It’s crazy to think both how short and infinitely long a century is. You see, Motorola’s DynaTAC, the first cell phone, was launched in 1984 for a price of $3,995. And today, nobody can imagine their life without touch-screen mobiles with integrated Leica cameras and AI face recognition systems that come at much less than Motorola’s initial price.

So imagine how differently people back then perceived the advancements in technology that looked both incredible and life-changing. And they were. But technology, and the world we live in, escalates so quickly that it surpasses our best forecasts for what the future holds.

And this time, we are talking a look at retro-futuristic examples created in the previous century that give us a glimpse into weird and wonderful dreams of the human mind.

#1

An Artists Depiction Of The Future, Painted In 1930

An Artists Depiction Of The Future, Painted In 1930

kt0me Report

Linus Nilsson
Community Member
3 months ago

Spot on!

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#2

A Fifties Navigation System. Don't Know Who Imagined This But I Love It!

A Fifties Navigation System. Don't Know Who Imagined This But I Love It!

GiantNormalDwarf Report

Eduard Korhonen
Community Member
3 months ago

Actually, it's a ln image someone created in 2013 https://www.designcrowd.com/design/8798738

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To find out more about the weird and wonderful retrofuturism movement, Bored Panda reached out to Lisa Yaszek, a Regents Professor of Science Fiction Studies at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Lisa explained that when we talk about retrofuturist objects and images, we usually refer to images of the past from the late 1800s through the space race, like many of the images collected here. “And when we look at these images, it becomes clear that people from the past actually had expectations of the future that were often quite like our own!”

#3

1940s Vision Of Food Delivery Future

1940s Vision Of Food Delivery Future

abdouhlili Report

Sum Guy
Community Member
3 months ago

This is actually cool. when you order something, as the truck moves to your house, they are also preparing the food. It gets to you as soon as it's plated. AMAZING

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According to Lisa, “they seem to have been particularly good at extrapolating from all the exciting new communications technologies of the time—telephones, radios, film, and TV—to imagine a range of new communications technologies much like we have now that allow us to talk to anyone from anywhere (#1 and 11), navigate our cars with ease (#2), get breaking news on our screens (#5), and even shop from home (#18 is shockingly on the mark).”

#4

We Really Messed Up

We Really Messed Up

The_qp_god Report

RadiatorAnkleSpider
Community Member
3 months ago

Dude, this would be awesome.

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#5

Television Newspaper - Some Day You May Be Able To Receive The Front Page Of Your Morning Newspaper This Way

Television Newspaper - Some Day You May Be Able To Receive The Front Page Of Your Morning Newspaper This Way

dabderax Report

Sasha Kuleshov
Community Member
3 months ago

Why are you sitting so close to the TV ancient people? :O

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#6

Self Driving Cars Of The Future, Circa 1960

Self Driving Cars Of The Future, Circa 1960

abt137 Report

Norma
Community Member
3 months ago

Even if this were 100% proven safe, it scares the crap out of me!!

Anna Banana
Community Member
3 months ago

Me, too! Imagine spending a 6-hour drive playing dominoes with your family...

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N G
Community Member
3 months ago

Close. Not there yet.

Cecilia E. Szendrőiné
Community Member
2 months ago

oops but soon will be ready

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Sum Guy
Community Member
3 months ago

Another reality

Fixin'Ta
Community Member
3 months ago

Long road trip? Time to bring out the RISK game...

Chloe Bee
Community Member
3 months ago

That better be a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG road trip

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Norah Reilly
Community Member
3 months ago

Katie, just stop.

Ava Lasley
Community Member
2 months ago

I think that it's a bot

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Zoe Vokes
Community Member
3 months ago

Still would make me car sick if I wasn’t looking up and out the front window. Plus, I would rather look at the view than play scrabble.

Biljana Malesevic
Community Member
3 months ago

Sorry, still not there yet. Roads too dangerous for this technology.

Jumilicious
Community Member
3 months ago

That paperplane though! Like, what's he going to do with it? :D

The Redhead
Community Member
3 months ago

Love how it drives down the center line. Lol

Happiness is Hippo
Community Member
3 months ago

I don’t think it is, I think it’s a kind of track for it to follow, they’re all doing it.

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Johnny
Community Member
3 months ago

As long as they had those lines in the road, this would have been doable with 1960's technology -- electric-eye sensors could see the lines, and radar altimeter technology was also available (but probably size/cost prohibitive for a production car)

Leslie Donsen
Community Member
2 months ago

I remember seeing this as a child. There were supposed to be magnets under the road that propelled you car along it. It was in the magazine Highlights.

