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Entries in food (67)

Thursday
Feb212008

House of the Future (1956)

Thursday
Feb142008

Farmer Jones and the Year 2000 (1956)


The Independent Press-Telegram magazine, Southland (Long Beach, CA) dedicated their entire November 4, 1956 issue to "You and the Year 2000." The section about farming appears below.

The most odd scenario depicted is one in which an H-bomb actually makes crops grow better. The entire article by George Serviss, entitled "Anyone for a Garchidrose?" appears below.

Farmer Jones stepped to a small black instrument panel at the rear of the air-conditioned plastic "bubble" in which we sat, my wife seated beside me - I had brought her along to write the woman's angle of this interview with a Year 2000 farm family for "Atomic Life." We had just come up a ray-powered elevator from the family's spacious bomb-and-fungus-proofed, solar-conditioned subsurface quarters. We were surveying his fields.

 

Farmer Jones pressed a button marked "Activator." There was a slight hum and a cylinder rose in the field a few feet beyond the clear plastic wall. A door opened in the cylinder and a robot, closely resembling a 1956 man, stepped jerkily out into the field.

"I must apologize for my hired hand," Farmer Jones said lightly, "Since full parity prices have been removed from our crops, I haven't been able to afford a newer model. But, he has served me well. A couple of new tubes and a paint job will tide him over for another year or two."

Farmer Jones was now operating a small lever that projected from a squarish box that stood up from the floor. The lever seemed to swing around a 360-degree circle and, as I watched, I could see that this was the control for the robot. I turned back to the field to watch development. I'd already asked about the quality of his crops.

The robot moved swiftly now, under Farmer Jones' guidance. "Carrot, perhaps?" queried Farmer Jones. "Or a turnip; perhaps a tomato?" he asked, turning the robot this way and that in the rows that could be seen beyond the plastic. There was very little foliage to mark the rows, produce being grown these days for the edible roots and fruits with a minimum of green waste. Chlorophyll derivative sprays replaced greenery, as I had already observed in my extensive farm and garden writings.

Perhaps we should have a leaf or two of spinach, too," Farmer Jones commented, steering the robot on another course to a green section of the field into which the machine almost totally disappeared, so tall was the vegetation.

"I'll bring the man in now," Farmer Jones said, and guided the robot to a belt conveyor box which projected beyond the bubble. "Haven't been out in the fields since we were H-bombed in the last war," he said. He laughed ruefully, "Don't think it would be healthy," he said, "still 'hot'; but you'd be surprised what that bombing did for the soil. Things grow like crazy; and the robot doesn't mind a bit sowing the seeds and keeping the place up."

The impromptu harvest came tumbling into the bubble - through a radiation trap. Farmer Jones explained. "They're safe to handle now," he said, and pressed a "Deactivator" button that left the robot hired-hand standing at attention. The humming stopped.

The vegetable were all that Farmer Jones had previously boasted that they would be. Carrots three feet long. I took a sample nibble of one; cleaned and completely sanitized by passing through the radiation trap. It was delicious. So was the turnip, four feet in diameter and as tender as butter. I carved a chunk with my electronic pocket incisor and passed it to my wife who has always had a penchant for raw vegetables. She exclaimed with delight at its flavor.

The giant tomato, fully as large as a regulation basketball, gushed red juice of tantalizing aroma when I pricked the skin with my incisor.

The spinach leaves were far larger than palm fronds, but I have persisted in a childhood aversion for this delicacy. I merely examined the leaves for texture.

"No sand," commented Farmer Jones," and the flavor is very similar to lemon squash. All the old-time vitamins, though."

We chatted on crop prospects and the market outlook while Farmer Jones sent his man after a handful of cherries, which were chilled by dry ice in the hands of the robot before they reached us. One apiece was more than enough Farmer Jones asked:

"Would your wife like to have a nice, fresh corsage? I've something new I've just perfected."

