“Ladies' Home Journal” Christmas 1900 Predictions for the Next Century

The December 1900 Christmas edition of The Ladies’ Home Journal ran an article, “What might happen in the next hundred years” [PDF] by John Elfreth Watkins, Jr. The predictions are interesting to re-read from a perspective of 121 years later. Here are the paragraph headings.

  • Five Hundred Million People
  • The American will be Taller by from one to two inches
  • There will be No C, X, or Q in our every-day alphabet
  • Hot and Cold Air from Spigots
  • No Mosquitoes nor Flies
  • Ready-Cooked Meals will be Bought from establishments similar to our bakeries of to-day
  • No Foods will be Exposed
  • Coal will Not be Used for Heating or Cooking
  • There will be No Street Cars in Our Large Cities
  • Photographs will be Telegraphed from any distance
  • Trains One Hundred and Fifty Miles an Hour
  • Automobiles will be Cheaper than Horses are to-day
  • Everybody will Walk Ten Miles
  • To England in Two Days
  • There will be Air-Ships
  • Aerial War-Ships and Forts on Wheels
  • There will be no Wild Animals except in menageries
  • Man will See Around the World
  • Telephones Around the World
  • Grand Opera will be Telephoned to private homes
  • How Children will be Taught
  • Store Purchases by Tube
  • Vegetables Grown by Electricity
  • Oranges will Grow in Philadelphia
  • Strawberries Large as Apples
  • Peas as Large as Beets
  • Black, Blue and Green Roses
  • Few Drugs will be Swallowed

As Yogi Berra said, “It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future” but, in all, not a bad job.


Although that sounds like the WWI “tank”, they appear to characterize the action more like blitzkrieg and later main battle tanks.


Making allowances for new technology superseding old it is actually pretty good, The ones that did not come true were either not really desired (peas as large as beets) or proof people are as lazy today as they ever were (people will walk 10 miles - presumable a day).


Actually I think the walking thing bears examination. I remember telling somebody from India, decades ago, that we spent our weekends doing long bike rides. Just, Y’know, ending up back where we started. They couldn’t imagine doing that for pleasure. And I don’t think 120 years ago people woulda ever thought walking for health and pleasure would become, like, a moral obligation.