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Entries in housework (19)

Thursday
Feb212008

House of the Future (1956)

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
Oct032007

The Future of Personal Robots (1986)

The May-June 1986 issue of The Futurist magazine ran an article titled, "The Future of Personal Robots." An excerpt appears below.


Robots can already be used to entertain young children. Their entertainment value for older children and adults, however, is for the most part limited to the intellectual challenge of programming them. But future robots will be complete home-entertainment centers, able to sing and dance and tell jokes, as well as control all your electronic entertainment equipment - TV, radio, stereo, computer games and telephone.

Like many paleo-futuristic images of robots, the article imagines the robot as a mechanical person, one of the least useful forms a robot can take for those living in 2007. Taken literally, it is difficult to image the robot that will, "sing and dance and tell jokes," being mass-produced anytime soon.

Also, do the people above live in a house with kitchen counters just two feet tall or is Omnibot one hell of a jumper?

See also:
Closer Than We Think! Robot Housemaid (1959)
Robot Farms (1982)
The Robot Rebellion (1982)
Japanese Retail Robots (1986)
Robots: The World of the Future (1979)
Living Room of the Future (1979)

Thursday
Aug092007

Headlines of the Near Future (1972)

The 1972 book Futures Conditional contains essays and lists from many different futurists of the era. This list of headlines of the near future, by Billy Rojas, presents readers with events that will "probably happen - in some cases undoubtedly happen - although not necessarily in the order presented."

1972

February

Chiang Kai-shek dead in Taiwan; new regime is created that seeks to "modernize" Formosa. Ten year plan to replace most ideographs with Roman letters is announced. Major effort is made to organize "overseas" Chinese - the millions is southeast Asia, the tens of thousands in America - into a series of formalized trade associations.


March

Safe cigarettes invented: Lorillard stock advances 20 points in one day.

 

July

Chicago firm begins marketing robot "housekeepers": mechanical mice to vacuum rugs and clean floors, automated kitchens that prepare hot meals according to consumer specifications, etc.

 

November

Team of Muskie and Adlai Stevenson III defeats Republicans for Presidency.

 

1973

January

J.Edgar Hoover resigns post as head of FBI.

 

June

Astronauts find evidence of sub-cellular life on the moon - two billion years ago.

 

July

Jackie divorces Ari; she plans to marry David Brinkley.

 

September

New Jersey becomes first state to legalize marijuana.

 

November

Stones break up. New music stirs U.S.; Cheyenne native rock-and-tom-tom group tops charts.

 

December

Peace settlement reached in Middle East; version of Allon plan adopted on a "phase-out" basis; Israel-Jordan to become joint secular state.

 

1974

March

Mao-Tse-tung suffers heart attack in China. Succeeded by Chou En-Lai. Red Guard "party" forms to challenge authority of the government, cultural revolution becomes an underground movement.

 

April

Hovercraft "grass highway" bonds approved by Congress: Boston-Richmond route.

 

May

Haile Selassie dies in Washington hospital. His death removes last obstacle to United States in East Africa, a new nation made up of the former states of Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda.

 

July

South Sudan secedes from Arab Federation; civil war erupts as rebels receive encouragement and aid from Addis Ababa.

 

October

Houston doctor discloses discovery of selective memory-erasing drug.

 

November

Reagan defeated by 350,000 votes.

 

1975

February

Rescue in space; Russians save Americans endangered on orbiting space platform.

 

April

U. of Oklahoma student disorders reach insurrection proportions; social science building destroyed, 4 police, 18 students killed.

 

June

"Electro-pop," completely synthetic beverage starts a new food craze: Electro-snax, Electro-suppers are marketed.

 

August

First space hospital (4 "beds") established by U.S.S.R.

 

September

Socialists return to power in Britain.

 

1976

May

Cabinet restructure in U.S., new secretaries of Education, Environment.

 

October

Sex-selection industry booms. Chemical treatments enable prospective parents to predetermine sex of offspring.

 

November

Allard Lowenstein defeats Buckley in N.Y. Senate contest.

 

1977

January

Temporary lunar base set up by U.S. - 6 men, 2 months.

 

June

Famine conditions worsen in India, Java. Communist revolution develops.

 

October

Sexual intercourse allowed in Yale sex ed. classes. Harvard follows suit.

 

November

Brazilian church secedes from Rome; "second reformation" as Dutch, some Americans, also walk out.

 

December

Tito dies in Yugoslavia, unsuccessful leftist coup to oust hand-picked successor.

 

1978

March

Religious revival reported in Africa: Nigeria, Dahomey, Ivory Coast, Guinea become Baha'i countries.