He dispatched the robot on another guided errand. The corsage that was deposited on the conveyor belt was, indeed, "something new."

"I call it 'garchidrose'," Farmer Jones said. "I've combined gardenia, orchid and rose in one, together with fern, to grow a complete, multiple-flower corsage on one plant. It does need a bit of ribbon," he apologized, "but I haven't found the way to grow the ribbon yet!" My wife was delighted.

We turned to leave.

"By the way," I said. "These vegetables of yours; they must be very high in vitamin content."

"They are, they are," he said. "Extremely so."

"They you must be a very healthy man," I said.

"Me? Oh no; I never eat them. No roughage for me. I have ulcers. I'm strictly a cottage cheese and pill man, myself."

See also:
Closer Than We Think! Fat Plants and Meat Beets (1958)
Farm to Market (1958)
Robot Farms (1982)
Farm of the Future (1984)
Superfarm of the Year 2020 (1979)
That Synthetic Food of the Future (Ogden Standard-Examiner, 1926)

Monday
Jan282008

How Experts Think We'll Live in 2000 A.D. (1950)


The December 27, 1950 Robesonian (Lumberton, NC) ran an Associated Press article titled, "How Experts Think We'll Live in 2000 A.D." The article covered the future of movies, commercial flight, space travel, medicine and women, among many other topics. Can you believe that by the year 2000 a woman may be president of the United States? Apparently not.

Some highlighted predictions of the piece appear below. A transcribed version of the article in its entirety can be found on my other blog, Older Than Me.

- Third dimensional color television will be so commonplace and so simplified at the dawn of the 21st century that a small device will project pictures on the living room wall so realistic they will seem to be alive. The room will automatically be filled with the aroma of the flower garden being shown on the screen.

- The woman of the year 2000 will be an outsize Diana, anthropologists and beauty experts predict. She will be more than six feet tall, wear a size 11 shoe, have shoulders like a wrestler and muscles like a truck driver. She will go in for all kinds of sports – probably will compete with men athletes in football, baseball, prizefighting and wrestling.

- Wireless transmission of electric power, long a dream of the engineer, will have come into being. There will be no more power lines to break in storms. A simple small antenna on the roof will pick up the current for lighting a house.

- The Third World War - barring such a miracle as has never yet occurred in relations between countries so greatly at odds - will grow out of Russia's exactly opposite attempts to unify the world by force.

- The telephone will be transformed from wire to radio and will be equipped with the visuality of television. Who’s on the other end of the line will seldom be a mystery. Evey pedestrian will have his own walking telephone – an apparatus by a combination of the X-ray and television. Electronic appendectomies will be performed with an X-ray-TV camera, projection screen and electric “knives” – the latter actually being electrodes functioning without puncturing the skin.

- In 2000 we shall be able to fly around the world in a day. We shall be neighbors of everyone else on earth, to whom we wish to be neighborly.

- The nation's industrial and agricultural plant will be able to support 300 million persons 50 years from now - twice the present population. Land now unproductive will be made to yield. Science will steadily increase crop production per acre. Technological, industrial and economic advances will give the American people living standards eight times as high as now.

- Public health will improve, especially the knowledge of how air carries infections, like the common cold, from person to person. Before 2000, the air probably will be made as safe from disease-spreading as water and food were during the first half of this century.

- Space platforms, sent out from earth, will end mid-century’s “iron curtain” era by bringing the entire globe under constant surveillance.

- Combination automobile-planes will have been perfected.

- People will live in houses so automatic that push-buttons will be replaced by fingertip and even voice controls. Some people today can push a button to close a window – another to start coffee in the kitchen. Tomorrow such chores will be done by the warmth of your fingertip, as elevators are summoned now in some of the newest office buildings – or by a mere whisper in the intercom phone.

- Radio broadcasting will have disappeared, for no one will tune in a program that cannot be seen. Radio will long since have reverted to a strictly communications medium, using devices now unheard of and unthought of.

