Saturday, March 16, 2013

How About These Predictions...?

There have been many folks that tried to predict the future successfully, but most had less than perfect results. That is not surprising at all. What is surprising are the few that made rather accurate predictions of events long before they happened.

One person that made some startling visions of what was to come was a man most haven't heard of. Here are a few of the things he envisioned, and I think you might be surprised!

John Elfreth Watkins, Jr.
Predicted: Television and mobile phones in 1900.

Mr. Watkins was a civil engineer, a railroad man who became a curator at the Smithsonian Institute after suffering a disabling accident. In 1900, he contributed an article to Ladies’ Home Journal titled “What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years”. Within this article, Mr. Watkins made lots of predictions, large and small, for the next century; some of these proved, despite their counter-intuitiveness, to be amazingly accurate. Among the more astonishing predictions—and keep in mind this was over a hundred years ago:

“Man will see around the world. Persons and things of all kinds will be brought within focus of cameras connected electrically with screens at opposite ends of circuits, thousands of miles at a span.” —could apply to satellite television, the Internet, or both.

“There will probably be from 350,000,000 to 500,000,000 people in America.” —most were guessing much higher at the time, as the American population was exploding.

“Ready-cooked meals will be bought from establishment similar to our bakeries of today.” —Freeze-dried and packaged foods, not to mention electric refrigerators, were still far on the horizon.

“Photographs will be telegraphed from any distance. If there be a battle in China a hundred years hence, snapshots of its most striking events will be published in the newspapers an hour later . . . . photographs will reproduce all of nature’s colors.” —digital photography and picture sharing. And perhaps most impressive of all:

“Wireless telephone and telegraph circuits will span the world. A husband in the middle of the Atlantic will be able to converse with his wife sitting in her boudoir in Chicago. We will be able to telephone to China quite as readily as we now talk from New York to Brooklyn.” —nobody on the planet not named Tesla was thinking along these lines, except apparently Mr. Watkins.

Unfortunately, Watkins died before seeing a single one of his predictions come to fruition, in 1903.

If you think about the year that these predictions were made, they do seem a bit uncanny, don't you think?

Another morning for coffee out on the patio, I reckon. I don't mind one little bit!


Sixbears said...

Once in a while a person of clear vision comes along.

Bob from Athens said...

Maybe he was Nostradamus reborn.

Rob said...

I have been watching some older SF (mid 90s to early 2000s) and then I ready your bit of history and I noticed something that was but is missing from today's world. Newspapers.

Sure they exist, heck the gizzillionaire Warren Buffett is buying them up when he can find them but they are nowhere near as prominent as they were.

Dizzy-Dick said...

I bet people of his time thought he was a science fiction writer.

linda m said...

I find mot predictions very uncanny. Weird!! Have a nice weekend.

HermitJim said...

Hey Sixbears...
Funny how that works out, isn't it?

Many thanks for dropping by today!

Hey Bob...
Certainly was easier to understand that ol' Nostradamus, that's for sure!

Thanks for the visit today!

Hey Rob...
You are so right about the newspapers disappearing. Many are switching to all digital.

Less to read when the power goes out!

Thanks for coming by this morning!

Hey Dizzy...
Either that, or they might have just thought he was crazy!

Thanks, buddy, for coming over this morning!

Hey Linda...
Seems to have been on the right track with some of them. Very strange, indeed!

Thanks a lot for coming over today!