Yesterday's tomorrows : past visions of the American future

Corn, Joseph J

Publication Details Click to collapse Cite/Export

  • Creator Joseph J. Corn and Brian Horrigan ; edited by Katherine Chambers
  • Format Books
  • Contributors
  • Publication Johns Hopkins paperbacks edition. Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996.
  • Physical Details
    • xvii, 157 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 20 x 26 cm
  • ISBNs 0801853990, 9780801853999
  • OCLC ocm33947576


  • Enormous skyscrapers will house residents and workers who happily go "for weeks" without setting foot on the ground. Streamlined, "hurricane-proof" houses will pivot on their foundations like weather vanes. The family car will turn into an airplane so easily that "a woman can do it in five minutes." Our wars will be fought by robots. And our living room furniture - waterproof, of course - will clean up with a squirt from the garden hose. In Yesterday's Tomorrows Joseph J. Corn and Brian Horrigan explore the future as Americans earlier in this century expected it to happen. Filled with vivid color images and lively text, the book is an eloquent testimony to the confidence - and, at times, the naive faith - Americans have had in science and technology. The future that emerges here, the authors conclude, is one in which technology changes, but society and politics usually do not.
  • The authors draw on a wide variety of sources - popular-science magazines, science fiction, world fair exhibits, films, advertisements, and plans for things only dreamed of. From Jules Verne to the Jetsons, from a 500-passenger flying wing to an anti-aircraft flying buzz-saw, the vision of the future as seen through the eyes of the past demonstrates the play of the American imagination on the canvas of the future.


  • Originally published: New York : Summit Books ; Washington : Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, c1984.
  • Includes bibliographical references (pages 148-149) and index.


  • Finding the future -- The community of tomorrow -- The home of tomorrow -- The transportation of tomorrow -- The weapons and warfare of tomorrow
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