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Author Topic: Looking forward 100 years in 1915, what predictions have come true?  (Read 3163 times)
grahame
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« on: December 31, 2019, 12:28:37 pm »

For this year (2019), Lisa has written up the births, marriages and deaths, the life and times of historic Melksham with stories of a hundred year ago (and more and less) in and around the town. Her daily Facebook posts tell of what was going on this day between 70 and 200 years ago. From newspaper headlines "on this day":

Quote
1798 - Shopkeeper Whale is bankrupt
1821 - Mr Beavens malt house is blown down in storm
1840 - Spa Academy opens in former Assembly Room
1881 - Perkins of Longleigh liquidates
1903 - Four men caught poaching at Keevil's Shaw Farm
1904 - Wedding of Park and Waight
1932 - Boundary Problems; drowning accidents
1932 - Losses by death through the year 1932
1949 - The late Mr F Snook

And to finish her year, Today's post picks up an article written 104 years ago, looking forward to what we might have expected in 2015.  Quoting here because in 1915 - as in 2015 - how we get around and indeed the dirt and pollution caused by current methods were very much to the fore:

Quote
The November 25, 1915 edition of Dalkeith Advertiser reported on an article printed in 'Harper's Magazine' written by Mr Alan Sullivan, when he reflected on what the world would be like in 100 years (2015). According to Sullivan, he "sees broad and spotless streets, to which the horse is a stranger, and whose smooth surface is unscarred by the universal pneumatic tyre. Synthetic rubber has arrived. The city traffic is entirely electrical, Trucks and motors speed swiftly, without odour or noise; they are charged with power at the great central station. The air is notably pure and stainless. Coal is not used as fuel; there are no ashes to haul away. Buildings are no longer over-decorated, Line, proportion, and form are the dominating factors. These structures are full of light and air, and heated electrically. It is now many years since a new heating element was discovered many times more efficient than its predecessor.

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"According to Mr Sullivan, there will be portable wireless telephone instruments, and electric trains running at two hundred miles an hour on a single rail. The people them selves will have larger heads and feebler legs and arms. Life will be more colourless and scientific; emotion will be regarded as crude and prehistoric, and the laughter of children more rare.

On this final day of the decade, which of these projections do members feel have come fully true, which partially, and which have been way off the mark.  Which concerns for 1915 are the same as the concerns we have as we head forwards into 2020?
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2019, 09:24:42 pm »


And to finish her year, Today's post picks up an article written 104 years ago, looking forward to what we might have expected in 2015.  Quoting here because in 1915 - as in 2015 - how we get around and indeed the dirt and pollution caused by current methods were very much to the fore:

Quote
The November 25, 1915 edition of Dalkeith Advertiser reported on an article printed in 'Harper's Magazine' written by Mr Alan Sullivan, when he reflected on what the world would be like in 100 years (2015). According to Sullivan, he "sees broad and spotless streets, to which the horse is a stranger, and whose smooth surface is unscarred by the universal pneumatic tyre. Synthetic rubber has arrived. The city traffic is entirely electrical, Trucks and motors speed swiftly, without odour or noise; they are charged with power at the great central station. The air is notably pure and stainless. Coal is not used as fuel; there are no ashes to haul away. Buildings are no longer over-decorated, Line, proportion, and form are the dominating factors. These structures are full of light and air, and heated electrically. It is now many years since a new heating element was discovered many times more efficient than its predecessor.

Quote
"According to Mr Sullivan, there will be portable wireless telephone instruments, and electric trains running at two hundred miles an hour on a single rail. The people them selves will have larger heads and feebler legs and arms. Life will be more colourless and scientific; emotion will be regarded as crude and prehistoric, and the laughter of children more rare.

On this final day of the decade, which of these projections do members feel have come fully true, which partially, and which have been way off the mark.  Which concerns for 1915 are the same as the concerns we have as we head forwards into 2020?


One of the advantages of making predictions 100 years into the future is that the predictor can guarantee not to be around to take the criticism when the date finally arrives Wink  We must also take into account that, as we have discussed on another thread just lately, the past is a foreign country where they do things differently.

All that said, he is fairly spot on with many of them, but we have to see them in the light of how a 1915 observer would see them:

..."broad and spotless streets, to which the horse is a stranger" in 1915 the streets woul have been covered by that stuff that falls out of the back of horses. Those days have generally gone so in his terms that prediction had come true. There were no plastic sweet wrappers, plastic cups and, to an extent, fag ends in his day (many smokers used pipes, and the butts of untipped cigarettes are completely biodegradable and will vanish after a spot ot two of rain

..."and whose smooth surface is unscarred by the universal pneumatic tyre. Synthetic rubber has arrived." True again by 1915 standards. Most vehicles with tyres used solid tyres, and they could make an absolute mess of road surfaces, especially when on heavy wagons.

..."The city traffic is entirely electrical, Trucks and motors speed swiftly, without odour or noise; they are charged with power at the great central station." Electricity was already being used on the strees for trams and he presumably envisaged an evolution of that technology, although the sentence is a little anbiguous because he doesn't say how it would be delivered. Is he thinking that battery technology will do it? If so we are getting there. If he saw all these vehicles running on the same principle as trams or trolleybuses then that, of course, didn't catch on.

In addition, of course, he didn't foresee the vast increases in personal travel by car that started shortly after the prediction was made, nor realistically could he.

