The retro-modern space-age house: Monsanto’s Home of the Future at Disneyland (’50s & ’60s)

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The retro-modern space-age Monsanto Home of the Future at Disneyland (1)
Long before the Monsanto company was mired in controversy over GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and foods containing genetically engineered (GE) ingredients, the company was known to many as the backers of this futuristic exhibit.

Set in the far-distant year 1986 — this home of the future (more popularly called the house of the future) was a featured attraction at the Disneyland theme park in Southern California from 1957 to 1967.

The retro-modern space-age Monsanto's Home of the Future at Disneyland (1)

Monsanto’s Home of the Future: Plastic house of future built as cross around utility core (1959)

What with flying saucers and soon trips to the moon, it isn’t hard to believe that microwave cooking and ultrasonic dishwashing in a wing-designed house shaped like a cross will also be part of today.

Monsanto’s home of the future in a full-scale structure erected in Disneyland is the homeowner’s dream. And the chemical company believes that it may well be the forerunner of the home which will be standard ten years from now.

Disneyland's plastic Monsanto's Home of the Futuree at night

Instead of metal, wood, and masonry as prime building materials, it shows the limitless potential of plastics in structural applications. The basic construction material is plastic reinforced with fibrous glass.

While there is no present plan for commercial production of the house, the bold ideas and new concepts it expresses are expected to have a strong impact on forward thinking and progressive architects and builders, says the company.

The house consists of a 16-foot square utility core and 8×16-foot U-shaped molded modules. The utility consists of baths, kitchen. laundry and heating facilities. It requires a minimum of excavation and its elevation is easily adapted to site conditions.

1959 floor plan for Monsanto's Home of the Future at Disneyland
Vintage floor plan for Monsanto’s Home of the Future at Disneyland (from 1959) – Living room, parent’s bedroom, boy’s bedroom, girl’s bedroom, family room, kitchen

The modules, with wiring conduits and heating ducts molded in, form walls, roof, and floor of the rooms. In the simplest plan seen in the Disneyland model eight modules measuring 8×16 are cantilevered in pairs from the central core to form four 16-foot square wings.

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Because of the wing design, full day sunlight is available to every part of the house. Inter-room noise is also held at a minimum affording privacy and quiet for varied family activities.

Fifties fun in Disneyland: Scenes from the early days

And for future family expansion, it offers a simple solution: Rooms can be easily and economically added. Various combinations of the design components, including the use of twin cores, make it possible to achieve a variety of floor plans.

But how about the furnishings? Building supply and home equipment industries took a peek, too, into the future and came up with such things as telephones with preset and push-button dialing, “hands-free” speakers and transmitters, and viewing screen to see the person who is calling.

They have come up with modular bathrooms with lavatory, tub, walls and floor molded units. Formed-in-place rigid urethane plastic foam for insulation and structural strength along with flexible urethane foam for cushioning furniture and rugs also are in their home of the future. And for additional clock-around-comfort, they have a climate control center which filters, cools, heats, and scents the air in each room independently.

Monsanto's Home of the Future - vintage Disneyland postcard

Space age: Amazing retro futuristic homes of the ’60s

Disneyland: 15,000,000 visitors later, this home still has a future

Monsanto’s Home of the Future at Disneyland has withstood 15 million visitors, high winds and hot sun … all without signs of distress.

The home is built almost entirely of plastics, either alone or in combination with traditional building materials. Even most furnishings are “chemically tailored”… including fabrics and carpets made with Acrilane fiber.

And that all-plastic home is still in superb shape after 15 million visitors … and seven years later. How’s that for durability?

Another example of how Monsanto moves ahead to serve you.

The retro-modern space-age Monsanto's Home of the Future at Disneyland

More views of the retro-modern space-age Monsanto’s Home of the Future at Disneyland

Disneyland Monsanto's Home of the Future - vintage brochure from 1958


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