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GaeFrog
Community Member
3 months ago

Why is there a steering wheel in the car then ;-;

Something
Community Member
3 months ago

For the same reason most self-driving cars have steering wheels now.

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CharliAnn Olney
Community Member
2 months ago

Uh, wait, didn't I see a guy reading a newspaper while behind the steering wheel "driving" on the freeway just yesterday?

El Dee
Community Member
2 months ago

Still waiting for this. Can't wait to hit the motorway curled up the back seat snoozing til I get there!

WEEB WEEB WEEB WEEB WEEB WEEB
Community Member
2 months ago

ONLY IFF

Katsuki Bakugou (Kacchan)
Community Member
2 months ago

it is another of our kind!

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CRINGY animations
Community Member
2 months ago

Forget seat belts.

Liz the Wanderer
Community Member
3 months ago

We should have figured this one out much earlier!!

Teresa Sophie
Community Member
3 months ago

Love how they thought past the fact of driving a car but not past the fact of a traditional family model... and playing dominos!

(Deleted)
Community Member
3 months ago

Are they playing scrabble?

William Bonner
Community Member
3 months ago

Looks like dominoes.

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Laura Mende
Community Member
2 months ago

Why not using TRAINS AND BUSSES??? Why using your own car if not driving yourself?

Cecilia E. Szendrőiné
Community Member
2 months ago

oooopsss

Jane W.
Community Member
2 months ago

Better looking car concepts then.

Jamie S. Martindale
Community Member
2 months ago

So, in this version of the future, Scrabble allows DIAGONAL plays? Cool!

The Cute Cat
Community Member
2 months ago

Th round glass is very cool..

Edwin Quantrall
Community Member
2 months ago

Not just yet...

Katherine Lake
Community Member
2 months ago

It only took 60+ extra years, but they're here!

Sara Mccracken
Community Member
2 months ago

Amazing how people imagined these things so long ago!

Victor van Dyke
Community Member
2 months ago

That's Elon Musk in the back seat on the right.

shado
Community Member
2 months ago

I see what you did there ... I see what you did there

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Victor van Dyke
Community Member
2 months ago

That's Elon Musk in the bottom right corner.

Mumof1
Community Member
2 months ago

I'd still like to keep my eyes on the road!

Angela
Community Member
2 months ago

Almost there!

Sam T Godfrey
Community Member
2 months ago

Well, the jury's still out on this one... Cars are pretty cool, I'd run right out and get a job in the windshield replacement business!

Linda Robinett
Community Member
2 months ago

Notice that they are depicting the road as having a guidance line in it

Sadie Vincent
Community Member
2 months ago

we kinda have this!

Zena Marsh
Community Member
2 months ago

I would never use one.

alexandra laurita
Community Member
2 months ago

Tesla!

Bobby Sammons
Community Member
2 months ago

Tesla, before tesla.

Terry Armstrong
Community Member
2 months ago

This game of dominos does not take into account the state that the roads are in..

Mishte Tine
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

There are few things I’m more excited about than climate-safe self driving cars.

Karen Grace
Community Member
2 months ago

Loving the tailfins!

YokkaOrYotta
Community Member
2 months ago

well... it is being worked on... just needs a few tweaks

Leonofski
Community Member
2 months ago

I don't know if I like this. It's more dificult to ignore the rest of the people in the car by pretending to be on my phone.

Susan Stead
Community Member
2 months ago

Yeah, no.

Jojo Dancer
Community Member
2 months ago

Throwin' bones on the highway lol

Siah avis
Community Member
3 months ago

Not yet! But we're getting there

No.
Community Member
3 months ago

self-driving cars already exist

John Smith
Community Member
3 months ago

Love it... I hope it can be happen

DancingPig
Community Member
3 months ago

That's still our future 🙂

Devon
Community Member
3 months ago

Tesla!

Nubmaeme
Community Member
3 months ago

I remember seeing this very picture as a kid. (Yeah, I'm an old skunk!) Couldn't imagine that it would really happen. Today, though, I wouldn't trust the self-driving mode in any vehicle, if they're still doing that.

Paradise
Community Member
3 months ago

Yet there is a steering wheel.

Lion's Stare
Community Member
3 months ago

Full on self driving cars will soon be a reality. Just took another 85 years

No Fox Given
Community Member
3 months ago

I stress as it is now let alone this 🤣

Nolan Schekel
Community Member
3 months ago

Sick

R L
Community Member
3 months ago

Tesla has some catching up to do.

Sasha Kuleshov
Community Member
3 months ago

Whoa, why no one is wearing a seat-belt? :O

AndersM
Community Member
3 months ago

Almost there

Znaya
Community Member
3 months ago

Looks more like bumper cars 😀

Bubble Gum Bandit
Community Member
2 months ago

Jesus is LORD. Jesus bless you! He saved my life and soul.

