Tales of Future Past v2

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Work: 1972

Future Work

A day at the office in 1972 as seen from 1922. We've got your radio-controlled planes, your radio-controlled ships, radio-powered heaters, radio-powered clock, radio-powered roller skates (roller skates?), and your gigantic and very terrifying power-transmitting radio tower. Do you have a feeling that radio was going to be a big thing in the future?

Take a look at the man's work station. On the right you have a radiophone/television set for talking to the wife and kids. The globe on the right isn't ornamental, it's the future's version of a switchboard/yellow pages. Stick the pin in the globe and hope your hand is steady enough so you get New York instead of Jersey City. To the left is the radio business controller. We use our desktop marvels to make spreadsheets, check Twitter, and download porn. This chap is using his to do everything up to and including unloading a ship by remote control.  How does he manage this feat of science? Apparently courtesy of two very large rheostats.

Whatever happened to those huge open-faced rheostats with the bare copper connectors? Technology just hasn't been the same since they went out of fashion.

From the original description:


In this illustration are shown some of the future wonders of Radio. Several of the ideas are already in use, in an experimental way, and it should not be thought that the entire conception is fantastic.

The illustration shows a business man, let us say, fifty years hence. To the right is a television and automatic radiophone. By means of the plug shown to the right of the machine, the man can plug in any city in the United States he desires ; then, by means of this automatic control board he can select anv number in that city he wishes, merely by consulting his automatic telephone directory. As soon as he has obtained his number, a connection is made automatically and he not only can talk, but he can see the party whom he calls. At the top of the instrument is a loud-talker which projects the voices of the people, while on a ground-glass in front of him the distant party is made visible. This idea is already in use, experimentally.

Directly in front of the man, we see the "radio business control." By means of another television scheme, right in back of the dial, the man, if he chooses to do so, can load and unload a steamer, all by radio telemechanics, or throw a distant switch, or if a storm comes up, look into the interior of his apartment and then, merely by pressing a key, pull down the windows; all of which can be accomplished by radio telemechanics, a science already well known.

His business correspondence comes in entirely by radio. There is a teleradio-typewriter. This electro-magnetic typewriter can be actuated by any one who chooses to do so. For instance, if we wish to write a letter to Jones & Company, Chicago, Illinois, we call up by radio, that station, and tell the operator that we wish to write a letter to the Company. Once the connection is established, the letter is written in New York, let us say, on a typewriter, and automatically sent out through space by radio; letter for letter, word for word being written by the other typewriter in Chicago. The letter when finished falls into a basket. Instead of sending our correspondence by mail we shall then do our letter-writing by radio. There is nothing difficult about this scheme, and as a matter of fact, it can be put into use today, if so desired. We have all the instrumentalities ready.

Going further, we find the Radio Power Distributor Station that sends out power over a radius of 100 miles or more. This radio power may be used for lighting, and other purposes. In front of the bridge we see a number of people who are propelled by Radio Power Roller Skates. On their heads we see curious 3-prong metallic affairs. These collect the radio power from a nearby railing, which, however, is not in view, and which they do not touch. The power is sent through space from the rail to the 3-pronged affair and then is conveyed to the skates, which are operated by small electric motors. The<e roll at the rate of 15 to 20 miles an hour, and there is no visible connection between the wearer and the Radio Power Distributor.

We next see the crewless ships controlled by radio. This has been made possible today. Indeed, several U. S. battleships have already been manoeuvred over a considerable distance by radio. The time will come when we can direct a ship across the ocean without a human being on board. Future freight will be sent in this manner. The ship, every ten minutes, gives its location by radio, so that the land dispatcher will know at any time where the ship is located. Collisions are avoided by a number of instruments into details of which we need not go here, but which have already been perfected. Collision with icebergs also is avoided by thermo-couples which divert the ship away from the iceberg as soon as it enters water which has been cooled below a certain degree.

The radio-controlled airplane works similarly to the radio-controlled ship, and it will be possible to control such airships very readily in the future. As a matter of fact, John Hays Hammond, Jr., in this country, has done this very thing. Radio-controlled airplanes will play a great role in the next war.

It is a mistake to think that radio is only good for the distribution of intelligence.
As the illustration shows, the great uses of radio have not been touched
upon as yet.

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