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Entries in cartoon (6)

Thursday
Aug182011

New York's tallest building of the future (1881)

When cartoonist Thomas Nast drew this illustration of future Manhattan for Harper's Weekly in 1881, Trinity Church was the tallest building in New York, with its spire and cross reaching 281 feet into the heavens. Until September of 2001, the North Tower of the World Trade Center stood as the tallest building in the city at 1,368 feet. Today, the Empire State Building is the tallest building in New York at 1,250 feet tall, but with any luck that's likely to change soon(ish).

The much delayed $3.1 billion One World Trade Center (formerly known as the Freedom Tower) will stand on the former site of the World Trade Center as the tallest building in New York at 1,776 feet. It's currently scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013. Let's just say I'm not holding my breath for that date.

Image from the August 27, 1881 Harper's Weekly and the book Predictions: Pictorial Predictions From the Past by John Durant.

Wednesday
Jun182008

'Brain Wave' Music Possible (1949)


The August 28, 1949 San Antonio Light (San Antonio, TX) ran this article and cartoon about the "brain wave" music of the future. The piece quotes heavily from electronic music pioneer Raymond Scott.

CHICAGO, Aug. 27 - (AP) - Some day composers won't write music, and musicians won't play it - yet fans will enjoy it in never-before-heard perfection.

 

The composer or artist will simply project it by brain waves - "thought transference," says Raymond Scott.

BRAIN WAVES

This man, who thinks in terms of electronics and music, thinks that is all quite possible. Scott said in an interview:

"Brains put out electrical waves. I wouldn't be at all surprised if some day it were possible to do away with lines in music, such as writing it out and playing the notes. You'll just be able to think it.

 

"Imagine fastening electrodes to your head, inviting some people to your home and then thinking your music. If you wanted 1000 violins you could have them - and if you wanted the bass fiddle to play piccolo parts, you could do that, too."


RECORDINGS, TOO

 

Scott says even recordings will carry, instead of musical sound, the brain waves of the composer. No arrangers, no rehearsals.

Scott is a New Yorker who has spent most of his adult life working on new developments in his two loves, music and electronics. He maintains a permanent electronics research laboratory in New York, while he composes music and directs his bands for radio shows and night club appearances. His musical theories have always been off-beat.


See also:
Robots vs. Musicians (1931)
The Future is Now (1955)
How Experts Think We'll Live in 2000 A.D. (1950)
All the Music of the Centuries (1908)
Every Era Produces Good Music (1968)

 

Tuesday
Jul242007

Much-Needed Rest (1903)


A common fear of the future is that life will become much too hectic. This idea is commonly portrayed in cartoons such as the one above, which ran in the June 4, 1903 edition of Life Magazine. The caption reads, "Mr. A. Merger Hogg is taking a few days' much-needed rest at his country home."

This image by Charles Dana Gibson was found in the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog via the book Turn-of-the-century America: Paintings, graphics, photographs, 1890-1910

See also:
Future Plane Travel (1920)

Thursday
May032007

The Jetsons "A Date With Jet Screamer" (1962)


The Jetsons episode A Date With Jet Screamer originally aired September 30, 1962 as the second Jetsons episode ever.

Even with flying cars and robot maids the Jetsons still utilize punch card computers to cook their instant meal. The advancements of push-button technology are obviously evident in most Jetsons episodes but it's funny to think that in 1962 punch card computers were still the technology of the future.

Below is a clip from the episode. You can watch the entire episode for free or you can find it on the DVD set The Jetsons - The Complete First Season.

UPDATE: Google has apparently never heard of fair use, so they pulled my short video clip of an episode that is available free online.

See also:
Jetsons
1999 A.D. (1967)
Computers the size of a room (1970)

Wednesday
Apr182007

That Synthetic Food of the Future (Ogden Standard-Examiner, 1926)


This cartoon appeared on page 10 of the Ogden Standard-Examiner (Ogden City, Utah) on September 19, 1926. In a clear homage to Dilbert, the boss in panel three screams, "It's the second time this week you've taken four minutes for lunch!!" It seems like everyone's stealing from Scott Adams these days.

(Click on the cartoon to make it larger.)

Tuesday
Feb202007

All's Fair at the Fair (1938)

The world presented in the 1938 cartoon All's Fair at the Fair is one of automation and robots. We see the World's Fair through the eyes of an adoring couple, impressed by the promises of the future.

The future is full of robots, specializing in cutting hair, shaving, teaching humans to dance, and otherwise perfecting humanity. All's Fair at the Fair offers that special brand of optimism I imagine the world needed in 1938. We will explore the real-life versions of the paleo-futuristic World's Fairs in future posts. Check out the short cartoon here.