Milford Barnes was the Head of the Department of Hygiene and Preventive Medicine at the University of Iowa from 1930 to 1952. The annual Milford E. Barnes Award for Academic Excellence in Biostatistics was established in his honor. He made this prediction in 1934. Evidently, he was an optimist.
Predictions from 1928 of how women would be dressing in 1978 and beyond, modeled at the "Dream of Fair Women" charity ball. From the San Antonio Light - May 6, 1928:
"It is taken for granted that the honeymoons of that period will be spent in airplanes, and Mrs. Campbell's outfit is distinctly designed for aviation."
"Miss Faith Celli, of London, wore her conception of what the nun of 1980 will wear. It is immediately recognizable as a convent garb, but shown unmistakably the influence of Reinhardt's "The Miracle," particularly in the tall headgear and collar forming plane formation. Several clergymen who saw the costume pronounced it an ideal one, expressing splendidly the simplicity and seclusion of life in a convent of the future."
"It seems to be the more or less general opinion of the women who participate in the ball that the women of the future will go in less and less for skirts. Mrs. Donald Armstrong Jones appeared in a charming walking suit consisting of loose jacket of soft, clinging material, and breeches marking a complete departure from the present day 'plus-fours.'"
Here's another prediction of yesteryear that never panned out. Found in the Kingsport News - Apr 2, 1959:
J. McLaren Thomson, president of the National Hairdressers Federation, predicts that both men and women will have their hair short by 1999 so that they can wear space helmets. He said women will have a collection of wigs to wear with special dresses for gala occasions.
A headline in the Los Angeles Times, Apr 15, 1923. The author of the article, Ransome Sutton, elaborated:
Hairless, toothless, earless, toeless, head-heavy, all the useless scaffolding removed from the body, all the animal instincts erased from the mind, man will sit in a cushioned chair — a Jovian brain in a simplified body, like a dynamo housed in papier-mache — wielding thunderbolts.
So much concerning the inhabitants of Los Angeles in the year 101,923 AD.
Within the memory of old men, Los Angeles has grown into a city of some 700,000 inhabitants. Barring earthquakes, glaciers, acts of God and the public enemy, it should continue to grow, at an increasing rate, so long as mouths can be fed and the inhabitants housed. For it affords attractions of everlasting value — summery sunshine, health, rare air, good soil, scenery, the mountains in the background and in front the sea. Railroads extending to the eastward like a fan, and ocean routes radiating to the westward. Here, more surely than almost anywhere, continuous growth is insured.
Of course, he failed to foresee how bizarre many of the residents of Los Angeles would have become a mere 90 years later, let alone 100,000 years in the future!
— a horse will excite far more wonder and curiosity in the city than an aeroplane or a dirigible flying over St. Paul's does today
— the drone of great airships, each carrying perhaps many hundreds of passengers, will also probably be heard across both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans
— these new aircraft will require "the protection of pedestrians and householders, possibly by wire netting laid over the housetops and even over the streets."
I'm not sure if he was foreseeing chunks of frozen poop falling from planes (blue ice). If so, his powers of prediction were impressive. But as for the netting, he was incorrect.
— the channel tunnel scheme may be a commonplace of actuality, with train services running every few minutes direct from London to Paris
The trains don't run every few minutes, but he got the general idea right, so I'll give him this.
— London will assuredly find part relief from the congestion between now and 2013 by the extension of her suburbs
— postmarks and stamps may exist only as curiosities
Stamps are gradually on the way out, but they're not gone yet. So I'm judging him incorrect on this.
— a visit to Mars or the moon [may] be practicable in 2013... by harnessing the elusive ether, by electricity, or by some other at present unknown force capable of off-setting gravitation.
Correct! It was actually in 1914, one year after Bowater made his predictions, that Robert Goddard filed his first patent for a liquid-fuel rocket that would make spaceflight possible.
— such awful scourges as cancer and the hidden plague will be as much a memory as plague and the 'black death' are to us today
Not sure what he meant by the 'hidden plague,' but as far as cancer goes, he was unfortunately incorrect.
— he certainly will be a bold man in that year who will venture to say a person is dead beyond hope of resuscitation.
No. Dead is still dead.
Overall he scored 5 out of 9. Not bad. Better than most 100-year forecasts.
Those of you who are familiar with my posts know that I love everything from the mid 20th century. A while ago I started a series of science-fiction Americana drawings, like Norman Rockwell but with robots and aliens. I just set up a website for these pictures, The Saturday Evening Weblog. Right now I have 30 or 40 drawings and will be posting one every day until I run out, and after that I will post them as I draw them (usually a few per week). Anyone who likes retro-futurism or science fiction should check it out.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.