Live Jetsons-style in the home of tomorrow! Ideas for retro-futuristic space-age inventions (1958-1961)

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Vintage futuristic homes - Electronic home library Feb 1 1959 (2)
Imagine getting paid to envision the future — in ways that were inventive, optimistic, fanciful, logical, silly or surreal, depending on the week? Throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s, that is exactly what commercial artist and futurist Arthur Radebaugh got to do. His illustrations were syndicated nationwide, and appeared alongside the comic strips of the Sunday newspapers every week.

Smithsonian magazine called him “one of the great forgotten techno-utopian artists of the mid-20th century.” Some of his ideas were fantastically spot-on predictions (including the prevalence of microwave ovens and a “television recorder”), others seem amusingly outdated, while a few are ideas we still might see one day.

Radebaugh knew that many of his futuristic ideas in the “Googie” space-age style seemed far-fetched, but that didn’t dampen his enthusiasm for humanity’s great creative potential. Most of all, America’s scientific advances since the start of World War II clearly gave him hope.

“Impossible, you say?” he wrote of one suggested anti-gravity invention. “So was atomic control twenty years ago.”


Tomorrow’s worldwide television will bring you bullfights from Spain, exploration from Africa, and vacation reports from Tahiti — and in giant size, wall-to-wall if you wish.

Picture-thin screens will be made of tiny “electroluminescent” crystals, a brand-new development in electronics. They will replace the phosphor screen and electron gun of today’s thick TV tube.

Vintage futuristic homes - Wall to wall television Mar 23 1958


There’ll be no servant problem in your home of the future. Instead, employ a robot — to cook, set the table, clear it off, wash the dishes and put them away.

A firm of industrial designers. Sundberg Ferar Inc. has already projected an idea for such a “mechanical maid.” A self-propelled serving cart would move linen, glasses. china and silver to the table. After dinner. it would wash them and store them away.

Meanwhile, Westinghouse is researching a device to take food automatically from storage and cook it on a preset schedule. All milady would have to do is preset her menu and table arrangements each morning.

Vintage futuristic homes - A robot housemaid Sep 13 1959


Kitchens of tomorrow will practically run themselves. The housewife will simply press buttons in a console bank, and gadgets will do the rest. She may even be able to ride around on a swing boom, as depicted here, and inspect supplies and operations.

Kelvinator already has plans for an electronic range like the one shown. Here cooking is done by high-speed microwave in an oven whose mirror panel door becomes transparent when an inner light is switched on. Ultrasonics will wash the dishes.

Westinghouse, too, has an idea for automatic handling of meals from storage rack to oven. You will select the menu in advance, press the proper controls. and the food will move at the. exact time from freezer or shelves to a precisely pre-heated range or oven. And for the benefit of those with gourmet tastes, we are assured that aromas and flavors will be just as zesty as ever!

Vintage futuristic homes - Automatic kitchens technology Dec 7 1958

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Tomorrow’s television will be three-dimensional! Hugo Gernsback, famed inventor, predicts that improved receivers will provide images that seem to be projected well in front of the picture tube, almost as if there were little flesh-and-blood people out there.

What’s more, the illusion of reality will be enhanced by the emission of real-life odors. In fact, a method for televising any smell such as roses, perfume, steaming coffee, etc. — has already been demonstrated by research workers.

The illustration shows one possible application of the “pop-out” technique. Ceiling television sets might provide continuous three-dimensional entertainment for hospital patients. Needless to say, all such reception will be in full color, which — according to New York color designer Howard Ketcham — can provide “cheer and relaxation” that will benefit convalescents, just as the traditional drab gray might have the reverse effect of depressing the spirits.

Vintage futuristic homes - Pop out TV programs invention Dec 21 1958


Classroom automation may foreshadow an end to schoolhouses. Lessons would be televised to students “going to school” at home. where their work would be done and transmitted to a control center for correction and grading.

