MI Readers Suggest: Amazing Marvels of Tomorrow (Aug, 1955)

MI Readers Suggest: Amazing Marvels of Tomorrow

Here are the 50 Golden Hammer-winning inventions for the world of 2055, selected from the thousands submitted by MI readers.

Illustrated by Gurney Miller IF YOU future-minded MI readers can bear to cast a backward glance (just to the March 1955 issue) you’ll recall a rosy forecast of the year 2055 A.D. entitled Amazing Marvels Of Tomorrow by that joyous prophet O. O. Binder. In connection with that article we announced that 50 Golden Hammers would be given for the 50 best ideas for inventions that would make the world of 2055 even jollier. From the thousands of suggestions that poured in from enthusiastic futurists we have selected the 50 below. Some of these ideas were sent in by as many as 20 different readers. In such cases, when the idea was a winner, we gave the award to the writer of the letter with the earliest postmark.

To all MI readers who sent in suggestions: a million thanks. And may the world of tomorrow be as wonderful as we all hope!

Sound and color cameras that record on tape. Home movies can then be played back on your TV set. B. E. Arnold, Wilmington, Cal.

Instead of doors and walls, force beams cut off vision by bending light rays. To enter a house you merely step through the electronic beam. Larry Hyder, Metolius, Ore.

Protective solution for teeth that permanently prevents decay. R. Sheehan, Manitowoc. Wis.

Small nuclear-powered oxygen extractor that allows frogmen to stay underwater indefinitely. A. J. Gilbert, No. Canton, Ohio.

Radio that picks up voices from the past, lets you tune in on historic speeches. Mrs. Link Jackson, Slaughters, Ky.

For craftsman: an easily worked plastic-metal in strip, sheet and mastic form. An electric light hardens work into tough, seamless unit. Ben Chance, Park Ridge, Ill.

Recording tape that plays back voice and image on receiving machine, to be mailed like letters. Harry Russell, USS Eldorado.

For home decorators, a projector that transfers color photos to walls, can also erase them. Harold Chapin, Athol, Mass.

A thin, waterproof, one-piece garment that is thermostatically controlled, to wear outside roofed-over towns. R. L. Smith, Syracuse, N. Y.

Central Information Bureau that flashes desired information on any subject on a screen after question has been dialed in. PFC Frank Schreiber, U.S. Army, Schweinfurt, Germany.

Fast sleep machine: crawl in and get the equivalent of eight hours’ sack time in minutes. Larry Larson, Branson, Mo.

Chemical stimulant for regrowing lost parts of the body—hands, legs, fingers, etc. Winfield S. Weaver, Delphi, Ind.

For hunters and cops, a paralyzing ray which stuns temporarily. No more fatal gun accidents or cruelly wounded game. Daniel Garcia, Chicago, Ill.

Building and paving material that stores light, glows all night. J. B. Butler, Denver, Colo.

Impulse-induction spectacles for the blind, or for seeing in the dark. Transmits images directly to the brain. Howard Moore, San Diego, Calif.

Ocean floor vacation resort: a Glassteel bubble enclosing an underwater hotel. Laverne Huber, Hamilton, Ont.

Electronic Transporter: person or object to be transported any distance is put in analyzer, converted to electronic pattern and sent via radio beam to preselected integrating receiver, then converted back to original form. O. H. Klinefelter, Glen Ridge, N. J.

Space binoculars that convert earth’s magnetic field into light rays visible to viewer, thus allowing one to see around curvature of earth, underwater, in mines, buildings, etc. A. E. Smithson, San Diego, Calif.

Automatic two-way translator that allows you to converse with anyone while you speak your language and he speaks his. Jason W. Lee, Ashland, Ore.

For mothers, a pocket viewer similar to a tiny TV screen, enabling you to keep an eye on what’s going on at home. Ruth Hazel, N. Randolph, Mass.

Moving road map on your dashboard that shows the exact location of your car as you drive merrily along your way. Thomas Halt, Burley, Idaho.

Electronic money: funds are automatically transferred by pocket radio hook-up to a central bank. Robert Mc-Grane, Chicago, Ill.

