Did Your Ancestors in 1900 Envision What the Future Might Be Like?

In the Boston Globe, Thomas F. Anderson, in a December 24, 1900 article, described what he thought the next new century – the year 2000 – would be like.

Anderson proposed how different might the life of the man or woman who crosses Boston Common on January 1, 2000, compared with the life of the hundreds who will cross it today in 1900?

He stated things will move much quicker. Such as pneumatic tube mail systems — in which items are placed in capsules and moved from place to place by compressed air. Now true such a small pneumatic tube mail system was used limited in Paris and a few large cities in the United States by 1900. However, it was later seen as mail volume in the 1910s to 1950s increased, the tube mail system could not handle such volume. Now the pneumatic tube systems did work well in offices and stores to sent messages and its. It is still found at bank drive-ins.

Anderson thought the pneumatic tube service would replace the duties of individuals in a household, including servants. Family members could get their mail, ready-made lunches, laundry, morning and evening paper, and even the things he may require from the department store, which it will furnish at the touch of a button any essential solid or liquid that can be named.

Even the Boston Postmaster George A. Hibbard in 1900 was all for the mail being sent via the tube system. He stated; “I have little doubt that the time will come when mail will be sent from the central or branch post office through such tubes directly to the house or office of the citizen who cares to pay for the cost of such service.”

Anderson also stated people would be able to communicate with anyone across the nation. He might have referred to the brand new telephone or yet to be invented radio or television.

He also stated there would be airships so one could travel over the city streets. Plus moving sidewalks. Boston would be quite beautiful in 2000 and there would no longer be any slums. Also, people will live longer and have fewer illnesses. Cleanliness will bring about much-improved health for all citizens. This included no smoking chimneys or dirty streets.

Another future item was that all households, would have hot and cold running water. Plus regulated air inside the house (future heater and air-conditioner).

Anderson was quite optimistic overall.

Photos: 1900-Trenton and Park St., in Boston; 2000 Airships; 2000 sidewalks; 1900 ladies out walking.

Related FamilyTree.com Blogs:

Your Life’s Story

Digital Access in the Future

A Future Letter

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