How The Past Envisioned The Future: Artwork That Looked Forward

Vintage paintings and illustrations that explored the future’s possibilities are some of the most imaginative artworks I’ve come across.  Yes, flying cars and hover boards are awesome (a nod to Back to the Future II.)  But turn of the century artists went even further, and explored everything from flying warships to even giant seahorses as a means of transportation.

The possibilities of transportation was just one of the many ideas explored by Industrial-era artists, scholars and authors alike.  The future of design, fashion, work, and household inventions were also addressed in art, adding to their whimsical and almost surreal nature.  It’s not hard to see where Steampunk got a lot of its inspiration, as many late 1800s artists that explored the subject of “future” naturally envisioned a world that still operated on steam power.

Intensive breeding?  There’s a lot of intriguing and awesomely bizarre ideas explored in these turn-of-the-century French prints.  They envisioned what a busy and bustling France would be like in the year 2000.  A lot of ground was covered in these prints;  robotic barber shops, flying cabs, house cleaning, aerial firefighters, agricultural innovations, hunting, mobile homes, and factory operation were all given their own unique futuristic spin.

These dreamy prints debuted as postcards during the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris.  The best part is that they’re all accessible online as public domain images.  These can serve as inspiration for video games, short stories and all types of creative projects.  I also thought it would be cool to blow them up and mount them on the wall in groups or series, decoupage them on furniture, turn them into unique Christmas Tree ornaments, and feature them in creative dioramas.

87 of these prints were made by working French artists of the time.  There’s a possibility that even more were made too!  How seriously cool would that be?  Check out the rest here.


A Museum I Could Live In: Meet London’s Museum of Childhood!

Okay so I haven’t actually been there.  But I’m definitely adding this one to the bucket list.  I’m finally starting to get my travel groove on which is great,  and museums like this remind me of how much I want to see more of the world.  It’s like it was built for me!

I’ve been nerding out at their visual museum which is pretty great, and there’s so much to see, learn, AND share!  So I put together some of my favorite historical children’s objects from their collections.  These are some of my favorites, but there’s a lot to go through.  The dollhouses are pretty epic, and I love the vintage sci-fi toys and games.

My Top Picks From The Games Collection

 Laurie's New and Entertaining Game of the Golden Goose, England 1831 Museum no. CIRC.230-1964

This is the Game of Goose!  This family game was most likely inspired by similar middle Eastern games that came before it.  But the first written record of this game was actually during the mid-Renaissance era (mid to late 1500s) when a Florence Duke gifted it to Spain’s King Phillip II.  Pretty neat.

Here’s a quick rundown of how the game is played.  In a nutshell, most “game of goose” style games will feature 63 spaces aligned in a spiral of some kind.  The goal is to be the first to reach space 63, but you have to reach it by an exact throw of the dice.  Each turn, a player rolls two dice which determines how many spaces they can move, plus the board is scatted with illustrated spaces that reward or throw curve-balls like losing a turn or even death.

Players also have to agree on a pot of “money” or value so to speak at the start of the game, and the winner of course takes all!  No strategy, just luck.

The Very First Toy Catalog!

Item 1256, 12 guard soldiers, from the catalogue of Louis and Eduard Lindner, Germany 1840-1842 Museum no. MISC.3-1957

This is so cool.  The first toy catalogs were printed in Germany because that was basically the heart of the toy world.  Just like today, toy salesman or “reps” would carry these illustrated toy catalogs to show vendors the latest and greatest in toys, and it was a far more convenient alternative than lugging around a bunch of heavy samples.

And so the magical toy catalog was born!  I get lost in toy catalogs for hours.  HOURS.  There’s also some particularly hysterical and unintentionally creepy ones from the 1970s online.  More on that later.

Moving Image Gallery


Ahh model railroads, I do admire them.  So much work went in to achieve such perfect intricate details; it all helps to create a story.  I used to spend hours at the model railroad museum in San Diego where I grew up.  The model railroads at the Museum of Childhood are probably amazing up close, along with other exhibits from the Moving Toys Gallery, like vintage robots and this 1970s Chinese table tennis toy.

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