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19th Century Postcards Predicted the World in the Year 2000

Like many of us today, people living in the 20th century were curious about what the future would hold. French artist Jean-Marc Ct and his colleagues attempted to predict the world in the year 2000, and they did so through playful illustrations. Known as France in the Year 2000, these futuristic pictures were released in four installments–in 1899, 1900, 1901, and 1910–and took the form of cigarette/cigar box inserts and, later, postcards.

While the illustrations were far fetched at the time, the concepts aren’t that far off from today’s reality. Some scenes include advanced technological tools, like when manufacturing clothes, sweeping the floor, and harvesting a farm. Delivering mail and putting out fires was predicted to be done in mid-air. They even have electric roller skates and rolling houses.

The series includes at least 87 cards, which were first produced for the 1900 World Exhibition in Paris. They lacked widespread distribution due to financial constraints, but after many decades came to light again. Science-fiction author Isaac Asimov rediscovered them and published them as a book titled Futuredays: A Nineteenth Century Vision of the Year 2000.

Above: Air Postman

Whale Bus

School

Rolling House

Latest Fashions

Auto Rollers

Intensive Breeding

Correspondence Cinema

Air Firefighters

Barber

Electric Scrubbing

Farmer

In the Year 2000: Wikimedia Commons
via [Faith is Torment]

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met and Manager of My Modern Met Store. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.

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