The Big Box of Vernacular Letters that I bought last year at a Flea Market is starting to resemble Felix's bag - and today I found a bundle of yellowed newspaper clippings tucked underneath a trove of letters, and decided to unearth them and share them with you here.
Turns out they were all columns from this Minneapolis Tribune science writer Victor Cohn - a series he ran in the paper in 1954 exploring our technological future with that certain optimism and faith that science held the cure to all of societies ills so common to past future visions. They must have made an deep impact on our letter-writing family to have clipped and saved them all those years ago.
With all the recent talk of winning the future, let's see what Our Hopeful Future was meant to be back then.
Amazing developments like Dick Tracy-style mobile wrist phones (still waiting!) were among his predictions of life-easing devices.
Robot workers may not have eased our jobs, but automation and outsourcing certainly cost us a huge swath of our manufacturing jobs in America, a not-so-hopeful present that Cohn's columns did not describe for his baby boom readership.
1999 was about as far as his future vision extended, that Y2K year that almost seems like a distant memory now in our hyper-speed contemporary times.
Hmmm. 1999. Minneapolis. I wonder if a future Purple Prince could have been influenced by Cohn's groundbreaking series?
Cohn was regarded as something of the Dean of newspaper science writers at the time of his demise in 2000, uncannily just one year after the future he had so boldly predicted.
What comes out of the Box next? Stay tuned.