The Year 1975 (As Predicted By 1962)

Ransom Riggs

We here at Mental_floss love to uncover visions of the future -- especially when that "future" is already long past. (Consider, for example, this post about the year 2000, as predicted by Europeans at the turn of the 20th century.) Derrick Bostrom recently uncovered a book of tech and lifestyle predictions for the year 1975, made all the more absurd by the fact that it was published only 13 years prior. What follows are some pictures and captions from 1975: And the Changes to Come by Arnold B. Barach. (You can see the whole collection on Bostrom's site.)

The Future of Television

Two Variations of Future Television Sets. On the left, a triple-purpose unit for the housewife, enabling her to watch her children at play or identify visitors at the door or watch her favorite color television program. On the right, a salesman's video-audio tape player, housed in an attaché case, and designed to project visual sales presentations as well as to function as a dictation unit.

Can you imagine one of these guys whipping out one of these babies during a sales call?

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Hi-Fi Sphere. High-fidelity sets do not have to be square, and they do not have to be long. This look into tomorrow is an effort to blend the feeling of a musical instrument with modern electronics. Engineers have long maintained that a sphere is the ideal source of sound reproduction. Note these features: The cone speakers are retractable, can have a span of six feet between them, and can be pitched in any direction the best stereophonic effect. In the base of the sphere is a woofer speaker, facing inward. When not in use, the three-foot aluminum globe can be completely closed present a decorative sphere.

Forget the decorative sphere, where can I get one of those awesome lamps? (And by the way, which musical instruments look anything like this bizarre contraption?)

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Oven in the Round. Portable oven, by designer Greta Magnusson Grossman, is intended for broiling and baking at the table, on the patio, or in the kitchen. Round half-spheres can be moved in either direction to open or close the oven. Cooking would be by fast radiant heat. Devices such as this point the way to new informality in the home.

This looks suspiciously like the hi-fi sphere to me ...

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Bacon in a Toaster. Bacon would be prefried, then hermetically sealed in this design for a future aluminum package. One way to heat it for eating would be to drop it in the toaster; another, put in oven or broiler. A major advantage is the elimination of utensils for cooking. Package is opened by turning back the edges. Leftovers are easily preserved by refolding the pouch.

I remember a commercial some years ago for a small novelty pizza you could cook in your toaster. The commercial's tagline was "who wants pizza from their toaster?" (I always thought that was an excellent question.)

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Wash Dishes Ultrasonically. High frequency sound waves energize the water to wash the dishes in this ultrasonic dishwasher. A device called a transducer produces the high frequency sound waves (about 20,000 cycles per minute), pitched so high they cannot be heard by the human ear. Ultrasonic washers are more effective than existing types; they scour without scratching, remove baked-on matter readily, and wash much faster than any type now in general use. The same principle of ultrasonic cleaning will be applied to washing machines within another decade.

Flickr commenter Aaron pointed out: "20,000 cycles per minute, huh? Far from being inaudible, that's just E above middle C (333 Hz). But even 20,000 Hz would be audible to some people, particularly children."