We are always buying postcards and photos from before 1950 - email us at circa1910@tampabay.rr.com.




Sunday, September 12, 2010

INTO the FUTURE from 1910

Since the early 1900s was such a period of innovation and technological marvels, postcard artists naturally envisioned what our high-tech future might be like.  Some wonderful fantasy designs incorporate what was already being developed plus flights of fancy to create the images shown in this post.  The first postcard, above, is captioned Orange, Mass. in the Future and was apparently quite popular as this card is not difficult to find.

The gasoline engine revolutionized travel and automobiles, buses and trucks, plus fantastical vehicles crowd the streets of the imagined future, while the skies are filled with hot air balloons, dirigibles and tramways.

Bicycles are still popular, and some bicyclists have taken to the air, peddling their way through the sky above the buildings.


Buses and trolleys crowd the street above, with the caption Pittsfield in the Near Future.  Looks like just about everyone can afford a motorbike in this utopian age of travel, although a few folks still drive along in fancy automobiles or on regular human-powered bicycles.  A second set of trolley cars are suspended above the street, and we wonder if the artist got this idea from the train cars suspended from the enormous Ferris Wheel (the first) at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago.  This postcard was postmarked from Pittsfield Massachusetts in 1907.

The artist, Syllikuss, envisions fresh-air travel on a large combination airplane and dirigible equipped with a "Saloon Deck" and a "Refreshment Bar"...although it may have been a bit overcrowded, it was obviously a fun ride.  This postcard was mailed in the U.K. in 1910.

Maintaining the tradition of Massachusetts as the center of the future United States, here is a harder-to-find postcard showing the Bunker Hill Monument,  Boston in the Future.  The scale, as in all these images, is completely unrealistic, with a hodge-podge of images large and small all coming together on the background.  This jumble is part of the charm of futuristic postcards, where wacky artwork created a light-hearted view of familiar places at the turn of the next century. 

The image of Meredith,
New Hampshire in the Future adds a man with outstretched arms and huge feathery wings 
flying above the trees, and a long railroad track with a locomotive in the sky.  A couple smooches in a hot-air balloon labeled Rendez-Vous, and a double-decker bus lurches along, tipping to one side, as we have already seen it in the future postcard above, from Orange Massachusetts.  Since these future images were really clip-art montages, it isn't unusual to find some elements appearing in  more than one design.  

A French postcard tries to capture what Tourisme en l'an 2000 will be like in the postcard  below.  This airplane flight looks much more fun and relaxing than actual air travel turned out to be.  And they had lots of legroom, plus ample space for suitcases and carry-ons.
 

We are adding a couple of our favorite fantasies in this category - who knew what might be possible?  It seems only logical that automobiles would fly (think Jetsons) and umbrellas might take us airborne, too.  Here is a car full of tourists above City Hall, San Francisco and The Whole Family Sends Greetings from the beautiful City by the Bay with even baby along for the ride.

Price Estimates:  Prices for fantasy future postcards vary from about $15 - $35 depending on rarity and condition.  Of course, not all fantasies focus on the future, and we will soon have a post that highlights other types of fantasies you may also enjoy.  Remember, these estimates are for cards in excellent condition, and they are only estimates.

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