At the turn of the century, Jean-Marc Côté and other French artists were eagerly looking forward to what the new century would bring.

The year 2000 was especially interesting to them. They visualized all of the technical advances and innovations humanity would enjoy one hundred years hence. Their imaginings were documented in a set of picture cards, 87 in all, for La Exposition Universelle 1900 in Paris. These wonderful pictures are collectively called En L’An 2000 (“In The Year 2000”).

The artists lived in a world Their ideas ranged from household cleaning powered by electricity to farm animals that could be easily manufactured and crops that could be harvested remotely.

Three years after the artists created these cards, Orville Wright piloted the first rudimentary flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina…


… which makes it especially impressive the artists were already designing combat aircrafts and small planes and Air Firefighters.

The artists liked the idea of flying, but they also thought we should spend more time underwater.

Amusement and grooming would have evolved to meet the demands of the 21st century. A new-fangled barber would be required, amongst other things.

It must be noted, however, that occasionally the artists became a little too imaginative. For the record, Old Spirituals does not recommend chemical dinners or radium fireplaces.


These pictures were primarily created in 1899, 105 years before podcasting became a common way to listen to the news, and 108 years before the first iPhone.

It proves Albert Einstein was right when he said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”

We haven’t gotten around to teaching students through wired devices powered by a crank but somewhere, someone is probably working on it.

In 1890, Clément Ader, aviation pioneer, unveiled his new invention to the world, the steam-powered Éole. It was followed by other flying contraptions, like the Avion III.

Ader with his flying machine

Ader was a brilliant man with a vision – or a nightmare – of what flying humans would look like. And his inspiration came from the bat.

Credit: Popular Science
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As few interesting photos to peruse and enjoy on a Sunday afternoon (or whenever you should take the notion).

Statue of Liberty under construction in France

Jean Harlow, glamorous early starlet. Born in 1911.
This is one of her baby pictures, taken around 1915


Hot air balloon races at the 1900 Paris World Fair. These events took place in Vincennes, in the outskirts of Paris. There was an altitude contest which was won by Mr. Balsan – who reached an altitude of 8,357 meters in his hot air balloon. The same Mr. Balsan became famous for winning a contest involving both distance and duration; it took him 35 hours to reach Russia. Courtesy Library of Congress

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