The Future: Are We There Yet?


Now that we’re comfortably settled in the 21st century, we think it’s time to start thinking about the future. No, we don’t mean the year 2025 or 2100. The future we’re referring to is right this minute – the future as it was imagined a little over half a century ago.

You know where this is leading of course: the house of the future! A quaint family pad with, oh let’s see, a push-button microwave chef, hovercraft pad and housecleaning robots. Imagine the listing potential.

Today, for your viewing pleasure, we’ve rounded up three prime examples of the house of the future, brought to you by 1950, 1957 and 1967 respectively. Take a peek and see how they compare to the homes you’re representing today. Some projections were strikingly accurate, others we’re still longing for and still others, well, we’re just happy that things don’t always go as planned.

Popular Mechanics Envisions the Year 2000

popular mechanics home of the futureIn a 1950 article entitled Miracles You’ll See in the Next Fifty Years, Popular Mechanics visited the suburban home of the Dobsons in the “sootless garden city” of Tottenville. Air pollution is a crime, electricity runs almost everything, and houses are only built to last about 25 years. The Dobson house – with its poured plastic floors, central utility hub and weatherproof mass-produced exterior – cost roughly $5000, furniture included.

Everything in the Dobson homestead is conveniently made of synthetics. “When Jane Dobson cleans the house she simply turns the hose on everything.” And their television set? Well, it’s also a video phone and a home shopping resource. Mr. Dobson takes his helicopter to work, of course, but somehow the moon has not yet been circumnavigated.  Sometimes your imagination can take you only so far. To read the full article, click here.

The Monsanto House of the Future

Monsanto House of the FutureThe Monsanto House of the Future was a popular attraction at Disneyland from 1957 to 1967. A collaboration between Monsanto Chemical Company, MIT and Walt Disney Imagineering, the House of the Future offered over 20 million visitors a tour of a family home in the distant future of… 1986.

Another testament to the wonders of plastic, almost everything in this home is man-made. A “cold zone” provides drop down mechanized food storage; there’s one area for refrigerated foods and another for irradiated goods. A speakerphone with buttons (instead of a dial) allows for hands-free conversation in the bathroom and bedroom. Push-button sink vanities adjust to the user’s height. And a glass-topped combination dishwasher/storage area is built right into the kitchen island. Imagine that!

Walter Cronkite Premiers the 21st Century Home

cronkite living room future homeWelcome to 2001. Your comfortable suburban home awaits. Legendary news anchor Walter Cronkite will show you around. Here is your inflatable furniture, there is your 3D big screen TV with light-up orb speakers, and over there is your satellite delivery system for news updates.

In the kitchen, simply program your automatic chef and your meal is microwaved in minutes. Plastic serving dishes are molded on the spot with the push of a button and, when you’re finished eating, melted down again, leftovers and all.

Ready to feel super futuristic? Watch this video of Cronkite giving a tour of the imaginary 21st century home office. We guarantee you’ll feel like a real technology whiz.

Tomorrow we’ll take a peek at today’s predictions for the next decade or so. What are you expecting/hoping to see?



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