The house of the future… in 1956

This is a follow on of an article I wrote earlier this year.

The article mentions houses coming in prefabricated sections, something which is becoming a growing trend. However it goes on to say that “inside walls probably will be movable”, and room sizes will be modified using a push-button control. Clearly this never eventuated, but there is a growing trend to design adaptable homes, some with walls which can be moved. There is also mention of a plastic house, being developed by MIT – the Monsanto House, which was made of fibreglass and resided at Disneyland from 1957-1967.


Interior climate control? We have that, I mean it isn’t perfect, even though certain “intelligent” thermostats claim to make life more comfortable for us. Solar heating systems for water have become common, but more so in regions that aren’t that cold in the winter. The article states that “smaller homes will combine living room, dining area and kitchen area in one space”, what we now call open concept, and certainly a reality, although the idea of smaller homes was a prediction that was way off. In 1950 the average size of a new single-family home in the US was 983 sq. ft. By 1990 it had ballooned to 2,080 sq. ft., and by 2010 somewhere near 2,400 sq. ft.


What about technology inside the home?

  • “3-D color TV wall panel”REALITY. What became a reality with flat-screen displays is now going further with ultra-thin technology such as LG, who have shown the potential of peel-able TV’s as thin as a DVD.
  • phono-vision device” – REALITY. Although the technology has morphed into devices such as “iPads”, which can be used anywhere. Dedicated home systems? Sooooo passe. 3-D TV’s? That technology came, and went.
  • microwave ovens” – REALITY. The technology made its residential debut in 1955. It only took 60 years to make it actually work the way we want it to (the Breville the Quick Touch actually melts chocolate properly). Microwave stoves as alluded to in the picture above? Not likely.
  • frozen food units” –  FICTION. Thank heavens. Whilst we do have frozen food (unfortunately), the idea of specialized units that store these meals never eventuated. Oh, well maybe they did – it’s called the FREEZER. Although thankfully they don’t have a “thawing” or a “heating” chamber to deliver “piping hot” meals. Can you imagine a hybrid freezer/microwave?
  • wall-mounted dishwasher” – FICTION. Why would anyone want this wall mounted? This was suppose to “scrape dishes” and “flush away garbage” – dishwashers have of course evolved, but most of use are lucky if we get clean dishes.
  • ultrasonic laundry” – REALITY. The idea of using ultrasound to wash clothes has finally come into fruition. There are larger systems, but one of the more interesting ones is Dolfi, a portable ultrasonic washing system due to be released this August. However the article mentions that the system of the future will also dry and iron the clothes. Combination washer-dryer systems exist, but one that irons the clothes as well?
  • push button refrigerator” – KIND-OF. Our refrigerators do “pop out ice cubes, crushed ice, and ice water”, but I don’t think any carbonate water, or thaw and dispense frozen food.
  • air blanket” – FICTION. A blanket of air that keep you warm in winter, cool in summer? Well, I mean climate control does that, and in summer we do run the Dyson fan at night, but a blanket of air? Seems weird.

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