Radio device on cars lights up highways coating for a few miles ahead, eliminates glare, allows greater speeds with safety. Michael Miller, Ft. Huachuca, Ariz.

Daily exposure to vitamin ray supplies your exact daily requirements, controls weight by inhibiting or encouraging assimilation. Brian Larkin, Philadelphia, Penna.

All housework done automatically by appliances controlled by timers, working on light beams of various colors.

Ray Bene, South Newport, Ky.

For home bars, automatic drink mixers. Push a button, get your favorite drink mixed just the way you like it, effortlessly, in only a few seconds. Gerard Severynse, Glendale, N. Y.

Thought projector converts human thought into visible image on screen. Invaluable in crime detection, phychiatry. Harold Jackson, Kankakee, Ill.

TV tape that records programs you especially like, plays them back on set. You can record yourself or buy tape recordings. Neil Burnett, Springfield, O.

Degravitation unit that can lift, suspend, transport or lower objects weighing thousands of tons. W. F. Edmondson, Sr., Greenville, S. C.

Hand tool that emits narrow force field, cuts any material to specified depth. Ralph Jones, Leaksville, N. C.

Factories that take in sea water endlessly, retaining and sorting useful matter. Albert Ericson, Detroit, Mich.

For doctors, an electronic diagnostic device that locates pain exactly. Jack Champlin, Seattle, Wash.

Electronic master clocks that control all timepieces in the area, keeping them on time. Lou Tiffany, Napa, Calif.

Ageometer: medical device that brings the life cycle to a halt, kills all harmful organisms, reactivates patient’s body, giving him perfect health, extended life expectancy. W. H. Allen, MD, Tucson, Ariz.

Shopping by TV: you have only to dial the item number; it is billed and shipped to you immediately by underground conveyor tube. John Heffley, Collinsville, Texas.

Automatic cleaning closet for the home; clothes are cleaned and freshened by ultrasonic beams. Daniel Wilshire, Lake Zurich, Ill.

Exterior and interior walls that can be turned to different color and transparency frequencies. Carl Klamut, Bellport, N. Y.

With Teleautovision on your dashboard you can see the road ahead of the cars in front of you; no need to pull out of line for a peek before passing. Henry Roy, Sr., Devon, Conn.

For enjoying home life in peace, an electronic screen that lets in only the sounds that you really want to hear. Scott Pope, Bay City, Mich.

22 comments
  1. HairyFriend says: May 27, 20083:27 am

    Clearly MI readers were all high

  2. Neil Russell says: May 27, 20085:47 am

    I like the glass windowed submarine, but then I was always a nut for the Seaview.
    Seems like the drink dispenser would be more acceptable by mom if the liquor row were higher up out of junior’s reach.
    And I was happy to see it was a Russell that suggested video voice mail! ;)

  3. Blurgle says: May 27, 20087:48 am

    I see dental sealant, Google (central information bureau), video voice mail, the taser (stun gun), electronic banking, Tivo, WWV synchronized clocks, and almost QVC (with the elimination of the conveyer tube). Not bad for 1955.

  4. nlpnt says: May 27, 20088:55 am

    Not so much Tivo as VHS (camcorders and tape)- how soon we forget, but I love it when the blue-sky far-future predictions turn out to be obsolescent before we’re barely more than halfway to the date they had in mind.

    I want to know what happens if you have a hover bed and forcefield walls and the power goes out, or for that matter, how would you prevent spoilage of the piped-in milk.

  5. Eliyahu says: May 27, 20089:29 am

    Some were out in left field, but it’s surprising how many were either spot-on or came fairly close to possibilities. I wonder how many of us would come any closer if we were to proffer fifty-year predictions now?

  6. jayessell says: May 27, 200812:45 pm

    Excellent find Charlie!
    I recognised several from Star Trek and SF literature.
    Who could have predicted videotape would be obsolete by 2008!
    Nice hit on GPS, Webcams and Debit cards.
    Didn’t I read somewhere that cellphones will be used to pay for parking and vending machine purchases?

