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Entries in push-button (17)

Wednesday
Aug242011

The Push-Button School of Tomorrow (1958)

The May 5, 1958 edition of Arthur Radebaugh's Sunday comic, Closer Than We Think, showed off the high-tech school of tomorrow. With hordes of baby boomers flooding into public schools in the 1950s, it makes sense that this strip would focus on different solutions for overcrowding with that technological optimism we identify as being uniquely post-war American.

The student desk of the future includes a small camera, presumably so that the teacher being projected on a large screen in the front of the class can keep tabs on the little rascals. One thing that fascinates me about computer consoles of the retrofuture is that the QWERTY keyboard is not yet an assumed input device. Each computing device seems tailored to meet the needs of the intended user, as with this learning machine of the futuristic year 1999 and this auto-tutor from the 1964 New York World's Fair. That being said, the Google of 1964 was quaintly analog with its typewriter attachment.

One of my favorite details from this panel is the kid in the white shirt who's waving to someone in a gryocopter just outside the window. Better pay attention, lil' Johnny! TEACHER IS WATCHING!

Tomorrow's schools will be more crowded; teachers will be correspondingly fewer. Plans for a push-button school have already been proposed by Dr. Simon Ramo, science faculty member at California Institute of Technology. Teaching would be by means of sound movies and mechanical tabulating machines. Pupils would record attendance and answer questions by pushing buttons. Special machiens would be "geared" for each individual student so he could advance as rapidly as his abilities warranted. Progress records, also kept by machine, would be periodically reviewed by skilled teachers, and personal help would be available when necessary.

Many thanks, as always, to Tom Z. for the color scan of this strip.

Wednesday
Jan272010

"And This Button Annihilates the City" (1965)

We've looked at many advertisements that use the push-button future as a way to position products as cutting edge or innovative. But when the Future is used in this ad from the August 19, 1965 Marion Sentinel it just seems lazy.

Where is Father looking, and what --oh gawd, WHAT?-- will pushing those buttons do to that poor futuristic city? I think Daughter's been dipping into Mother's little helper, which would explain her crazy eyes, but doesn't explain why almost everyone is looking at a different point in space.

I guess the lesson here is that if you want to see the Future just look up and to your left. And leave your mouth slightly agape.

Oh, and shop at A & H Appliance.

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Sunday
Oct112009

Computerized Kitchen of the Future (1977)

We seem to have been waiting for the smart cupboard/fridge for quite a while now. Though the continued spread of RFID chips makes such an idea more plausible today, the future kitchen isn't yet quite what we imagined.

A January 3, 1977 piece in the Winnipeg Free Press (Winnipeg, Manitoba) predicted the smart cupboard, kitchen computers that automatically select menus and kitchen televisions for monitoring Junior in the next room. The piece appears in its entirety below.

TORONTO (CP) - The housewife of the future will be able to keep an eye on her sleeping baby by "dialing in" the nursery to get an instant picture of a kitchen television screen.

This is but one prediction Canadians can expect to come true as advances in kitchen conveniences are researched and developed, says Gordon I. Forsell, vice-president of marketing and sales for Inglis Ltd., appliance manufacturer.

"We visualize a day when a central panel or brain will allow the housewife to handle most tasks through a computerized source," said Mr. Forsell.

A kitchen computer will select menus and deliver frozen items directly from freezer to micro-wave oven. A gourmet meal may be thawed, cooked and ready-to-serve in minutres.

The computer's brain will store information such as a tally of supplies that are running short in the kitchen cupboard.

Mr. Forsell predicted that the same television screen the housewife watchers her baby on will deliver the day's news or a special college course at the push of a button.

Located centrally in the kitchen of tomorrow is the cooking area, he said. Smooth, unbroken cooking surfaces that wife clean with a cloth will be hidden beneath the kitchen counter ready to pull out and use when required.

He said a giant crisper located directly beside the sink area will keep greens fresh and well within reach. Its moisture will be automatically controlled.

Mr. Forsell said a special sink will be equipped with a food dispenser so that peels and rinds will disappear. "And paper, cans and other solid waste products will go into a trash compactor," he said.

"Also built into the kitchen of tomorrow is a year-round herb garden supported by ultra-violet light."