Dreamwolf
Community Member
3 months ago

Wait, but if they are self driving, why are there steering wheels?

2WheelTravlr
Community Member
3 months ago

They always thought that only freeways would be self-driving spaces, local surface streets would still require a human pilot.

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M K Z
Community Member
3 months ago

Stuff of nightmares...

Grant Barke
Community Member
3 months ago

Then it smashes into a police car.

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Moreover, “People of the past were also quite good at anticipating how our clothing and personal presentation might change! Image #1 presents us with the kind of brightly colored, streamlined, unisex uniform first imagined by avant-garde artists and then made popular by science fiction filmmakers in the opening decades of the twentieth century and that are still very much with us today.”

As for image #16, Lisa sees it as an exciting representation of future fashion. “The two models here appear to be wearing then-contemporary undergarments, but other aspects of their styles are very modern! The artist certainly guessed correctly that in the future, we would wear less clothing in public, indulge in more body ornamentation (the man’s tattoos look a lot like the tribal body art that became popular with the Modern Primitive movement in the 1990s), and that gender roles might be less clearly defined.”

#7

2022

2022

NathanHacham Report

River Webb
Community Member
3 months ago

well with covid we are well on our way to doing just that

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#8

'ship's Cat' By Keith Spangle

'ship's Cat' By Keith Spangle

jaykirsch Report

River Webb
Community Member
3 months ago

cats of the future

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#9

The Future Of Phones, 1956

The Future Of Phones, 1956

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Linus Nilsson
Community Member
3 months ago

Not even in the imagined picture is it possible to hold the phone comfortably.

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Having said that, the people of the past were not always very accurate with their predictions about the use of big science and big engineering, said Lisa. “Images #15, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, and 30 are particularly good examples of the utopian dream that someone—possibly the state, possibly a benevolent corporation—will engage in big, public engineering projects that will allow us to live well in the potentially hostile environments we might encounter in the future.”

#10

1970s Futuristic Concept For Jetliner Air Travel

1970s Futuristic Concept For Jetliner Air Travel

bignjbagel Report

Truth Monster
Community Member
3 months ago

Imagine turbulence with that pool.

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#11

James Bond Receives A "Text" Via His Smartwatch In The Spy Who Loved Me

James Bond Receives A "Text" Via His Smartwatch In The Spy Who Loved Me

malakeos Report

Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
3 months ago (edited)

But where would he keep the roll of tape the message is stamped onto?

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#12

1969 Japanese Vision Of The Future Classroom, The Odd Part Is That Included Small Robots To Rap Students On The Head When Misbehaving

1969 Japanese Vision Of The Future Classroom, The Odd Part Is That Included Small Robots To Rap Students On The Head When Misbehaving

abt137 Report

Farid Red
Community Member
3 months ago

Its not for misbehaving, its for punishment for getting wrong answer. Compare each student screen. Cruel.

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According to the professor, people also had surprisingly different ideas about transportation than we do now. “I get the sense that the women in image #1 have flown their personal airplanes to the restaurant for a quick drink, and I love the idea that we might create maglevs for mass transit and then use balloons and mechanized glass domes for personal travel (#4, 7). People were right to guess that we’d have automated cars (#6, 17), but they clearly didn’t anticipate that such cars would be used mostly for corporate purposes.”

“Finally, as a university professor, I am desperately sad that we have not developed robots to rap students on the head when they are misbehaving as in image #10. Someone needs to start working on that immediately,” the professor commented.

#13

VR In 1989

VR In 1989

ashe101ashe Report

Sum Guy
Community Member
3 months ago

Someone keeps saying jesus is lord... I grew up in a christian household but we never forced it down other people's throats. It is annoying

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#14

Artoo Deco

Artoo Deco

firstorbit Report

River Webb
Community Member
3 months ago

Star Wars inspiration

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#15

How Nasa Imagined Life In Space

How Nasa Imagined Life In Space

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Milan Culik
Community Member
3 months ago

So that is where Elysium movie got their inspiration!

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The professor of science fiction studies also noted that it’s important to remember that these futures were not retro to the people who imagined them. “They were modern imaginings of the future, inspired by the cutting-edge sciences and avant-garde arts of the time.”

From the retrofuturist images that were generated between the 1880s and 1960s, “we get a great sense of the sciences and technologies that were most important to people of the past, including new modes of mass and personal transportation, new communication technologies, and new habitats for new forms of living (garden mega-cities and artificial ringworlds),” Lisa explained.

