Predicting the future: did we get it right?

Electric sauté pans that cook food on any surface, replacing hobs, and electric tables that rise from the floor to either coffee or dining level – just some of the 50-year-old predictions for 21st century living that are now being revisited.

Predicting the future: did we get it right?

As the Ideal Home Show celebrates 100 years of innovation with a nationwide search for the best home invention of 2008, archives reveal how experts building the first House of the Future in 1956 sometimes fell wide of the mark in forecasting how we would all be living 50 years into the future.

Amongst their predictions were:

· Gamma rays will kill germs in food, doing away with fridges

· Roofs will be covered with foil to deflect the sun’s rays

· Front doors will all be electric and folding

· Houses will consist of plastic pods joined by passageways

· Showers will dispense both water and hot air

· Baths will be self cleaning

· We will wear nylon clothes and sleep in nylon sheets

· Men’s fashions will be inspired by Superman

Other, more accurate forecasts were the invention of TV remote control, microwave ovens and entry phones.

Maxine Soghmanian of the Ideal Home Show said: “We have a 100-year history of home innovation and have launched countless household products from the first-ever electric kettle (1920) to the largest home plasma screen (2006), but we have to admit some of the predictions in the ’50s were a bit off the mark.”

The show’s hunt for the best original home invention of the year, Innovation Nation, will be voted on by visitors to the show, which runs at Earls Court from this Friday, March 14, to April 6.

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