What kind of homes will your children have twenty years from now? The nation’s electric light and power companies are thinking about them — and getting ready for them.

Part of the answer can be found in the new electric appliances still in the early stages of development.

There will be new ways of heating and cooling homes with the help of electricity. Glareless lighting will come on automatically as darkness falls. There will be electric equipment to kill germs in the air.

Most people will have electric kitchen equipment in units which can be arranged in different ways. They will be able to talk electronically to any room in their homes. They will have color television — several sets. They will need many times as much electricity as you use today.

To supply this extra electricity, the electric companies are making tremendous strides. They’ve doubled the postwar supply of electric power. By 1960, they’ll triple it—with more to come. This is one more reason why there is no real need for new federal government electric power projects.

* Names on request from this magazine

  1. DrewE says: March 21, 201110:03 am

    Interesting ad…I’m living in a house built a year or so before 1973. The predictions here are something of a mixed bag.

    The architecture is rather more traditional than the picture suggests; the outside walls are generally opaque, rather than being all glass. There’s no automatic lights, and indeed only rather ordinary incandescent fixtures. The kitchen layout is rather fixed, though individual appliances can be fairly easily replaced if needed. There’s no intercom system, either.

    On the other hand, the house does have electric heat (with an oil furnace added later at some point), the water heater and stove are electric, and the garage door is opened electrically. Color television sets were and are ubiquitous. (Few if any would work well in direct glare from a picture window, though.)

    I’m a little confused as to why a central control panel was suggested. It hardly seems convenient to have to walk to the end of the hall to turn your room light on or open the window. Distributed controls are better for most everyday tasks.

  2. Jayessell says: March 21, 201111:01 am

    The centralized controls is what we call “smart house” today.
    Some offer a “green mode” where all non-essential lights and
    Appliances are turned off when the house is unoccupied, so the
    Last person out has to select it.
    It’s meant to reduce “vampire power” losses.

    The “light conditioning” exists now, with LED lights on the
    Outside walls of the house so it remains ostentatious in the dark.

  3. Charlene says: March 21, 20114:20 pm

    From what I remember, most people spent a good part of 1973 in their cars, lining up for hours and hours for gas.

    I do love that they stress that the kitchen equipment will be electric. By 1973 gas cooktops had become trendy again, mainly due to improvements in gas regulator technology.

  4. John says: March 21, 20115:12 pm

    Charlene: Did the 1973 oil embargo hit Canada as well?

  5. Toronto says: March 21, 20115:24 pm

    John: Yes, it did, though we were a net exporter then (as now.) The government of the day brought in several ill-received energy plans that basically said Canadians had to pay “world price” for oil and gas.

    Our family bought kerosene based spot heaters and a moped as a “second car.” And we crocheted Afgans (the blankets, not the dogs) because we hadn’t invented Snuggies yet.

    As you may recall, there were a lot of other economic woes going on in the early 1970s besides oil. Ask Gerald Ford.

  6. Charlene says: March 21, 20115:28 pm

    The 1973 crisis arguably had more effect on Canada than on the US, especially in the long term: it almost indirectly destroyed the country.

    The embargo hit Central and Eastern Canada particularly hard in the short term, with the same problems that Americans suffered from – lack of heating fuel, high heating prices, long line-ups at gas stations, etc. Not so much in the West which had (and has) vast resources of fossil fuels and where nearly everyone used (and uses) abundant, cheap, locally-sourced natural gas to heat their homes.

    In fact, the embargo made Alberta, which was previously a have-not province, stinking rich overnight, which eventually led to the implementation of the National Energy Program some years later. That program led to massive Western alienation (nearly breaking up the country, as Alberta only just decided not to hold a sovereignty referendum), which led to the failure of the Meech Lake Accord, which led to the latest Quebec sovereignty referendum that almost broke up the country.

  7. Charlene says: March 21, 20115:31 pm

    Note: I have no dog in the fight, as the Northwest Territories was too remote to care about such things in the 1970s. We didn’t even have TV.

  8. Toronto says: March 21, 20116:38 pm

    Charlene: I’d forgotten how natural gas was somewhat exempted from the pricing issues, as we’d left Alberta by then. In New Brunswick most people used oil and yes, it skyrocketed. Then the government built a nuke plant and allowed “two meter” electric heating in some cases (ie you paid less for heating watts than for cooking or lighting watts.)