#16

Fashions Of 1950, As Predicted On The Cover Of Life Magazine In 1914

Fashions Of 1950, As Predicted On The Cover Of Life Magazine In 1914

fiizok Report

Meike H
Community Member
3 months ago

Is a couple of decades off, but I could see them at burning man

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#17

1981 Vision Of Suburbia After There's No More Room Left For Suburbs

1981 Vision Of Suburbia After There's No More Room Left For Suburbs

c3534l Report

Elaine Verhagen
Community Member
3 months ago

I love the fact that everyone still has a garden and freestanding house instead of a balcony with no space.

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#18

Home Shopping In The 1940s

Home Shopping In The 1940s

earthmoonsun Report

Hans
Community Member
3 months ago

"Yep, that looks like I don't need it."

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Lisa added that “people were inspired by the rise of modern cities and modern factories to imagine that we would enjoy many large, state- or corporate-sponsored public works projects—and that those projects would combine the best of the natural and technological worlds,” and added: “They are wholeheartedly utopian!”

#19

Futuristic Road Trip With The Family (Bruce Mccall)

Futuristic Road Trip With The Family (Bruce Mccall)

earthmoonsun Report

Linus Nilsson
Community Member
3 months ago

All else aside, is a pizza oven in the car too much to ask for?

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#20

City Of The Future As Imagined In 1908

City Of The Future As Imagined In 1908

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Nea
Community Member
3 months ago

A very Hollywoodish imagination

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#21

The Future We Were Promised

The Future We Were Promised

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Rose the Cook
Community Member
3 months ago

The Hover Car.

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Meanwhile, Lina Survila, a global tech PR and chief editor at Abstract Stylist, also told Bored Panda that “artists had the perfect vision, and it seems they were very close to the ideas we see today.”

Moreover, “Retro futurist aesthetics have touched every possible art form there is. Fashion is no exception. When we think of futurism in fashion and a bright vision of what the future might be, we think of Paco Rabanne. The Spanish fashion designer was active in the '60s and totally disrupted the fashion scene with retrofuturistic designs and his ideas of how people would dress in the future (most likely, that future is now).”

#22

Soviet Vision Of The Future In The 1930s

Soviet Vision Of The Future In The 1930s

TarOfficial Report

Linus Nilsson
Community Member
3 months ago

No, I wont say it... Don't you try forcing me to say it!

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#23

Futuristic Netherlands, Drawn In 1970

Futuristic Netherlands, Drawn In 1970

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Truth Monster
Community Member
3 months ago

Clever use of land.

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#24

1984 Smart Watch

1984 Smart Watch

wooly_mastodon Report

River Webb
Community Member
3 months ago

what a pain to put on

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Retro ideas of how the future would look inspired many creators, artists, and thinkers, “from architect and designer Matti Suuronen (Futuro house created in the 1970s) to writer Isaac Asimov's book The Naked Sun.” Lina added that The Jetsons with their retrofuturistic flying cars also deserve a big shout-out in popularizing the movement’s aesthetics in popular culture.

#25

The 2020 Olympics...not 100% Accurate

The 2020 Olympics...not 100% Accurate

last_of_the_V8s Report

River Webb
Community Member
3 months ago

If only

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#26

Monsanto House Of The Future 1957

Monsanto House Of The Future 1957

graemebo Report

N G
Community Member
3 months ago

Now I know where some of the Grand Designs lot got their inspiration. Anyone else looking for Kevin McCloud in this pic?

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#27

Worst Space Suit Design Ever?

Worst Space Suit Design Ever?

captainmagictrousers Report

Annamagelic
Community Member
3 months ago

One thing I appreciate about this is both individuals are equally underdressed. Too often female characters get a bikini while male characters get practical coverage. But this guy forgot his pants too.

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#28

This Was An Actual Space Suit Grumman Aircraft Corp Tried To Sell Nasa In 1962

This Was An Actual Space Suit Grumman Aircraft Corp Tried To Sell Nasa In 1962

Novusod Report

River Webb
Community Member
3 months ago

it looks like a salt shaker grew arms and legs

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#29

Teen-Agers Of The 21st Century

Teen-Agers Of The 21st Century

joelschlosberg Report

N G
Community Member
3 months ago

Ah, teen-speak. Incomprehensible to the over 40s in the past, present and future!

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#30

Nuke-Proof Underground City Below Manhattan, 1969 (Oscar Newman)

Nuke-Proof Underground City Below Manhattan, 1969 (Oscar Newman)

earthmoonsun Report

Mr Red
Community Member
3 months ago

Or we could get rid of all nukes...

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Note: this post originally had 49 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.