The house of the 20th c. as described by a visionary of the 19th

The Twentieth-Century Dwelling

The typical dwelling of the twentieth century has not been built yet, but we are near enough to it to be able to forecast, at least in a general way, what it will be like. It will be made of concrete, or some similar material that will be comparatively unaffected by the weather and that will provide thorough protection
against changes in the external temperature. On the outside the building will, of course, be tinted and decorated to suit the taste and means of the owner. Inside it wi1l be given a hard, durable, smooth finish that will not hold dust and that will be impervious to moisture. Not only walls and ceilings but floors will be finished in
this way, and at a moment's notice the furnishings can be taken out and a room or the whole house washed down with a stream from a hose and wiped dry with the utmost ease.
The lighting of the twentieth century dwelling will be by diffusion from tubes of electrified vapor that will give an even and soft illumination all over the house- an illumination that, in many respects, will be better than daylight. But it is in respect to the regulation of atmospheric conditions that the twentieth century
house will possess the most decided advantages over the houses we live in now. The heating and cooling of the air as it will be brought in through screened openings will be done automatically by electricity. There will be electric heaters in winter and refrigerating coils in summer, and the interior of the dwelling, if the occupants so desire, will be kept at an even temperature the year round. Thus it will be possible to have any climate to order- warm or cool, moist or dry - and no doubt the adjustment of these conditions to individual needs will be an important part of the therapeutics of the future. If families cannot agree upon a uniform
climate for the entire house, each member of the family can have the sort of climate he or she requires in his or her individual apartments.
The twentieth-century kitchen will delight the heart of the careful housewife. It will be as clean and perfect in all its fittings as a laboratory for the most delicate chemical processes, and, indeed, it will be a laboratory rather than a kitchen. Cooking by electricity will be an exact science. Along one side of the tiled room will be a series of asbestos-lined doors, with thermometric indicators on each door. Put in your materials properly prepared- that is where the art
will come in- set the thermostat at the given mark for simmering, stewing, boiling or baking, leave it so for a stated time, and there you are! Food cooked to perfection, and no dust, no dirt, no surplus heat, no steam, no odor. Who would not be a cook in the electric kitchen when the twentieth century house shall be built?

this was published in Harper's Weekly in 1896.

1 comment:

thriftshopromantic said...

Kudos to you for pulling a LOT of information on the Victorian era into your blog. I'm on my lunchbreak and will need more time to go through it all.

I'm a huge fan of Victoriana myself and have a home from 1898 where I've worked to keep a reasonable period feel. I've used a mix of Victorian and Victorian-influenced decorating with a bit of Edwardian thrown in. :-)

Best of luck to you with your blog. I'll have to come back when I have more time! I have much reading ahead of me.

Best Regards,