How late 19th Century French artists envisioned the year 2000

Year 2000 Phonograph
Image from Public Domain Review

A number of images are available to view on the Public Domain Review which illustrate how 19th century artists imagined the year 2000 would look. Postcards designed and illustrated by Jean-Marc Côté along with other artists shows France in a landscape where people use personal flying devices that incorporate wings as well as harnessing the power of nature to aid them in their pursuit of pleasure.

Year 2000 Electric Train
Image from Public Domain Review

As with many futuristic imaginings, not much has changed in the way of fashions; men still wear top hats and ladies wear bustles and corsets. Then again, who could envision in that era of etiquette and strict hiding of skin that ladies would today be able to bathe on a beach with little on or go out with friends in short clothing? In that time it COULDN’T have crossed their minds, never mind wouldn’t.

Interestingly, some of the ideas aren’t actually far off what we have these days, such as helicopters, telephoning someone and being able to see them, electric trains and electric cleaning devices. However, the way they’ve drawn them is completely different to how they’ve actually come about. Still, it really shows what visionaries people in the late 19th century were.

Year 2000 Skype
Image from Public Domain Review

The images were first commissioned in 1899 and were included in cigarette and cigar boxes. Later commissions came in 1900, 1901 and 1910 when they were made as postcards. They were first produced for the 1900 World Exhibition in Paris. There are 87 cards in total and you can view them all on Wikimedia Commons by following this link: Wikimedia Commons French future page

I’ve placed several more in a slideshow which you can enjoy below:

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