House of the future, from 1954

Honestly, I’m a little surprised we don’t see more of the ideas from this house that was designed and built over 60 years ago. Designed with as much innovative use of technology as the builder could manage, the house had windows which would shut automagically in case of sustained strong winds or rain, lights that would turn on and off when people entered rooms, and an automagic doorbell that went off when someone stepped on the porch.


Guests never trip over the wires to a floor lamp in Fletcher’s living room. MM-lamp-of-the-future.jpgThe floor lamps in this “House of the 21st Century” have no electric cords. Their fluorescent tubes, in fact, could be burned out and still operate perfectly when placed over certain spots on the living-room floor.

. . .

To operate his cordless floor lamps, Fletcher [the primary designer and builder] buried induction coils at various points in his living-room floor. Contained in the base of each floor lamp is a secondary coil. The current flowing between the coilsprovides enough wattage to fluoresce the gases in the fluorescent tube at the top.

The walk-a-light switching system throughout the house operates on the capacity principle. The presence of a persons body changes the capacity of a plate connected to a vacuum-tube circuit. A relay then switches on the lights. The same capacity effect operates the doorbell when a person walks onto the porch. It is used outside the house to operate lights on a burglar-alarm system.

This is one of the coolest things to my humble little brain that I’ve seen on the Modern Mechanix web site since I started reading it last year. I can see how some of the technologies would need updated to modern needs. I’m likewise sure that people might not always want all the automated conveniences that this house provides, but that should be adjustable at some control center or via software on a home computer. I’d love to get some of the features from over 50 years ago into my home. Maybe not the vacuum-tube stuff, but that could easily be modernized.

[tags]Modern Mechanix, Home of the future from 1950s, Automated home conveniences, Automagic[/tags]