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99 Years Ago: Life in the Year 2000

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5th Sep 2010

This fascinating account of the future was written in 1911 and imagines life in the year 2000. It was recently found by Hub Culture member Liza Morris in DC, and we thought it was well worth sharing.

Excerpts from: In the Year 2000 by Estella Jenny Bennett (Written 1911, Tuckerton, NJ. Found 2010, Liza's Great Grandmother)

"Everything has changed. The whole country seems strangely peculiar.

The mode of transportation is changed to a marked degree. Instead of riding on surface steam cars we travel by the underground electric system, and we who are in better circumstances have eliminated the use of the automobile and take our tours in the flying machine or by air-ships.

It is not an uncommon thing to see hundreds of air-ships gracefully floating in the air. All these have been substituted for automobiles, the same as automobiles were for horses.

Horse racing and auto racing no longer occupy the attention of the sporting public. Air-ships, which have become almost perfected, may be seen in contests all over the country. They travel at terrific speed and can at will be made to move in any direction.

Article Image
The future as seen in the 1950s
Another mode of transportation is by the means of a tube, known as the Great Tube System. This tube is large enough for the body of a man to pass through. Instead of waiting for a train or air-ship, the man is placed in the mouth of the tube and is instantly sent from one city into another. Our country has grown to such an extent that it has been necessary to build these great tubes connecting all the larger cities. By means of this Great Tube System ninety percent of railroad and street car casualties have been done away with.

Wireless telegraphy has been installed in all railroad stations and large business places thus giving the public quick and accurate service. The long expected trolley route now running through this town extends from New York City to Atlantic City.

Factories and brick dwellings now occupy the sites of our once famous frame buildings. Our towns by the shore have been replaced by cities, and all city improvements may be found.

Our government is today the strongest and best of all nations, but without any particular change. Our navy is the strongest and best equipped in the world. It is fifty years since the last battle was fought and it is not likely that another battle will ever be fought between two countries. The whole world has become civilized and all disputes between the different countries are settled by arbitration.

Fifty years have elapsed since both the North and South Poles have been reached and explored. Air-ships serve as a conveyance to these extreme points. The climate at the North Pole has gradually become warmer while that of the South Pole has by degrees become colder.

The manners of the people are like those of several hundred years ago. The people are very hospitable and they treat a poor beggar as well as they do a rich and well bred king. Some of the people hire servants to stand at the turn of every important road and watch for travelers so as to beg them to come and eat a meal and sleep for a night in their house. By these kind acts the people of the twenty-first century show their hospitality. This in turn tends to prolong the life of our natives.

Some of the eating consists of corn and rye bread and light foods and all that is very common. Another mode of eating takes the form of a pill which contains all the nourishment that is needed in the body. It seems very strange to see the family sit down to the table and eat a pill instead of seeing the table loaded down with fruit, food and other eatables. One of these pills is sufficient for the stomach from one meal to another.

All our forests have been hewn down, and great factories and farms occupy all the once timbered land. Farming is done entirely by labor saving machines. The decrease in the cost of living, coupled with the fact that all petty costly practices of men such as the use of tobacco and drinking have been done away with, thus enables the very poor class to secure and maintain a little farm or home.

We notice a great change in the style of dress which also reflects on that of centuries ago. We see no more the enormous merry widow hats worn by women in the past century. The women wear long flowing gowns made either of rich silk or satin. The men wear long pointed shoes and silk stockings. They wear short breeches fastened at the knee with a gold or silver buckle. Their hair is left hanging down their back, tied with a ribbon of gay color. In this century the more simplicity one uses in their attire, the more pronounced is their style.

It is a decided fact that to travel over this great country of ours (the greatest of all countries) in this age would be an education in itself for those of past ages. We have hundreds of new inventions to restore the old, every device for lessening the labors of man, and it is indeed a great country and a great age.

The Stars and Stripes float highest in the air and rank foremost in the eyes of all nations."