Tomorrow's world, today. Towering wind turbines and solar panels generate endless supplies of clean green energy, robots glide around gleaming industrial plants while rockets take man into space. This astonishingly accurate vision of a modern, mechanised society was made almost 75 years ago. In 1933, Glasgow tobacco firm Stephen Mitchell & Son commissioned a futurologist to produce his vision of how the world would look in the next century.The results were turned into a series of cigarette cards which no doubt provoked howls of derision from sceptical smokers in bars and workplaces. Decades later, the completeseries of 50 lavishly illustrated cards has been republished and they are being hailed for their incredible foresight. The black and white images from the era of the Great Depression predicted a host of present-day realities including space travel, the Channel tunnel, "wireless telephones" and renewable energy.Idrisyn Oliver Evans, a science buff and biographer of French visionary Jules Verne, put together the images and captions, which were compiled under the title of the World of Tomorrow. The first sentence of the first card in the series is definitely prophetic in a month when Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing global warming to the attention of millions. The card, which predicts the widespread use of solar power, states: "Coal mines and oil wells will not last forever.
We shall have to gain the energy weneed, not from fuel, but from the inexhaustible forces of nature. Among these is the heat of the sunshine."
Another features an illustration of a wind turbine, not dissimilar to the dozens sprouting up across the country.
It declares: "Wind is a possible source of energy as yet completely untapped."
Another accurate prediction was the creation of the Channel tunnel, which did not open until 1994.
The card reads: "Railway
tunnels could pass below stretches of sea like the Straits of Dover,
linking England with the Continent. In such a tunnel stream-lined
electric trains could travel at high speed."
A space shuttle-like
vehicle is depicted on another card which predicts the birth of space
travel and states: "Ships returning to earth would probably dropin......
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