What Will Happen In the Next 100 Years?

Predictions from an issue of Ladies Home Journal from 1900.

No Mosquitoes nor Flies. Insect screens will be unnecessary. Mosquitoes, house-flies and roaches will have been practically exterminated. Boards of health will have destroyed all mosquito haunts and breeding-grounds, drained all stagnant pools, filled in all swamp-lands, and chemically treated all still-water streams. The extermination of the horse and its stable will reduce the house-fly.

(via Bifurcated Rivets)


  1. very cool. that guy sure did hate horses. he mentioned twice that he though all horses would be exterminated.

    laughter for the “getting to england in 2 days”, and all wild animals will be exterminated.”

  2. Heh. Interesting one. Incidentally, the guy seems to grasp VERY clearly (if instinctively?) the concept of “margins”, the part Peak Oilers don’t get: as one commodity gets depleted and thus more expensive, market develops alternatives because – horror of horrors – there is profit to be made.

    As for horses, well, horseshit WAS one of the major health hazards of the day, so his loathing is not entirely unjustified.

  3. OK, let’s break it down…

    1) 5 hundred million people: As of 2006 the US population was 300 million…the whole statement is basically false.

    2) American will be taller: Sure, my quick scan couldn’t refute this and I’m pretty sure we are taller. We are also living longer, as predicted, but we are living LONGER than he thought. We all know that the penny fare for commutes is inacurate, though.

    3) No C, X or Q…um, obviously not true.

    4) Hot & Cold Air from Spigots: He’s basically correct. They aren’t spigots per se, but we do have both. The air doesn’t come from plants, but it’s basically correct.

    5) No Mosquitos, nor flies: I wish

    6) Ready cooked meals will be bought: Yep, we do that. Not via pneumatic tubes, but we do get ready cooked meals (hot & cold).

    7) No foods will be exposed: Not true, but he’s right on the refridgeration part.

    8) Coal not used for cooking or heating: Pretty much true, we do use coal for electricity, though.

    9) No street cars in large cities: obviously not true. He was correct on the subways and L’s, though.

    10) Photographs telegraphed from any distance: Yep.

    11) Trains at 150MPH: It happens. He didn’t predict massive air travel, though. No one really takes a train cross country.

    12) Automobiles cheaper than horses: I can follow this logic. While I can buy a horse for less than I can buy a car, the monthly cost of maintaining a car can get pricey. I have a horse and while he cost me $2800, I have to pay $335/month to keep him…PLUS he’s just a pet.

    13) Everybody will walk 10 miles: We COULD, but why? We’re all fat because we don’t do that.

    14) To England in 2 days: Sure, but not by ship. Again, he failed to predict air travel.

    15) There will be air ships: but he thinks they won’t compete with other forms of travel.

    16) Aerial warships & forts on wheels: I can see where he’s going here, it’s basically correct.

    17) No Wild Animals: We certainly are trying 🙂 Not true, though.

    18) Man will see around the world: You know it.

    19) Telephones around the world: Yep

    20) Grand Opera will be telephoned: Even better, tv!

    21) How children will be taught: I wish university education was free!

    22) Store purchases by tube: sort of…does ebay count? No tubes, but delivery and many locations is right on.

    23) Vegetables grown by electricity: Not familiar enough with horticulture, but I don’t believe this is used (at least not in any wide scale). Winter is winter where I’m from…no fancy heaters.

    24) Oranges will grow in Philadelphia: Maybe in a greenhouse…he is right about out of season foods being transported, though.

    25) Strawberries as large as apples: I wish! Fruits and vegetables are bigger, though.

    26) Peas as large as beets: Nope

    27) Black, blue & green roses: Nope

    28) Few drugs will be swallowed: We know this isn’t true. He got the x-ray idea, though

  4. You know what’s interesting? 6 comments, and 4 either haven’t read or haven’t taken in the point of the introduction… the other 2 you can’t tell either way (plus me too, I read it earlier and only noticed just now, second time around).

    No one really takes a train cross country.

    Maybe not across your country. I once heard tell that there maybe others out there somewhere… 😉

  5. Actually I think he was remarkably prophetic about what we ultimately did do but a bit amiss about just how we did it. Still he nailed some of the most critical changes that have happened over that time such as the importance of convenience-based services and goods (opera over the phone and shopping via a tube). It’s obviously not just opera but today’s equivalent of high entertainment is available through the ADSL modem connected to my phone line and quick delivery of internet purchases nearly matches his tube idea. I have read and seen a lot of things-past predicting things-future and one mistake so many of them made was doting on technological gadgets (household robot maids {roomba doesn’t count}, cars that could convert to boats and planes) and not the character of things to come. Sure we have gained a lot of gadgetry but that’s not really what defines us. It’s what societal changes we made that are significant and getting more things from home, in better quality at a cheaper price and faster are the hallmarks of the past century. This guy would have been interesting to talk to; just don’t mention horses in front of him. Also, while we are swallowing more drugs than ever it is fair to give him partial credit for realizing that people would not have to gag down the noxious potions and powders that 1905 doctors doled out. He didn’t predict the gel-cap or the wax coated tablet, which many people can swallow without water, but at least he was predicting that less torment would be inflicted by medical procedures in the future. In 1905 a shot may well have been more plesent than the taste of some swallowed medicines.

  6. Has anyone read the introduction? Do you not think it’s usually important to read text that sets up context for the text that follows? It’s a minor, piffling point that’s been missed in this case, but that’s only by chance…

Comments are closed.