Weve looked at a lot of the ways in which advertisers have positioned themselves as being in touch with the future. The futures been used to advertiseappliance stores,power companies,airlines,phone companies,aluminum,TVs,beerandrefrigerators,refrigerators,refrigerators; pretty much any consumer product or service you can think of.
By associating their brand with cutting edge design andglamour,advertisers are afforded the leniency of fantasy and fluff while still maintaining some level of respectability. The future is a perfect foil for conservative brands — even something as boring as an insurance company — to project fanciful ideas rooted in the long-term thinking expected of them.
The advertisement below is for the insurance company Michigan Mutual Liability and appeared in the September 12, 1962Record-Eagle(Traverse City, MI). It predicts everything from picnics on Mars to oddly shaped money in 2012, significant for the insurance company as its centennial year.
HAVE A HAPPY TRIP! By 2012 AD, Mars may make a nice site for a family picnic, via your space craft, with a few stops for refreshments at space platforms along the way. Earths Moon may be the site of our suburbs. Our Sun with an absolute surface temperature of 6000 degrees, is apt to be too warm for a pleasure trip. But Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury and Venus may be more hospitable, and there are of course, trillions of other planets and suns beyond our Solar System to tempt the space traveler.
This month marks our 50th birthday. While its fun to look back on our past half century, we think its even more interesting to look ahead to our next one. And heres what we plan for the year 2012:
Whether autos are traveling on space beams to other planets, operating beneath oceans, on compressed air, or are radar controlled… we plan to be far ahead in anticipating our policyholders insurance needs as we have been in the past. (For instance, we started providing auto insurance when horse drawn vehicles were still a relative commonplace. We pioneered in offering motorists discounts that grow larger each accident and claim free year. More recently, we introduced a pay-as-you-drive plan that lets motorists spread costs on a monthly basis.)
Entire communities may be enclosed beneath huge plastic domes providing community-wide air-conditioning in 2012. Or they may float in space… or be underground. Wherever they are, we plan to provide our homeowner policyholders with the greatest amount of financial protection practical, against personal liability, property damage, casualty losses… just as we do now. (We pioneered in combining four major homeowner insurance needs in a single package. And Now — you can pay for your Homeowners Insurance, with us, on a monthly basis.)
The shape of money may change, but well pass on all savings, all economies, to our policyholders in the year 2012… just as we do today. (Michigan Mutual Liability Company, you see, is owned by its policyholders — operated for their benefit, so theyre entitled to the most complete insurance its practical to provide… at the lowest cost consistent with sound management.)
We plan to continue our growth pattern, too… having already become one of the ten largest companies of our kind since we pioneered with Workmens Compensation Insurance back in 1912.
Secure your future… Insure with Michigan Mutual
This painting by Leslie Carr, based on a drawing by R.A. Smith, appears in the 1951 bookThe Exploration of SpacebyArthur C. Clarke. Eighteen years before Man would set foot on the moon, the image depicts a Martian colony of the future, similar to those which would show up later in the 1957 Disneyland TV episode,Mars and Beyond.
The 1982 bookFact or Fantasy (World of Tomorrow)by Neil Ardley contains the two-page spread below which illustrates domed cities of the future. The domes are necessary to protect humanity from the savage cold yet to come.
What is our planet going to be like in the future? From the way in which the Earth moves around the Sun, we have some ideas of the kind of weather that both we and our descendants are going to suffer or enjoy.It seems that the rest of their century; in general, summers will be less warm and winters more severe. Meteorologists expect the next century to be mostly cold, but the weather should improve in about 150 years time!
Closer Than We Think! Polar City (1959)
Communities May Be Weatherized (Edwardsville Intelligencer, 1952)
Postcards Show the Year 2000 (circa 1900)
The January 25, 1959 Chicago Tribune ran this picture of the Polar City of the Future as a part of the
As Alaska joins the union, more rapid development of the vast open spaces of that new state can be expected. Experts are already studying the problems involved in creating the population centers that will be necessary for tapping the hidden-wealth of the area and building the defense outposts that may be required.
One possibility would be to construct arctic cities under great domes of transparent plastic or glass, where springlike temperatures could be maintained. Such domes are already in use at the Glasgow Central Station in Scotland and at a big downtown plaza in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
How would isolated polar cities, ringed by icebergs and mountains, be supplied? Our armed forces have a solution – the dirigible. Recently, the Navy told how its blimp ZPG-2 successfully flew food and other supplies to an ice island team of scientists only 500 miles from the North Pole.See also:Closer Than We Think! (1958-1963)Closer Than We Think! Monoline Express (1961)Closer Than We Think! Lunar Mailbag (1960)
The image above is an American version of theGerman postcardsfrom the late 19th and early 20th century. The postcard was found in the bookOut of Time: Designs for the Twentieth-Century Future. The text on the left reads, Compliments of Maher and Crosh Cutlery Co. while the text on the right reads, Toledo, Ohio.
The image below is the German version of the postcard.
Postcards Show the Year 2000 (circa 1900)Colliers Illustrated Future of 2001 (1901)Predictions of a 14-Year-Old (Milwaukee Excelsior, 1901)The Next Hundred Years (Milwaukee Herold und Seebote, 1901)What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years (Ladies Home Journal, 1900)
The Edwardsville Intelligencer (Edwardsville, Illinois) ran an article on December 15, 1952 outlining a vision of weather-controlled communities of the future.
Weather-conditioned communities in the future are perfectly feasible, according to a professor of architecture.
Ambrose M. Richardson of the University of Illinois announced that his graduate architecture students already areworking on a model of plastic pillows, helium-filled and joined to make a mile-high floating dome.
Next spring Richardson intends to try the idea with a small dome covering about an acre of land.
He said the next step may be covering 10 or 15 acre areas such as football stadiums and baseball parks.Larger domes – made of thousands of transparent pillows each only a few feet square – covering whole communities would be only a step away.
Postcards Show the Year 2000 (circa 1900)
Hubert H. Humphreys Year 2000 (1967)
Paleo-Future reader Tom T. sent me an amazing collection of postcards from the dawn of the twentieth century that depict what life would be like in the year 2000. According to Tom the postcards were originally featuredherebut have since been removed. The site claimed that the postcards were produced by Hildebrands (a leading German chocolate company of the time).
Combined Ship and Railway Locomotive
Colliers Illustrated Future of 2001 (1901)
Predictions of a 14-Year-Old (Milwaukee Excelsior, 1901)
The Next Hundred Years (Milwaukee Herold und Seebote, 1901)
What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years (Ladies Home Journal, 1900)
Amphibian Monorail (Popular Science, 1934)