In 1950, Popular Mechanics magazine visited the world of the future, which turned out to be an imaginary suburb called Tottenville, home of a pretend family named the Dobsons. So what was life like for the Dobsons in the year 2000?

  • Housing is cheap! "With all its furnishings, Joe Dobson paid only $5000 for it." But it's not built to last more than 25 years. "Nobody in 2000 sees any sense in building a house that will last a century."
  • Chemicals are good! "Everything about the Dobson house is synthetic in the best chemical sense of the world. When Joe Dobson awakens in the morning he uses a depilatory. No soap or safety razor for him."
  • No more cooking! "A few die-hards still broil a chicken or roast a leg of lamb, but the experts have developed ways of deep-freezing partially baked cuts of meat. Even soup and milk are delivered in the form of frozen bricks." Jane uses the "the electronic industrial stove which came out of World War II" to heat things up.
  • For dessert, there's used napkins and dirty underwear! Statisticians predicted that population increase would lead to starvation, so "sawdust and wood pulp were converted into sugary foods. Discarded paper table 'linen' and rayon underwear are bought by chemical factories to be converted into candy."
  • One word: plastics! "There are no dish-washing machines ... because dishes are thrown away after they have been used once, or rather put into a sink where they are dissolved by superheated water." Housework was a snap once Jane Dobson was done melting the dishes, since all she had to do was turn "the hose on everything. Furniture (upholstery included), rugs, draperies, unscratchable floors—all are made of synthetic fiber or waterproof plastic." A "blast of hot air dries everything."