..."The air is notably pure and stainless." In 1915 terms he is correct. To them, pollution was what they could see (or perhaps not see through), and what they could smell. Older readers may recall going past North Somerset Junction on a summer's evening and experiencing the honk of the bone yard/ glue factory that was thereabouts at the time . Things like that have gone, to be replaced by pollution we can's necessarily see.

..."Coal is not used as fuel; there are no ashes to haul away. Buildings are no longer over-decorated, Line, proportion, and form are the dominating factors. These structures are full of light and air, and heated electrically. " All by and large correct, although there are of course mixed views over modern architecture (as, in truth, there always have been)

..."there will be portable wireless telephone instruments" - yup

..."and electric trains running at two hundred miles an hour on a single rail." Well it could be done, and systems such as MAGLEV are in use in other parts of the world. But the problem with monorails is that the necessary train design means that each line has to be either totally self-contained, or expensive to engineer and operate with points and junctions.

...The people them selves will have larger heads and feebler legs and arms. Life will be more colourless and scientific; emotion will be regarded as crude and prehistoric, and the laughter of children more rare." - Well we've finally found the digo's kidneys - he should have stopped while he was ahead...

People's bonces are much the same size as they ever were, although the feebler arms and legs suggestion may be partially true as fewer people are involved in strenuous physical work, and people walk nowehere near as much as they did back then. The emotions prediction has turned out to be pure nonsense.

And the laughter of children is now rare? Well he might just have a point - they spend most of their time with their noses in their phones and Ipads or whatever, their parents won't let the little darlings out to play either because the Mail and the Express have convinced them there's a paedopile around every corner...

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« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2019, 09:59:57 pm »


...People's bonces are much the same size as they ever were ...

A short article in the Daily Telegraph of December 6 mentioned that the replicas of original helmets proved too small for the actors' heads in Steven Spielberg's new film of the Great War, "1917". Larger copies had to be made.

(Other observations of "1917" - and of the recent "Dunkirk" film -  is that the actors' teeth were in far better shape than they would have been at the time of the events.)

Marlburian
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grahame
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« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2019, 10:16:04 pm »


Quote
...The people them selves will have larger heads and feebler legs and arms. Life will be more colourless and scientific; emotion will be regarded as crude and prehistoric, and the laughter of children more rare." - Well we've finally found the digo's kidneys - he should have stopped while he was ahead...

People's bonces are much the same size as they ever were, although the feebler arms and legs suggestion may be partially true as fewer people are involved in strenuous physical work, and people walk nowehere near as much as they did back then. The emotions prediction has turned out to be pure nonsense.

And the laughter of children is now rare? Well he might just have a point - they spend most of their time with their noses in their phones and Ipads or whatever, their parents won't let the little darlings out to play either because the Mail and the Express have convinced them there's a paedopile around every corner...

I don't think he was very far out ... we're a far heavier race.  Wrong nationality, wrong Tim period, wrong set of dimensions but from VeryWellFit

Quote
In terms of height and weight trends, the average height of a man in the United States increased by a mere one inch in the 42 years between 1960 and 2002. However, within that same stretch of time, the average weight of an American male leaped from around 166 pounds to 191 pounds.

We are indeed proportionately weaker on our legs - more weight to carry on the same (or perhaps less fit) legs and more seat space needed ... it's the body not the head that's got bigger.

And the sound of children playing has indeed gone ... as has the men coming off work and going down the social with the sound of laugher and relaxation. Home now to take go online in this complex world, or to take over care of the kids while partner goes out to her job.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2020, 10:25:03 am »

I imagine our skulls are much the same size as always, but we've put on a bit of fat around them, even if not to the same extent as elsewhere.
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2020, 08:12:08 pm »

I imagine our skulls are much the same size as always, but we've put on a bit of fat around them, even if not to the same extent as elsewhere.

After I was pulled up over my rather dismissive final original paragraph I went away to think about it.

It is certainly trie that largely as a result of better nutrition the population teds to be rather larger these days, and even I can tell it. As a 1952 model at 5'9" I fet quite tall compared to older people when I was 40 years younger. I feel like something of a midget compared to many younger people today Grin

Logic would suggest that if the population has got larger in general, a similar situation could apply to bonce size. Indeed, up in my attic I have a top hat owned by a great grandfather who was a coachman - it never fitted me and the kids could only get their heads in it until they were about 8
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stuving
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« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2020, 11:38:50 pm »

I'd not heard before of head size having increased, but what I do find described is a small positive correlation between head size and height. I guess that's what is behind this; bigger skeletons have bigger skulls.

What I did read many years ago was as short report of some research done in New Zealand on sheep. Two flocks were kept in sheds under artificial light, in one matching the day length outside and in the other similar to the day length we give ourselves. The sheep with a longer day were awake and active for longer, but both flocks had the same food supplied. The longer day led to taller sheep, and for a sheep that means longer legs.

Ever since I've wondered whether the general introduction of the electric light, starting here in the 1920s, was a major factor in the increase of human height. The timing does match the data. Looking for suitable data sets online I didn't find any that attempted to unpick the major factors, not just average diet (quantity and quality) but the effect of class/wealth on the distribution of that. The key question is: how has the height of the best-fed in society varied - and how much of the average trend is due to that, and how much to the worse-fed catching up. If there is a "sparks effect" it would be one of the few things that could have affected that best-fed group.
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CyclingSid
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« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2020, 07:04:17 am »

It doesn't always seem that larger heads are related to the size of the contents, but that probably hasn't changed.
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