Americans love things that sparkle, things that glow, and especially things that blow up. So it makes sense that on America's birthday, we take great pride in our various spectacles of light and noise. Today, there are countless YouTube videos and how-to websites showing how to create your own firecrackers and…
Drunk driving combines two of America’s favorite pastimes: getting absolutely hammered and driving an automobile. But before the invention of the modern breathalyzer in the 1950s, determining if someone was too intoxicated to operate a motor vehicle was incredibly subjective. It took decades for law enforcement…
Yesterday, in 1904, pyschologist B.F. Skinner was born. His contribution to the world? This pigeon-guided missile system, among other things. Yes, really.
The year is 1900 and Georges and Madeleine are trying to get a gig showing off the wonders of life in the year 2000, complete with gadget that we would think of today as retrofuturistic. But it's when they debut their time machine on the stage that things start getting goofy.
These ads made for the Detroit-based Bohn Aluminum and Brass Corporation were largely dreamed up by legendary illustrator Arthur Radebaugh during the 1940s. Radebaugh's utopian visions and Bohn's desire to appear as a forward-looking company combine for a slick retrofuturistic view of transportation.
We love the look of retrofuturistic cities — the clean cut skylines, the beautifully-turned metalwork, the occasionally almost gravity defying twists and turns of the architecture. But what would it really be like to live in one of them? Possibly quite nightmarish, it turns out.
In the first half of the 20th century, artists came up with gorgeous designs for New York City, Columbus, Houston, and other American cities, imagining them as havens of efficient transportation, dense urban living, and space age architecture.
Throughout the 20th-century, we've come up with crazy ideas for reinventing books, ones that make our phone and tablet readers seem almost modest. From books projected onto the ceiling to reading Ferris wheels, here are some of the last century's strangest and most innovative book proposals.
North Korea's architecture is truly fascinating, influenced by the need to rebuild Pyongyang in the wake of the Korean War and the nation's relative isolation. What happens when an architect who has never been outside North Korea designs futuristic buildings to accommodate tourists visiting their country?
In the mid-twentieth century, back when colonizing the solar system seemed imminent, people decided to save money by building homes out of plastic. You can see the results here. Some are mind-bogglingly awesome, and some are just mind-boggling.
Eadweard Muybridge was a Victorian photographer whose work transformed our understanding of the natural world. He was the first to show that horses gallop with all their hooves off the ground — and in this incredible photographic panorama, he reveals San Francisco in its infancy.
What kinds of houses will we build in 100 years? Looking at these illustrations and movies about homes of the future, you realize how much the twentieth century vision of tomorrow differs from the twenty-first century one.
In 1815 the British artist Edward Francis Burney (1760-1848) published a book of drawings called Q.Q. Esq.'s Journey to the Moon. In spite of the less-than-serious nature of the illustrated story, Burney put some thought into his launch system.
Karel Čapek's seminal 1919 play R.U.R. coined the term "robot" and was set 50 years in the future, making it 1969. Chase Masterson of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine stars in R.U.R.: Genesis, set in a flirty 1960s retrofuture where artificials conspire against humans.
In the mid-1950s, Dr. Lyle B. Borst—a physics professor at the University of Utah who had formerly been a reactor designer with the Atomic Energy Commission—and his students in his Physics 280 Nuclear Technology course had a great idea.
Yesterday the folks over at Vox published an article arguing that generations should be defined by the technology they use, rather than by age. They included a graph that purported to show how American society is "adopting new technology more quickly than ever before." The graph is garbage. And here's why.
Artists from the Soviet Union didn't just imagine a worker's Utopia on Earth. They also thought that the great communist experiment would eventually reach other worlds, too. Here are some incredible works of art and conceptual design that put the Soviet Union in space.
In 1979, two artists covered a Southern California building with futuristic murals. They painted moon motorcycles, high-tech highways, and spaceships that would look right at home in Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. But as delightfully retro-futuristic as the building is on the outside, what happens inside may…
Instead of chucking out all those old trunks and suitcases, these designers have turned them into incredible pieces of furniture. We love these weird comfy chairs, desks and drawers that snap closed, and tables made of trunks that once crossed the country on steam trains.