what happened to my big beet?

The Ladies Home Journal wasn’t all about hairstyles, recipes and marriage problems in the 1900s. This is an extract from an article written by John Elfreth Watkins Jr: What May Happen in the Next 100 Years:

Prediction #3: Gymnastics will begin in the nursery, where toys and games will be designed to strengthen the muscles. Exercise will be compulsory in the schools. Every school, college and community will have a complete gymnasium. All cities will have public gymnasiums. A man or woman unable to walk ten miles at a stretch will be regarded as a weakling.


Prediction #11: No Mosquitoes nor Flies. Insect screens will be unnecessary. Mosquitoes, house-flies and roaches will have been practically exterminated. Boards of health will have destroyed all mosquito haunts and breeding-grounds, drained all stagnant pools, filled in all swamp-lands, and chemically treated all still-water streams.


Prediction #12: Peas as Large as Beets. Peas and beans will be as large as beets are to-day.


Prediction #14: There will be blue, green and black roses. Roses will be as large as cabbage heads. Violets will grow to the size of orchids. A pansy will be as large in diameter as a sunflower.

Black Rose McGowan

Prediction #16: There will be No C, X or Q in our every-day alphabet. They will be abandoned because unnecessary. Spelling by sound will have been adopted, first by the newspapers. English will be a language of condensed words expressing condensed ideas.


Prediction #17: A university education will be free to every man and woman. Poor students will be given free board, free clothing and free books if ambitious and actually unable to meet their school and college expenses. Medical inspectors regularly visiting the public schools will furnish poor children free eyeglasses, free dentistry and free medical attention of every kind.


Prediction #18: Telephones Around the World. Wireless telephone and telegraph circuits will span the world. A husband in the middle of the Atlantic will be able to converse with his wife sitting in her boudoir in Chicago.


Published in: on November 23, 2010 at 6:55 am  Comments (45)  
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45 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I have some orchids the size of violets. Does this count?

    • Ummm….no, I don’t think so

  2. It is very important to be able to converse from the comfort of one’s own boudoir.

    • Of course. and it’s the best place to have phone sex.

  3. I wish a few more of those predictions had come to pass. Especially the lack of flies and the black Rose McGowan. I’d have loved to live in the utopian world!

    • I’m with you on the flies Scott.

  4. Dear Nursey,

    Here’s a straight question for you – how do you like your sausage in the morning? More to the point, do you eat sausages at all?

    I’m planning to run a series of “Top Bloggers Guest Sausage Reviews” at RMS, would you be interested in taking up the frying pan and the laptop? No limitations or guidelines, or any of that stuff, you would have free rein to write and picture whatever you wish.


    *This is a cut and paste question to save me re-typing many times. Sorry for the lack of originality.

    • I’m not really much of a smallgoods person, but thanks for thinking of me.

  5. the gymnast baby is pretty awesome, but i’m still waiting for my flying car, damn it.

    • Me too. But we’ll be in our dotage before the young ‘uns get theirs 😦

  6. I’m worried about No.16. Unt, litoris……don’t sound half as nice!

    • I don’t know…. litoris kind of rolls off the tongue nicely

  7. I’m waiting for my jetpack, not much hope there.

    Still, the wireless telephones wasn’t a bad guess, maybe in another 900 years Australia will get its NBN.

    The King

    • I’ll C you about that later

      • CHEEKY!!!

  8. You get a big A+ for working in the Rose McGowan pic! That’s genius! Worst interview question: Where do you see yourself in five years? I always know it’s coming and I never have a proper answer.

    • “celebrating the anniversary of you asking me this question” turned up when I googled this question

  9. Surprising how much has come true.

    Then again they were so off on the exercise mentality of the world in this day and age. Back then they didn’t need the gyms because they had to work in the fields and factories.

    • Our gym at school only had a few rubber mats and a vaulting horse I could never manage to clear completely

  10. Prediction #7: There will be air-ships, but they will not successfully compete with surface cars and water vessels for passenger or freight traffic.

    Hmm. No mention about being groped before boarding, either.

  11. Free college? hahahahaha, though i hope it happens in the next 15 years or so, i’ll save a boatload of dosh if it does.

  12. Sadly this world was destroyed by global warming thanks to the greenhouse gases generated by bowling ball sized sprouts

  13. The Three Horsemen of the Spelling Apocalypse (text messages, Twitter and Facebook) are striving to bring about Number 16 as we speak.

  14. I miss the spelling of “to-day.” That just cracks me up.

  15. That communications bit was surprisingly accurate – even to where it would be most used – – –

  16. ThanCQ for the fabulous information. I’m eXstatic.

    About those condensed words and ideas: just add water or a good wine to regurgitate? Say one bottled on interstate 15, around Friday? Red?

  17. Black Rose McGowan frightens me more than the white one

  18. And in the future corsets will be standard issue to women.

    • Codpieces will likewise be issued to men.

  19. Denny’s beat is always an arm’s length away.

    • Denny once told me his beat was a full arm’s length. Is he teasing us?

  20. I wonder why they thought things would grow so much larger in the future?

    • Probably it was a male perspective that things would grow larger in the future.

      Reminds me of Woody Allen’s ‘Sleeper’ – when he wakes up in the future and all the vegetables are huge. My favourite bit in the film comes when he first is reveived from his frozen sleep:

      “Here have a cigarette.”
      “Cigarette? That’ll kill me!”
      “No, no, that was all a mistake, we discovered they’re actually good for you.”

      The King

      • Err, that’s revived!

        Think I need a cigarette.

  21. Oh my god. The black Rose Gowan. Holy mother of unnatural.

  22. i guess they were wrong about the roaches and mosquitoes. still, its pretty impressive.

  23. And I predict that if I ever get a hummer from a nun, I will be revived after the heart attack.

  24. Whatever happened to jet-packs? And robot maids?

  25. No C, X or Q because of newspapers? Sure, blame the media …

  26. “English will be a language of condensed words expressing condensed ideas.”

    r u 4 kdng me?

  27. I’d love for 17 to be true. 18 was spot on.

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