During the first half of the 20th century, futurists looked forward to the threshold of the new millennium and offered their prognostications of what the world of today might look like.
A lot of them were dead wrong.
From the turn of the century up to the 1950s, several misguided predictions stand out.
*In 1902, Harper's Weekly suggested: "The actual building of roads devoted to motor cars is not for the near future, in spite of many rumors to that effect." By 1925, cars were zipping along New York's Bronx River Parkway - the nation's first true highway.
*Amazing Stories magazine suggested in 1946 that future hedonists could while away the time floating across the land in "pleasure bubbles."
*Winston Churchill predicted, among other things, the growing of animal parts for food. "We shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or the wing, by growing these parts separately, under a suitable medium," he wrote in 1932.
*Futurist Herman Kahn predicted human hibernation for months at a time and programmed dreams. For those who woke up, artificial moons would illumine the night.
*The 1939 World's Fair in New York saw teardrop-shaped cars, talking appliances, and living-room sofas that could be cleaned with a squirt of the garden hose.
*Borden's Dairy World of Tomorrow featured cows revolving on a "rotolactor" as they were washed, dried, and mechanically milked.
- Associated Press
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society