Dr. Donald E. P. Smith of the University of Michigan believes teaching machines will appear in all classrooms before long. A typical one projects questions in one panel, then, after an answer is written in a second panel, the right solution appears in still a third. Such machines are now intended for classrooms, but the application of similar principles to educational TV would make schoolhouses a thing of the past.

Vintage futuristic homes - home classroom future Dec 18 1960


Today’s television receivers may one day be replaced by devices that will “tickle” the brain, breaking right through to man’s inner consciousness. At least that’s what electronics trailblazer Hugo Gernsback believes.

Brain tissue conducts electricity. What would be more logical then, asks Gernsback, than the development of a “super-ceptor” whose impulses would create images directly in the mind, like dreams, instead of lighting up a television screen?

And three UCLA scientists have suggested that with the introduction of such a receiver. everyone in the family would be able to tune in his individual program — with eyes open or closed — whichever he prefers!

Vintage futuristic homes - Headphone TV listening brain invention Nov 27 1960


Researchers in scientific laboratories are trying to develop devices to overcome the pull of gravity. Success in this field could revolutionize the world.

Look what it might do for the home. Factory-made houses equipped with antigravity machinery could be floated above the ground — to catch the breezes! Impossible, you say? So was atomic control twenty years ago.

Vintage futuristic homes - Gravity in reverse Jun 29 1958


Look Ma — no kitchen! Be prepared for the day when cooking will be done right at the table, practically in an instant, using electronically-generated heat waves.

Microwave cooking is already being tested in big industrial cafeterias. A raw potato is baked in three minutes, and pre-cooked food warmed in less than fifteen seconds.

So, for the future, you’ll buy all kinds of pre-cooked foods at the grocery, maybe store them in compartments right inside the dining table, “bring them up for a look” when the family sits down, then select the menu on the spot and cook it in a trice. The old saw about “slaving over a hot stove all day” will be as obsolete as the dodo bird.

Vintage futuristic homes - Future kitchen instant cookers Jun 18 1961

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Vintage futuristic homes - Future combination bathroom lounge May 18 1958


Some unusual inventions for home entertainment and education will be yours in the future, such as the “television recorder” that RCA’s David Sarnoff described recently.

With this device, when a worthwhile program comes over the air while you are away from home, or even while you’re watching it, you’ll be able to preserve both the picture and sound on tape for replaying at any time. Westinghouse’s Gwilym Price expects such tapes to reproduce shows in three dimensions and color on screens as shallow as a picture.

Another push-button development will be projection of microfilm books on the ceiling or wall in large type. To increase their impact on students, an electronic voice may accompany the visual passages.

Vintage futuristic homes - Electronic home library Feb 1 1959 (1)


Vintage futuristic homes - traveling homes Dec 13 1959


A completely automatic solar-powered lawn mower is already in the advanced research stage. Moto-Mower engineers figure on controlling it with a roll of perforated tape, like a business machine computer, and powering it with stored-up sunrays.

When grass reaches cutting height, an electric eye will impel the mower to trundle out of its storage box, follow a precise cutting pattern, adjust to moisture and obstacles, dispose of grass clippings, return to storage, and finally, shut itself off.

The mower will be easily adjustable so that it can dispense fertilizer or plow snow.

Vintage futuristic homes - Backyard solar lawnmower inventions Jun 28 1959


Vintage futuristic homes - TV beam bouncer satellite invention March 12 1961

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Don’t be surprised if many of tomorrow’s homes are built on turntables. They would slowly pivot all day long to receive maximum benefit from health-giving sun rays and ensure heat in winter.

This warm and colorful year-round design is adapted from an Alcoa summer house, which has been studied and admired by architects. It would be built, together with a patio, over a service and garage area.

Ground and living level would connect through a glass-enclosed staircase. Two-way glare could bring the outside view to those on the inside, while protecting the latter from inquisitive passersby.

Vintage futuristic homes - Follow the sun architecture May 3 1959

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