10 Predictions from the Year 1900 That Exist Today

Predictions for the year 3018, anyone?

Fortune tellers and telepathy have often been treated with very little regard in our modern day society. To be able to see into the future or to know what will happen in the coming days is almost a novelty to say the least. As much as humans may or may not crave a hint of what is to come, not all of our predictions have failed. Take civil engineer John Elfreth Watkins who, in the year 1900, wrote, researched and predicted 29 changes that humanity would make in the 100 years to come (You can read the entire list here) for The Ladies’ Home Journal. While a small handful of them were hilariously wrong, some of them did in fact come true.

1. "Ready-cooked meals will be bought from establishments similar to our bakeries of today."

According to statista.com, the value of US product shipments for frozen specialty foods is worth $19.6 billion dollars, while the sale of frozen food in the US is worth $53.1 billion. Keeping in mind, of course, that our food supply today is also much more exhaustive and extensive than it was 100 years ago.

2. "Physicians will be able to see and diagnose internal organs of a moving, living body by rays of invisible light."

It used to be impossible to know what a human skull looked like without cutting someone open to take a look for ourselves, but the invention of the X-ray, ultrasound, and CAT scan have revolutionized the way we rely on medical advancement.

3. "All hurry traffic will be below or above ground when brought within city limits."

Public transportation was certainly not as heavily depended upon in 1900 compared to today’s day and age. According to prb.org, in 1800, only three percent of the world’s population lived in urban areas, therefore foregoing a need for trains and buses.

4. "Vegetables will be bathed in powerful electric light, serving, like sunlight, to hasten their growth."

Greenhouses have been a popular alternative to natural sunlight since even before our ancestors could predict it; Romans were believed to have experimented with the concept of greenhouses in the early 1400s. The extent of abilities we gain from greenhouses today, of course, are much bigger than any gladiators could try to grow.

5. "Photographs will be telegraphed from any distance."

As if predicting we would create Instagram wasn't accurate here! The slightest hint of the creation of the internet, of course...

6. "Man will see around the world. Persons and things of all kinds will be brought within focus of cameras connected electrically with screens at opposite ends of circuits, thousands of miles at a span."

...then came the internet.

7. "Anyone unable to walk ten miles in a stretch will be considered a weakling."

Obesity in America continues to be a strongly addressed issue, yet even before our time, our ancestors were conscious of the fact that we would be a generation that would figure out how health and the advancement and study of strengthening our bodies would play a role in pushing us even farther up the chain in the animal kingdom. One out of three Americans are overweight, and the number doesn't look good for our future generation either.

8. "There will probably be from 350,000,000 to 500,000,000 people in America."

Ok, so Watkins wasn't exactly spot on with this one, but he sure was close. As of today, there are an average of 325 million Americans living in the USA.

9. "Wireless telephone and telegraph circuits will span the world. A husband in the middle of the Atlantic will be able to converse with his wife sitting in her boudoir in Chicago."

The first cell phone call was made in 1973 when Motorola employee Martin Cooper stood in midtown Manhattan and made a call to the headquarters of Bell Labs in New Jersey. 20 years later, Engineer Neil Papworth sent the first SMS on a cold December in 1992, when he wrote "Merry Christmas" on a computer and sent it to the cellphone of Richard Jarvis, the director of Vodafone.

10. "Coal will not be used for heating or cooking, It will be scarce, but not entirely exhausted."

This particular prediction goes on to explain that electricity generated by running water will be more affordable, and in turn coal will become more expensive. While solar power is now the cheapest form of electricity just about everywhere, up in Canada, 58% of Canadians rely on hydro power for their electric generation.
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10 Predictions from the Year 1900 That Exist Today
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