Sunday, March 22, 2009

The past is before us, the future behind us


I love old Popular Mechanics/Mechanix Illustrated-style magazines. They combine practicality with visions of the future. Most of what was predicted before, during and directly after World War II hasn't come true in the shape that was envisioned. Our future was even richer and more different than could be dreamed of nearly 70 years ago. There is optimism in this 1941 issue with the strange-looking cover (see below), but also a sense of war jitters.

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Luckily for Americans, the reach of our enemies' air power did not extend into our country during the war. But 20 years later Americans were building bomb shelters to survive the threat of Soviet ICBMs with nuclear warheads. Like that would work.







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Wow, a super highway! That idea had legs, in a manner of speaking.

Honey, when the emergency is over, you can always wear your fireproof air raid suit to the Ku Klux Klan meeting.


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Work on the development of television stopped during World War II, as the nation re-tooled for defense. But when I see the story about these early TV nerds, I will no longer take my HDTV for granted. These are the guys, way back in those longago days, who started down the path to get us where we are today. I don't know whether to thank them or kick their butts.






Where can I buy one of these weird, cool suits?

Years ahead of its time, a prehistoric Smart Car.

1 comment:

oeconomist.com said...

Averting death from the atomic war that never came, but dying of asbestosis a few decades later.