What 19th-Century Germans Thought Life Would Be Like in 2000

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons / Wikimedia Commons

Right around the same time that French postcards were predicting lots of aerial and aquatic activities in the year 2000 as part of the 1900 Paris World's Fair, a German chocolate company decided to get in on the future-telling business with a crafty marketing campaign. For a short time, Theodore Hildebrand and Son chocolate company slipped colorful cards depicting theoretical life in the year 2000 into boxes of their sweets. Altogether, 12 such cards were produced, predicting how a range of activities would get upgraded for the 21st Century.

1. Police with X-Ray

It's unclear from the picture how an x-ray camera of sorts would factor into crime-fighting. With both the legal and moral high ground, couldn't the police apprehend the criminals face-to-face? Weigh in below if you can make sense of it.

2. Flying Machines

What's a vision of the future without some personal flying machines? This card features several different options that all look heinously unsafe. Is that little girl even wearing a seat belt?!

3. Movable Houses

Alright, this one is just all wrong. They're still using horse-drawn buggies and steam engines, having focused all the attention and effort of their technological advancements on building portable rowhouses.

4. Airships

More air travel. And fashion stuck in the 1800s.

5. Undersea Ships

Perhaps even more tantalizing than the leisure submarine patrolling the ocean floor are the sea bike, sea surrey, and sea wheeled-recliner above.

6. North Pole Trip

It's true that air travel has made vacationing in remote locations possible and even popular. But I haven't noticed a lot of hot air balloon jaunts to the North Pole showing up on hip destination lists.

7. Water Walk

The genius here isn't the water-wheel unicycle or the shoe-canoes—it's the artistic, elegant, and tech-free individual hot air balloons that keep water-waders upright. Even the horse has one!

8. Ship Railway

So many questions. How is this better than a normal ship? Is it limited to shallow waters? WHY IS IT ON FIRE?!

9. Roofed City

This one seems like a great idea until you remember things like, you know, drought.

10. Theater

Things happening in one place will be able to be captured and viewed in an entirely different location in real time? Yup.

11. Moving Sidewalks

Scattered throughout the airport, these human conveyor belts are a delightful respite that make you feel like you have super-speed compared to the people on still ground. But in crowded cities? Now that just sounds dangerous.

12. Good Weather Machine

Yes. Get on this, scientists.

All images via Wikimedia Commons.