Every now and again, we all come across an article, shared post or even a pointed meme style post on social media that reveals that certain historical figures were able to predict future technology. They may not have known exactly what they were predicting but have still managed to describe future tech in surprising detail and accuracy.
Amazingly, there have been certain historical figures that have predicted the smartphone, security cameras and maybe even the motor home. They may seem like everyday tech at the moment but when they were first imagined, they were well beyond anything that existed. Technology history and the predictions surrounding it can be quite fascinating. Its incredible to think that these gadgets that are now central to our lives were once nothing more than the ravings of people who were likely considered to be partially mad.
The machines of all kinds have been described in technology history well before they were close to existing. For more than a century, there have been guesses about what future tech would involve. In fact, in 1900, there was an entire event focused specifically on trying to guess what would be available to us at the turn of the millennium. Chocolate factory Theodor Hildebrand & Son launched a campaign that year called Germany in the year 2000.
That campaign saw the spotlight that year at the famed Paris Worlds Fair. The chocolate factory shared 12 postcards designed to be predictions of the type of technology Germany would have available at the start of the 21st century. The postcards contained beautiful and detailed illustrations of everything from a kind of personal flying machines to a locomotive-ship hybrid.
The combined ship and railway locomotive card showed that in the year 1900, some people believed that a vehicle would be created that would allow people and goods to travel across the water and then connect with a track and cross the land without ever having to be unloaded.
Another idea that was shared was the moving house. This allowed houses to be shipped via train so that people could move from one place to the next without changing homes. It somewhat calls to mind the concept of todays mobile and modular homes. Not a bad guess at all!
The personal flying machines were rather rough depictions. They were the type of homemade-looking wings youd expect a young child to create for his or her first science fair. However, just because the images didnt live up to reality, it doesnt mean that the concept didnt make it. While there are ultra-light aircraft and gliders in todays world, were also already edging on flying cars, with prototypes already in existence.
One device that seems quite ridiculous and yet still on the nose was the Police X-Ray Surveillance Machine. The drawing suggests that a police officer could set up the machine on a tripod and sit there, staring through a wall to catch criminals in the act. That may never have come to pass, but it does make you think about all the security devices currently available. On a basic level, security cameras could somewhat fill this category. However, there are also heat and infrared sensors as well as many other surveillance technologies that will essentially allow military and law enforcement personnel to see through walls and find out what people are doing on the other side.
But what about the technology we rely upon today? What mobile devices like smartphones? There have actually been several predictions pointing to mobile talking device.
However, one of the most fun came from Nikola Tesla, himself, and why not give this creative technology genius a bit of credit in this area? Recently, a quote from Tesla was discovered that indicated that by 1926, he was already predicting a communication device that was so simple that the average person would be able to bring it with them in a vest pocket. As though we needed another reason to think Tesla was completely awesome, there it is.