 

July

Japanese firm announces opening of sea-chains, series of floating cities to accommodate 10,000 people each; located in Polynesia.

 

August

Police force retired in Seattle; replaced by paid, plain clothes community people.

 

1979

February

First "time traveler." Star of ten-year hibernation for Minneapolis man.

 

September

Radio signals from vicinity of 41 Y Cygni indicate intelligent life in the universe.

 

October

Laser "arrays" used by commercial ships to navigate Antarctic waters; business firms start pilot plants on southernmost continent.

 

December

U.S. court system reformed. New features include "maximum wait law" - no more than 30 days between arrest and trial - and "obsolete statute law" - any law on the books is retired after 20 years unless specifically renewed by legislative act.

 

See also:
Sea City 2000 (1979)
The Future of Leisure That Never Arrived (New York Times, 2007)
Space Colony Possible (The News, 1975)
Civilized Adultery (1970)
Space Colony Pirates (1981)
The Population Bomb: Scenario 1 (1970)
The Population Bomb: Scenario 2 (1970)
The Population Bomb: Scenario 3 (1970)
Closer Than We Think! Robot Housemaid (1959)

Monday
Aug062007

Jamaican Food in 2000 A.D. (1969)

The December 4, 1969 Daily Gleaner (Kingston, Jamaica) ran a piece by James MacDonald titled, "Food in 2000 A.D." that examined the food of the future within the context of Jamaican beef imports and communal eating.

It is interesting to note that the communal kitchen concept was very much in vogue in the late nineteenth century (see Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy) and seemed to make a comeback in the 1960s and 70s. Below are excerpts from the piece.

Milk that never saw a cow, fruit that never grew on a tree or in the ground, and steak bearing no relation to a bullock -- in other words, fabricated food. It sounds a little distasteful and perhaps unbelievable but, according to eminent scientists studying food science it is inevitable and will be soon on our tables.

Take the steak for instance. Soya beans can be woven to resemble a bullock's muscle, the fat presents no problem nor do vitamins, colouring is simple and flavour can be injected to order. The stuff can be even made to suit the taste buds of an institutional canteen or those who like to see blood.

The development is not a new one - vegetarian Seventh Day Adventists have been eating this type of meat for the past forty years - but it is developing rapidly in recent years, and could hang a large question mark over the future of beef herds. Here in Jamaica it might solve the problem we have of having to import so much beef though I doubt if a patty would ever taste the same again.

Food Technologists also forecast the days of communal feeding, when whole sections of the community, several streets joined together, would be served by a communal kitchen. Mrs. Community, tired of her cooking chores, will simply pick up the phone and order any variety of quality convenience foods from the self-serving central chef. An indication of this trend is visible at the moment in the home delivery services of some restaurants and also the ready to heat TV Dinners. Quality at the moment may leave a lot to be desired but in the future, new methods of keeping food such as A.F.D. (Accelerated Freeze Drying) and cooking Infra-Ray Ovens will keep the gourmets happy. The result - less time spent on cooking and shopping and more time for leisure.

See also:
That Synthetic Food of the Future (Ogden Standard-Examiner, 1926)
Food of the Future (Indiana Progress, 1896)
Delicious Waste Liquids of the Future (1982)

Friday
Jul062007

Closer Than We Think! Robot Housemaid (1959)


This Closer Than We Think! strip ran in the September 13, 1959 Chicago Tribune. Unlike Rosie the Robot, this robotic housemaid floats on a cushion of air.

The last paragraph describing, "a device to take food automatically from storage and cook it on a preset schedule," sounds very similar to the food preparation system in the 1967 film, "1999 A.D."


There'll be no servant problem in your home of the future. Instead, employ a robot - to cook, set the table, clear it off, wash the dishes and put them away.

A firm of industrial designers, Sundberg, Ferar, Inc., has already projected an idea for such a "mechanical maid." A self-propelled serving cart would move linen, glasses, china and silver to the table. After dinner, it would wash them and store them away.

Meanwhile, Westinghouse is researching a device to take food automatically from storage and cook it on a preset schedule. All milady would have to do is preset her menu and table arrangements each morning.

See also:
1999 A.D. (1967)
Call a Serviceman (Chicago Tribune, 1959)
Monsanto House of the Future (1957-1967)
Closer Than We Think! (1958-1963)

Thursday
Jun142007

Frigidaire Kitchen of the Future (1957)


The blog Mutagenic Mushroom recently posted this photo of the 1957 kitchen of the future. I can't tell where they found it but they claim it was produced by Frigidaire. Anyone with more information about this image is encouraged to fill us in.

See also:
1999 A.D. (1967)
Monsanto House of the Future (1957-1967)