The 1940s Advertisements That Tried And Failed To Predict The Future

By Will LeBlanc | Published


As a company, you want potential clients or customers to think you will be around forever. Project stability to the masses, and the clientele will follow.

And what better way to prove you’ll be around in the future than to predict it in as ridiculous a fashion as possible? One such company made some wild assertions about what the future may hold back in the 1940s, and boy, were they ever way off.

Bohn Aluminum and Brass had a fantastic view of a future they wanted to help create, if people would have just accepted aluminum and magnesium into their pipelines.

From ultra-light rocket-powered airliners to plastic bridges and freeways built right through existing skyscrapers, Bohn’s future isn’t one we’ve achieved…yet. Scope out a few of their ads below and see the rest over at Business Insider.

The first Bohn image is of a glider-like stealth plane flying above a couple of other “futuristic” vehicles. One of them appears to be hovering above the ground, while the other is a high-speed rail line. 0-3 on these bad boys.


Here, Bohn suggests that plastic-covered bridges will span our waterways, and the company will help bring these into existence. Why do the bridges need to be covered? I’m not exactly sure. They never explain that part. Maybe pedestrians can cross, except they don’t put any people in the picture or the explanation.


In this ad, Bohn has what appears to be a digger/ loader combined with a conveyor belt operation for dirt removal. Of all their wild predictions, this one might be the closest to reality. They gave it a horrible green color and made the whole thing look evil and alive, but it at least appears functional.


Here’s a triple-decker airplane for the common man and woman to fly across the country in elegance, comfort and luxury. Wish Bohn could get a load of some of the discount airlines we have going.


If you saw firefighters rolling down the block in this thing, you might assume they were either A: part of a comedy troupe or B: attempting to humiliate the fire into going out. How would this thing even turn a corner in a city much less get to the actual fire?

Not even sure what this is. Someone call Bohn and ask.

Nailed it Bohn. Nailed it.

Look, this wasn’t an uncommon ad style back in the day. Folks were trying to innovate and look to the future, and it’s hard to blame them for going way wrong.

Today, companies like Google just go ahead and make prototypes of their future devices to prove to us that these conveniences are right around the corner.

It will always be a battle of engineering for the title of who can make the coolest stuff. In this day and age, there’s a lot more competition than there was in the 40s.

Unfortunately, Bohn was demolished back in the 80s, so they didn’t get to see the future they predicted come true, but maybe someday we will.