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July 1924

Life As We Know It
by Arthur D. Little

Within the last ten years the United States has become the first industrial nation of the world …

All those things that relieve household labor of its drudgery have their assured place in the future. Nature abhors a vacuum only because she has no carpets and rugs to clean. More and more homes will be equipped with electric appliances: toasters, irons, and washing machines; and the electric refrigerator is almost here …

We have seen old-time necessities—as candles and open fires—come to be classed as luxuries … Where our plutocrats progressed ten miles an hour behind a pair of horses, our workmen now go thirty in a Ford …

Oil has become as essential as gunpowder to the navies of the world, and almost as dangerous to our politicians. On land the tank-wagon is already as familiar as the coal-truck, and the convenience and temporary cheapness of fuel oil have caused it to replace coal in many thousands of plants and dwellings. This tendency will continue for a time until scarcity and science put new values on petroleum …

The sales of radio equipment reached a total of $150,000,000 last year and are expected to double in 1924. The earth has become a whispering gallery, and the ocean has lost its solitude. The farm is no longer isolated, and the newspapers, the theaters, and the pulpit have a new competitor.

Man is no longer bound to the earth. He has achieved a three-dimensional existence … It is now possible to fly from Vienna to Paris in ten hours and from Strasbourg to Constantinople in thirty …

During the last fifty years science and invention have led us further and further from the world that was; deeper and deeper into a new environment. The process of change has been so rapid that readjustment has been difficult. Yet readjust ourselves we must.

Volume 134, No. 1, pp. 36–45

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