations for the convenience of retail shoppers.

The idea might be further developed to enable the housewife to drive around an oval arrangement of such preloaded display sections and pick out what was needed. A clerk would put the desired groceries on a moving belt which would move when the auto did, so that the purchases would wind up at the checkout counter at the same time the driver did. They'd be packaged and paid for - all with the customer still seated at her wheel.

Thanks to Tom Z. for this color edition of Closer Than We Think.

Previously on Paleo-Future:

Tuesday
Jan062009

Rejuvenated Downtowns (1959)


The March 1, 1959 edition of Arthur Radebaugh's Closer Than We Think! featured "rejuvenated downtowns" of the future. I travel the United States often imagining what the downtowns of our major cities once looked like. Few American downtowns are thriving, or barely surviving. The downtown of the city in which I live (St. Paul, MN) is certainly struggling. Good luck finding much open past 5PM.

Radebaugh's mention of downtown Detroit is particularly jarring for our 2009 eyes. The recent photo essay in Time magazine titled, "The Remains of Detroit" really says it all. I recently picked up the book Downtown: Its Rise and Fall, 1880-1950, which appears to shed some light on precisely what happened to the American urban center.

The text from "Rejuvenated Downtowns" appears below. Thanks again to Tom Z. for the color scans.

Traffic-choked downtown sections will be rejuvenated and transformed into airy, wide pedestrian malls when the designs of city planners are adopted in a none-too-distant future.

 

Large-scale plans and programs are springing up all over the country. One example is fashionable Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, being studied today for conversion into a traffic-free shopping promenade. Another is utilitarian Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit. There are many more in between.

Traffic will be parked in adjoining areas. Store fronts will be modernized and beautified. New lighting at night and newly planted trees, shrubs and flowers will give these malls an exciting air. The aim is to regain for downtowns their former status as urban headquarters.

Next week: All-Seeing Eye


Previously on Paleo-Future:
California Cities in the Year 2000 (1961)
Closer Than We Think! (1958-1963)
Experimental City of the Future (1967)
Walt Disney and City Planning

 

Wednesday
Nov122008

Jetscalator (1960)


Reader Tom Z sent in this March 27, 1960 edition of Closer Than We Think, featuring the "Jetscalator." Tom explains:

This CTWT has held special significance for me (and anyone else who has used Dulles until quite recently). I haven’t flown in years, but I understand that the famous “Mobile Terminals” are finally gone, a case of a futuristic idea that didn’t work all that well in the real world.

The handful of times that I've been through the Dulles airport I've felt that I was going to miss my flight because of those slow moving shuttles. I hadn't heard that they might be doing away with the mobile lounges. Can anyone confirm that this is true?

 

The text from "Jetscalator" appears below:

Jet planes and the number of passengers they carry are getting bigger and bigger. Distances between terminals and loading docks are getting longer. The answer is a traveling waiting room with a moving ramp. Such a project is already being developed by the Chrysler Corporation, and it may be used at the new Washington, D.C., terminal now being designed by Eero Saarinen.

 

The "jetscalator," as it might be called, would move on wheels higher than a man.

It would have an up-or-down ramp and capacity for about 100 people. When departure time is at hand, travelers wouldn't have to stir from their chairs - they'd be transported in the "jetscalator" right to the side of the plane.

Next week: Cellar-size Scoopers



Read more:
Luggage Blowers (1961)
Airport of the Future (1967)
Fuller's Traveling Cartridge (circa 1960s)
Passenger Air Travel (1945)
Closer Than We Think! (1958-1963)

 

Sunday
Aug102008

Bloodless Surgery, Closer Than We Think! (1959)


The November 15, 1959 edition of Closer Than We Think, (syndicated by the Chicago Tribune, written and illustrated by Arthur Radebaugh), predicted "bloodless surgery."

With the development of an "atomic knife," tomorrow's hospital operations may be as easy on the patient as relaxing in an easy chair - no incisions, no bleeding. The technique has already been used successfully in reducing hormone flow from the pituitary, in relieving depressed mental states by "cutting" brain segments, in treating certain cases of cancer.

 

Specialists at the University of California and in Uppsala, Sweden, have been able to destroy unwanted tissues by directing a proton beam toward them. Later, many researchers feel, the method may be used in any operation that doesn't require reconnecting of tissues.

Next week: Stop-and-Go Rockets


A special thanks to Tom Z. for today's scan.

 

Read More:
Our Friend the Atom (1956)
How Experts Think We'll Live in 2000 A.D. (1950)

Tuesday
Jul012008

Mechanized Stadium of the Future (1958)


The November 2, 1958 edition of Closer Than We Think featured a "mechanized stadium."

The stadium of tomorrow might very well be adaptable to a variety of athletic and other events, thereby solving a practical problem that has long plagued sports promoters.

 

The mechanized arena depicted here contains self-propelled sectional grandstands made of a new lightweight high tensile aluminum. Such seating areas would be maneuverable and could be properly positioned for the event at hand with little difficulty. Thus the stadium would be as suitable for a baseball game as it would be for football, boxing or hockey.

And not only would such a stadium bring spectators right up to where the action took place - but as an added touch there might be an adjustable mobile glass roof to protect them from the elements.

Next week: "Turnpike Jet Lines"


Many thanks to Tom Zmudzinski for providing this difficult to find strip.

See also:
Sports Fans of the Year 2000 (1967)
Mile Run in 3:41 by Year 2000 (1965)
Lunar High Jump (1979)
Sport in Space Colonies (1977)
Olympic Games on the Moon in 2020 (1979)
Zero-Gravity Football (1981)
Future Without Football (Daily Review, 1976)
"Grasshopper" Golf Cart (1961)

Friday
Jun132008

Shopper Hoppers (1959)


The August 2, 1959 Chicago Tribune ran this Closer Than We Think strip about personal flying platforms of the future. It's in an image like this that I realize how fundamentally different our world would be had the flying car ever become a reality. You just can't beat an "over the rooftops" perspective.

A kind of "flying carpet" may be the answer to the problem of personal transportation in the future. The flying platforms shown here would be suitable for such uses as low altitude hops to neighboring shops.

 

Military models of these "hoppers" have already been developed at Piasecki Aircraft and Chrysler. The flat platforms are lifted by air blasts through ducts at the bottom. The vanes of the ducts are movable, to permit control of direction. These vehicles would hover like helicopters and move at city traffic speeds. Construction would be simple, and costs could be kept low enough for civilian requirements.

Next Week: Farm Rainmakers


See also:
Online Shopping (1967)
GM's Shopping Cart Car (1964)