- Some movie theaters of A.D. 2000 may be dome-shaped, with ceiling and walls arching together like the sky. These surfaces would be the “screen.” Most action would still be in front of you, as now. But some could be overhead, some at the sides, and some even on the wall behind. A little girl steps into a street in the action before you – and you turn around and look behind you to see if an auto is coming.

- Through the extended use of better plants and animals, improved fertilizers, new growth regulators and more efficient machinery, it should be possible, leaders say, for farmers to produce future crop needs on much less land than today.

- Some see us drifting toward the all-powerful state, lulled by the sweet sound of “security.” Some see a need to curb our freedom lest it be used to shield those who plot against us. And some fear our freedom will be hard to save if a general war should come.

- So tell your children not to be surprised if the year 2000 finds 35 or even a 20-hour work week fixed by law.


The piece was written by the following specialists of The Associated Press: J.M. Roberts, Jr., foreign affairs; Howard W. Blakeslee, science; Sam Dawson, economics; Dorothy Roe, women; Alexander George, population; James J. Strebig, aviation; David G. Bareuther, construction; C.E. Butterfield, television; Gene Handsaker, movies; Ovid A. Martin, agriculture; Ed Creagh, politics; Norman Walker, labor; David Taylor Marke, education.

 

See also:
After the War (1944)
Will War Drive Civilization Underground? (1942)
Taller Women by Year 2000 (1949)
Tomorrow's TV-Phone (1956)
Disney's Magic Highway, U.S.A. (1958)
The Future is Now (1955)
Closer Than We Think: Headphone TV (1960)
Transportation in 2000 A.D. (1966)
I want an oil-cream cone! (1954)
The Complete Book of Space Travel (1956)

Tuesday
Jan152008

Computersville is almost here (1970)

The November 8, 1970 Chronicle-Telegram (Elyria, OH) ran an article titled, "Computersville is almost here." The entire piece appears below.

NEW YORK (UPI) - In Computersville this day, Jane Doe presses buttons on the mini-computer in her kitchen.

 

She orders up a week's worth of low-calorie menus. Within micro-seconds, the machine devises such meal plans. Then it prints them.

Before she entered the kitchen, Mrs. Doe stopped briefly in the living room to admire the family's newest possession - a huge geometric print, drawn by computer.

As she goes about her chores, she is relaxed by the sounds of her favorite record, Computer Concerto. This features a musical score created by computer and orchestrated by computer. The sounds are electronic. There are blips and beeps and modulated static.

At times the sounds blend noises of a dozen jets waiting on the runway to takeoff. Altogether, it is a pleasant record.

In the afternoon, Mrs. Doe goes to her small town's medical center for her annual physical. Among other things, she has an electrocardiogram - administered by technicians, processed by computer and read, of course, by computer.

The printout on her eletrocardiogram: "Non specific T-wave changes. Possibly borderline gram. Probably within normal limits."

All of these things from the world of computers were seen at an unconventional convention in New York - the 25th National Conference of the Association for Computing Machinery.

They will come home to roost in the not-too-distant future. You probably won't have to wait until the year 2,000, for example, to have computer art and music in your home. Hospitals of the land already are experimenting with diagnosis by computer.

The menu - planning computer for the kitchen, while a bit expensive around $10,000, is available. It is designed to help keep track of financial records, lend a hand with the children's homework - and perform many other tasks.


After Radiohead's Amnesiac was released, friends and I would joke that their next record would be nothing but airplane noises. I would actually be interested in hearing that Computer Concerto record.

 

See also:
1999 A.D. (1967)
Frigidaire Kitchen of the Future (1957)
That 60's Food of the Future
Monsanto House of the Future (1957-1967)
Call a Serviceman (Chicago Tribune, 1959)
The Electronic Brain Made Beef Stew (1959)
Something must be wrong with its radar eye! (Chicago Tribune, 1959)

Monday
Jan142008

Closer Than We Think! Hydrofungal Farming (1962)


The March 18, 1962 Chicago Tribune ran this Closer Than We Think strip about hydrofungal farming. The text of the strip appears below.