He said that no one will have to wash a dish, plate or pot.

"New dishwashers will add their own detergents, adjust heat automatically and handle every utensil efficiently," he said. "The dishwasher will be hidden below the counter and programmed to rise to counter top at the push of a button."

"Mr. Forsell said the kitchen of the future also will have a complete laundry centre. Programmed washers will automatically sort fabrics and colors including all the touch double-knits and delicate laces.

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Sunday
Oct042009

Motor Car of the Future (1918)

The March 10, 1918 Oakland Tribune (Oakland, CA) ran this illustration of the motor car of the future. If so inclined, one can read the entire article here. But let's face it, you're just here for the pretty pictures.

The new car will be all glass-enclosed and controlled entirely by a set of push buttons. It will have no clutch, gears or transmission, will sit low, have small clearance and punctureless tires.

Previously on Paleo-Future:

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)

Friday
Jan252008

Monsanto House of the Future Brochure (1961)


The excellent Disney blog Stuff from the Park has scans of a 1960s brochure for the Monsanto House of the Future.

The piece explains that, "The erection of the Monsanto 'Plastics Home of the Future' at Disneyland in the summer of 1957 provided a practical demonstration of the almost limitless potential of plastics in structural applications." Much like the article on the future of glass we looked at last week, this piece centers around selling consumers goods which are positioned as "futuristic." Insert reference to The Graduate here.

Some of the "outstanding equipment of advanced design on display in the 'plastics home of the future'' are listed below:

"Atoms for Living Kitchen" featuring micro-wave cooking and ultra-sonic dishwashing.

 

Telephones with preset and push-button dialing, "hands-free" speakers and transmitters, and viewing screen to see the person who is calling.

Modular bathrooms with lavoratory, tub, walls and floor molded in units.

Foamed-in-place rigid urethane plastic foam for insulation and structural strength and flexible urethane foam for cushioning furniture and rugs.

Climate control center which filters, cools, heats and scents the air in each room independently.

Foam-backed plastic floor covering with controlled resiliency and noise-reducing properties.

"Acrillan" acrylic fiber and Chemsbrand nylon for upholstery, draperies and carpeting.


See also:
Monsanto House of the Future (1957-1967)
Monsanto House of the Future (1957)

 

Friday
Jan112008

Foolproof Weatherman of 1989 (1939)


The September 17, 1939 Montana Standard (Butte, MT) ran an article titled, "Foolproof Weatherman of 1989." Excerpts along with the article in its entirety appear below. My apologies to Pittsburgh.

Weather for November: First to tenth, rainy with some snow or sleet; tenth to twentieth, mostly fair, with frost and probably a severe freeze in the northern part of the state; twentieth to thirtieth, unsettled, clearing toward end of the month; Thanksgiving Day certain to be fair and only moderately cool.

 

Guesswork prophecy from an old-fashioned patent medicine almanac? No: official forecast, dated July 1, 1989 from the Weather Bureau headquarters in your home state. Based strictly on scientific analysis of exactly observed conditions months in advance, and made possible by improvements in instruments and mathematical methods that will come during the next 50 years.

We have the word of veteran weathermen that this kind of forecast is within the bounds of imaginable possibility, to come in the lifetime of our younger children.

A few months ago, the then chief of the U.S. Weather Bureau, Dr. Willis R. Gregg, wrote to all the leading meteorologists, both in government service and in universities throughout the country, asking them to take a holiday for a moment from the forecasting - to tell what they thought it might be like, half a century hence.


The article goes on to describe the push-button future of weather forecasting.

Looking ahead 50 years on our own account, we may vision the future chief of the U.S. Weather Bureau sitting in his laboratory. A screen is on the wall. He pushes a button, and sees a clear sky above the smoky pall of Pittsburgh (or maybe there won't be any smoke above Pittsburgh by then). He pushes another, and sees clouds scudding over Chicago, driven by a strong northwest wind. Another, and the screen blurs blind white; there is a raging blizzard at Medicine Hat. And so on, across Alaska and Siberia.



See also:
Communities May Be Weatherized (Edwardsville Intelligencer, 1952)
American Version of Postcards Showing the Year 2000 (circa 1900)
The Coming Ice Age (1982)