    Interesting enough, Albert County NB has natural gas and some people heated with unprocessed gas coming right out of the ground. That’s been shut down in recent years due to the “health issue” (as in the company that has the rights to the natural gas pipeline said it was unhealthy to their bottom line…)

  9. Kosher Ham says: March 21, 20118:01 pm

    In southern California you can find many examples of this “googie” architecture; in many aspects in certain neighborhoods it’s still in the vogue.

    Ah yes, the gas lines…. the problem there was that the prices were artificially low; once we eliminated those controls, we had a stable motor vehicle fuel source; this also partially neutralized the effects of OPEC.

  10. Toronto says: March 21, 20118:18 pm

    Kosher – it’s not Googie unless it has some “swoop” to it, in my book. And preferable with a large flashy sign with the letters “o-rama” on it.

  11. DouglasUrantia says: March 21, 20119:41 pm

    The Odd-Even license numbers fueling policy of 1979 worked well for California. I never had to wait more time than I do now for gas.

  12. John Savard says: March 21, 201110:01 pm

    The Canadian government brought in an ill-received energy plan that restricted the ability of Alberta to export its oil to the United States, which led to the eastern provinces not getting oil because there were no pipelines from Western Canada to them – they bought oil more cheaply from the Middle East, which was now cut off.

    Also, the National Energy Plan restricted Alberta’s government from charging higher royalties to the oil companies, meaning that they didn’t pay the people of Alberta the world price for the oil they obtained there, but kept the windfall profits. (Canada’s constitution makes natural resources the property of the provinces, but the NEP restricted what Alberta could do with its property.)

    The world price for oil, of course, is the going rate. While a province owning oil might want that oil available to its own people for less, people living in Ontario and Quebec don’t vote in Alberta elections. And a made-in-Canada price for oil, as if the oil embargo never happened, would have been unsustainable. Even so, something could have likely been worked out to allow a gradual change, had the Trudeau government chosen compromise and negotiation instead of confrontation.

    This, of course, compared badly to Trudeau’s refusal to use disallowance against Quebec’s Bill 22, which violated the basic human rights of English-speaking residents of Quebec (those which would be familiar to Americans under the First and Fourteenth Amendments) such as denying immigrants to Canada who settled in Quebec the ability to choose to send their children to English-language schools instead of French-language schools.

  13. John Savard says: March 21, 201110:05 pm

    If my first paragraph was unclear: if Western Canada could have exported oil to the United States, then the United States would have also cooperated in exporting a lesser quantity oil to Ontario and Quebec. Given the strategic importance of oil, for Canada not to be highly cooperative with the United States in ensuring the availability of oil while the Cold War was raging was a black mark against Canada’s reputation as a democratic nation committed to liberty and a partner in NATO.

    But then, Trudeau was on record as admiring the Red Chinese leader Mao Tse-Tung.

  14. John Savard says: March 21, 201110:08 pm

    Also, if you’re wondering why there are Canadian troops in Afghanistan, but not Iraq:

    During both World War I and II, there were riots in Quebec over the imposition of conscription – popular sentiment there just didn’t regard those wars as quite as important as it did elsewhere in Canada.

    The invasion of Iraq took place just days before a provincial election in Quebec. At the time, the separatists were governing Quebec, but the polls indicated that the non-separatist Liberal party was likely to win.

    Obviously, we couldn’t spoil that… and so we sat Iraq out to help keep our country in one piece.

  15. Hirudinea says: March 21, 201110:45 pm


    Probably in some damn hippie commune! 🙂

  16. Eliyahu says: March 23, 20112:33 pm

    I love the last paragraph… “To supply this extra electricity, the electric companies are making tremendous strides. They’ve doubled the postwar supply of electric power. By 1960, they’ll triple it—with more to come. This is one more reason why there is no real need for new federal government electric power projects.”
    Why, yes, electricity is now so plentiful and cheap that there couldn’t possibly be any need for federal power projects… And it’s so nice to know that we’ll never have to deal with brownouts or rolling blackouts due to excessive demand for electricity.

  17. John says: March 23, 20112:44 pm

    Eliyahu: Gotta love that 20/20 hindsight extending back 58 years. I’ll bet the Noble Peace Prize Committee from 2009 is wondering where they went wrong. Boy, they were so smug too.

  18. Yoda says: April 25, 20118:34 pm

    Where’s the Gremlin?

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