It’s a Wonderful World – Tomorrow!
The Same Science That Has Put Satellites into Outer Space is Working to Make Your Home Out of This World. Here’s a Preview of What’s on the Horizon
By Joan O’Sullivan, New York Mirror Magazine Home Editor
New York Mirror Magazine, May 25, 1958
IT MAY NOT BE PLAUSIBLE but anything’s possible in the world of tomorrow. Your most extravagant daydreams will come true because the same science that rockets Sputniks into orbit is conjuring up a multitude of modern miracles that are strictly down to earth, designed to make everyday living easier.
The progress possible in the closing years of our century isn’t nearly so remote as the moon—and man expects to reach that satellite, go on to other planets, within the next few decades.
The Atomic Age is coming home but to houses that will be far different from any we now know.
Some will be plastic and vinyl rubber. A model, made by U.S. Rubber, resembles an igloo. You’ll buy them deflated, then hunt for a foundation over which to inflate them.
When a job transfer occurs, you’ll be able to deflate the house, fold it into a neat parcel and move it to Pittsfield, Plattsburgh or Kalamazoo.
Other dwellings will be constructed of new lighter, stronger steel, now being researched at laboratories of such companies as Sharon Steel. It will revolutionize architecture, give houses new shapes—triangular, semi-spherical, globular.
You won’t run down to the cellar or up to the attic. Both will be eliminated. New storage areas will be found in extra rooms, cheaply available because homes for the average-income family will be mass-produced prefabs. You’ll be able to put up a house in a day, two at most, which is far less time than it now takes merely to find a vacant apartment in the rent-bracket you can afford.
Furnaces? They’ll be outmoded. Solar heating units will keep the new homestead snug and comfy during the Winter. If the sunshine supply runs out, an auxiliary heat pump will go to work during the exceptional spells of snowy, rainy, cloudy weather. Come season, go season, solar heat and air conditioning will maintain an even indoor temperature of 72 degrees and 50 percent humidity. In Phoenix, Ariz., a completely solar-heated house has just been built, architectural proof of what’s to come.
There will be no need for Pop to snow-shovel the driveway in the year 2000. There won’t be one. The family car by then will have given way to a helicopter, which will land on a plastic roof (it will never leak!) automatically heated to shed snow as it falls.
Transportation, which will definitely include atom-powered boats and planes so rapid you’ll be able to commute daily from Paris to a New York office, will likely produces a space-scooter, a sort of second family car. Mom will use it to scoot after groceries or deliver the kids to school. Pop might hop into it and take off for work.
Such transportation is a long way off but within the next few years will come a local travel change. Helicopter commuting will be as common as bus or train trips. New York Airways even now picks up a few commuters from Stamford and Westchester and delivers them to a heliport on the Hudson River at West 30th St. The company expect to enlarge up this service greatly with a fleet of two-motor ‘copters that seat 15. By 1970 and probably even before that, there’ll be numerous commuter runs daily. Intra-city service, such as New York to Philadelphia, will be scheduled soon, too.
Just a Hint of What’s to Come
The interior of the modern house will be heavenly form a homemaker’s viewpoint.
Much furniture will be built-in—the trend is already underway—a boon to apartment-dwellers for whom moving day will be reduced to packing a suitcase and a few odds-and-ends furnishings.
John Van Koert, well-known designer, sees quick color changes possible because walls will be replaced by sliding panels. Sick of one color backdrop? Pull out another.
There will be no special-purpose rooms, says Van Koert, as we know them. Instead, uniformity of decoration through the house will be thin. Bedrooms and dining rooms will be decorated to look like living rooms. When wall panels are pushed back, the entire house will be furnished suitably to make one huge living area, if such is required for large-scale entertaining.
Many current decorating problems will vanish.
You won’t have to wonder about where to put the television, for example. Its working parts will be so small and so flat, says RCA’s David Sarnoff Research Center, the TV will be installed in a picture frame and hung on a wall.
Lamp wires will be non-existent—and lamps may well be, too. Westinghouse has already developed a method of coating glass, metal and plastic with phosphor which produces light. In the future, it’s expected that this process will be used for window shades, drapes, table tops, even ceilings and walls. They’ll all light up, lamp style.
Housekeeping will be a breeze-literally. You’ll wave a wand and dust will vanish. According to Westinghouse experts, the wand will be electrostatic. Like a magnet, it will draw dust from under beds, behind books and form all the remote crevices and corners where it hides out nowadays, stubbornly resisting the efforts of the homemaker’s dust mop or vacuum.
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