  7. Max says: May 27, 20081:15 pm

    “Chemical stimulant for regrowing lost parts of the body—hands, legs, fingers, etc.” Looks like we’ll have that one fairly soon:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/…

  8. jayessell says: May 27, 20084:47 pm

    Max…
    Hasn’t that story (severed finger re-grown) been discredited?

    http://www.sciencebased…

    Your main-stream media at work!

  9. nlpnt says: May 27, 20086:10 pm

    “Didn’t I read somewhere that cellphones will be used to pay for parking and vending machine purchases?”

    From what I heard, that one’s in the “already happening in Japan” file.

  10. Rick Auricchio says: May 27, 20087:16 pm

    So what happens when you toss and turn in the hover-bed? Do you roll out of the “beam” and crash to the floor?

    But it would be rather cool to have your alarm clock turn the bed off suddenly.

  11. Benzene says: May 27, 20088:19 pm

    The wipe-off whisker solvent exists too, if you’re up to putting Nair on your face. I wouldn’t.

  12. K!P says: May 28, 20083:06 am

    loads of things are there, amazing :)

  13. KellerMaverick says: May 29, 200812:08 pm

    Ok — one idea for 2058:

    Digitized scents…a device encodes a smell (such as the subject of a Food Network program) and some type of output mechanism relays the smell much like a speaker or display relay sound or video.

    You heard it here first…

  14. JMyint says: May 29, 20085:28 pm

    Just walk down the shaving isle of your local Walgreens and you will find a number of dipilatories formulated for beards.

  15. cks2008 says: June 6, 20089:56 am

    An easily worked plastic-metal in strip, sheet and mastic form, could be fulfilled with Fiberglass and resings beginning to be use in 1955 or earlier.

    A projector that transfers color photos (or just solid colors) to walls could be done today with various technologies. Same with a color changing wall, mentioned later in the article.

    Building and paving material that stores light, glows all night; the technology exists with those solar garden lights.

    Automatic drink mixers (AKA robot bartenders) exist as curiosities or engineering student projects.

  16. Kakaguete says: June 18, 200810:26 am

    It astonishes me that they only predicted technological changes and not the social forms changes.

    Nice blog.

  17. jayessell says: June 18, 20087:09 pm

    Kakaguete…
    What did you expect from Mechanics Illustrated?
    What magazine WOULD predict social change?
    National Geographic? Mad? High Times? Playboy?

    (Charlie, find some of those!)

    The Paleo Future blog had a magazine article that predicted women of the 21st Century would be
    6 foot tall Amazon Supermodels.
    The 1950s movie ‘Project Moonbase’ featured a woman president.

  18. Odon says: July 17, 20089:12 am

    Well cut them some slack. They wanted Americans to embrace the future, not flee from it in terror. Besides, who’d predict that in ten years or so long haired male students would be burning the flag in protest against being drafted into an unpopular war in Indo-China?

  19. jayessell says: July 17, 20089:52 am

    Re #13: And you thought Color Ink Cartridges were expensive!

  20. Pets Adoption >> Adopt a pet to ... says: November 27, 20098:26 am

    [...]one interesting source on this subjectis ,blog.modernmechanix.com,[...]

  21. Dave F. says: January 16, 201012:07 pm

    Just ran across this magazine & article and searched for the guy who sort of predicted the internet/Google. Just wanted to congratulate him on that one! I could not locate Mr Frank Schreiber though.
    That’s how I found this blog. Very interesting how many predictions were right on, and how many were so very far off the mark.
    Dave

  22. Andrew L. Ayers says: May 4, 201010:53 pm

    Re #13: This was actually done by a company in the late 1990s as a product for the dying virtual reality market; it was a device that plugged into a USB port (or maybe a serial port?) and emitted “smells” from various base odorants, which when they mixed together could form more complex smells. It was supposed to be controlled by software on the host computer, anything from a regular web browser, to standalone games, and even VRML (an early markup language for VR, similar to HTML). Custom scent packs were also devised.

    It never really went past the prototyping stage.

    Then there were the “scent playback” machines of the early 2000s that were devised that used scent “discs” and a fan to “play” them back (Renuzit or some other brand)…

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