An Ohio State University professor is researching a novel way to keep the world's supply of food proteins in step with the explosive growth of the population.

Dr. William D. Gray believes an answer might be found by cultivating certain fast-growing fungi rich in proteins. These fungi must be grown in large quantities of water, either salt of fresh, aerated by bubble streams.

One way would be to mature the "crop" in the ocean. Plant flasks would be fastened to slowly rocking underwater tables supplied with air from hoses to the surface. These mechanized "hydrofungal" centers might prove just as effective for protein cultivation as the sea itself is for the fish to eat.


See also:
Closer Than We Think! (1958-1963)
Ocean Life by Klaus Bürgle (1960s)
Sealab 1994 (1973)
Man's Future Beneath the Sea (1968)
Solar Power of 1999 (1956)
Undersea Cities (1954)
Closer Than We Think! Fat Plants and Meat Beets (1958)
Delicious Waste Liquids of the Future (1982)

 

Monday
Nov262007

Maid Without Tears (1978)


Matt Chapman, co-creator of Homestar Runner, sent me this great image from the 1978 book Exploring the World of Robots.

While I've never had a maid, I didn't know that they were always on the verge of crying! As Matt notes, "the 'Maid Without Tears' does not appear to have been made without cords as she has two of them coming out of her, dragging dangerously on the ground." Text from the image appears below.

Stay tuned, because I've found some great newspaper articles about the "Quasar, robot of the future." With headlines like, "Take out your trash, laugh at your jokes," and "R2D2? You ain't seen nothin' yet!" just scratch the paleo-futuristic surface.

Today we have many different gadgets in our homes. They make housework and gardening easier. In [the] future we may have robot servants to do all the jobs in the home.

 

In charge of tomorrow's servants will be a robot brain. It will run the house. It will control other machines electronically. The brain will work vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers, washing machines, food mixers, automatic cookers and other gadgets.

We will be able to give the brain its orders, telling it what jobs to do and when to do them. If we forget to mow the lawn, the robot brain will remind us. Then we can tell the robot to get on with the job.

There may be walking robots to do the dusting, and to lay and clear the table. The robots in the picture are real. One is called Quasar. Quasar can vacuum carpets, mow lawns, carry trays of food, and even take the dog for a walk! At the door is another robot, called the Maid Without Tears.

One day people may not go out to work at all. They will work from home, using television and robots. The robot brain will suggest meals for the day. It will order our shopping, finding out from other robots in the local shops where the best buys are. The goods will be packed and delivered to our home by robots.


See also:
Robots: The World of the Future (1979)
Living Room of the Future (1979)
In a Cashless Future, Robots Will Cook (1996)
Closer Than We Think! Robot Housemaid (1959)
The Electronic Brain Made Beef Stew (1959)
The Future of Personal Robots (1986)

 

Wednesday
Oct312007

Restaurant Robots (1931)

The March 27, 1931 Lima News (Lima, Ohio) ran a piece titled, "Press the Button and Mechanical Man Will Pop Right Up With Meal." Automation, as we've seen through countless other posts, epitomizes futurism of the 1930s. Robots (a relatively new term in 1931) seemed to often be thrown in for that extra bit of flair.

The machine age is about to take command of the world's largest industry - the $23,000,000,000-a-year restaurant business. Hungry patrons will push various buttons representing items on the menu, their orders will be transmitted electrically to kitchen robots which will prepare their food, deliver it, collect the bills, and carry off the dishes.



See also:
Just Imagine (1930)
In a Cashless Future, Robots Will Cook (1996)
Closer Than We Think! Robot Housemaid (1959)
The Electronic Brain Made Beef Stew (1959)
The Future of Personal Robots (1986)
Donald Duck's "Modern Inventions" (1937)
All's Fair at the Fair (1938)
The Mechanical Man of the Future (1928)