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Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

What French People in 1900 Thought Life Would Be Like in 2000

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

These images, which were drawn by Jean-Marc Côté and other French artists, originally appeared on paper cards enclosed in cigarette/cigar boxes and, later, as postcards. They were first produced in 1899 for the 1900 World Exhibition in Paris, with additional cards being released in 1900, 1901 and 1910. There are 87 known scenes, but here are some of the more striking. In addition to a range of tedious activities going automatic, the biggest theme seems to be an anticipation that we will tire of earthly pursuits and take to the sea and sky.

1. At School

Unfortunately for modern students, the prediction of a school where learning is simply wired into one's brain never came to be. Fortunately, this means they've avoided having to wear headpieces that look like Princess Leia wigs.

2. The New-Fangled Barber

The French anticipated we'd have a lot of trust in our modern machines, even when it comes to using sharp objects awfully close to the jugular.

3. Aero-Cab Station

Although the cars would become airborne, the fashions, apparently, would stay pretty much stuck in the late 19th century.

4. Aerial Firemen

I think it was Icarus who had something to say on the matter of flying close to an open flame.

5. In Pursuit of a Smuggler

And if the firemen get wings, of course the police do as well. And here's another one, where police attempt to apprehend airborne criminals with a nightstick.

6. An Aerial Battle

They were right in thinking warfare would also go skyward; however, a battleship based on a balloon would be a major liability these days.

7. A Torpedo Plane

They were only slightly ahead of their time in anticipating that aerial attacks would allow for bombardment.

8. Hunting by Air

We really haven't made as much progress on the individual-flying-apparatus front as was anticipated.

8. The Little Eagle-Nest Robbers

Even children were expected to make recreational use of wings. But the French of the early 1900s failed to predict that parents would become more protective and probably frown on activities like antagonizing an oversized bird.

9. Correspondence Cinema

The actual mechanisms look a little more modern, but this one is pretty spot-on as far as the sentiment of audio-visual communication.

10. Air Ship

We ended up going a different route when it came to air travel, but boats suspended with giant balloons are certainly charming.

11. Madame at Her Toilette

Mornings are rough. I could see a market for this.

12. A Very Busy Farmer

The interesting thing to note here is that the mechanical devices are all electric, and thus attached to the power lines.

13. Electric Scrubbing

But still dressing like a classic French maid.

14. Auto Rollers

Which, judging by the poor fellow in the blue sweater, are trickier than they look.

15. A Whale-Bus

The postcards anticipated we'd spend a lot more time submerged in the ocean than we actually do these days. And that we'd have domesticated whales.

16. A Race in the Pacific

But where would you be going in your whale-bus? To watch the underwater eel (right?) races, of course!

17. A Croquet Party

Or perhaps to play a game of underwater croquet, which of course would remain empirically popular a century later.

18. Divers on Horseback

Giant seahorseback, that is! Vintage swords will be making a comeback any day now, I'm sure.

19. Fishing For Seagulls

In this imagined future, we spend so much time underwater even fishing gets reversed.

20. A Monster of the Abyss

But it's not all fun and games in the year 2000—apparently there will be a rise in sea monster attacks.

All photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

9.32.paper cards enclosed in cigarette/cigar boxes and, later, as postcards - See more at: http://publicdomainreview.org/collections/france-in-the-year-2000-1899-1910/#sthash.OrhQuIIZ.dpuf

paper cards enclosed in cigarette/cigar boxes and, later, as postcards - See more at: http://publicdomainreview.org/collections/france-in-the-year-2000-1899-1910/#sthash.OrhQuIIZ.dpuf
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History
The Secret World War II History Hidden in London's Fences

In South London, the remains of the UK’s World War II history are visible in an unlikely place—one that you might pass by regularly and never take a second look at. In a significant number of housing estates, the fences around the perimeter are actually upcycled medical stretchers from the war, as the design podcast 99% Invisible reports.

During the Blitz of 1940 and 1941, the UK’s Air Raid Precautions department worked to protect civilians from the bombings. The organization built 60,000 steel stretchers to carry injured people during attacks. The metal structures were designed to be easy to disinfect in case of a gas attack, but that design ended up making them perfect for reuse after the war.

Many London housing developments at the time had to remove their fences so that the metal could be used in the war effort, and once the war was over, they were looking to replace them. The London County Council came up with a solution that would benefit everyone: They repurposed the excess stretchers that the city no longer needed into residential railings.

You can tell a stretcher railing from a regular fence because of the curves in the poles at the top and bottom of the fence. They’re hand-holds, designed to make it easier to carry it.

Unfortunately, decades of being exposed to the elements have left some of these historic artifacts in poor shape, and some housing estates have removed them due to high levels of degradation. The Stretcher Railing Society is currently working to preserve these heritage pieces of London infrastructure.

As of right now, though, there are plenty of stretchers you can still find on the streets. If you're in the London area, this handy Google map shows where you can find the historic fencing.

[h/t 99% Invisible]

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holidays
Custom-Design the Ugly Christmas Sweater of Your Dreams (or Nightmares)
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For those of you aspiring to be the worst dressed person at your family's holiday dinner, UglyChristmasSweater.com sells—you guessed it—ugly Christmas sweaters to seasonal revelers possessing a sense of irony. But the Michigan-based online retailer has elevated kitsch to new heights by offering a create-your-own-sweater tool on its website.

Simply visit the site's homepage, and click on the Sweater Customizer link. There, you'll be provided with a basic sweater template, which you can decorate with festive snowflakes, reindeer, and other designs in five different colors. If you're feeling really creative, you can even upload photos, logos, hand-drawn pictures, and/or text. After you approve and purchase a mock-up of the final design, you can purchase the final result (prices start at under $70). But you'd better act quickly: due to high demand, orders will take about two weeks plus shipping time to arrive.

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