Predicting the Computer of 2004 in 1954 (Fake)

Steffan O’Sullivan writes:

“This is from a 1954 edition of Modern Mechanics Magazine, predicting what the home computer will look like in 2004. I think I worked on that printer once…

How can I get a steering wheel like that on my office computer here?”

Predicting the Computer of 2004 in 1954.

The caption reads:

“Scientists from the RAND Corporation have created this model to illustrate how a ‘home computer’ could look like in the year 2004. However the needed technology will not be economically feasible for the average home. Also the scientists readily admit that the computer will require not yet invented technology to actually work, but 50 years from now scientific progress is expected to solve these problems. With teletype interface and the Fortran language, the computer will be easy to use.”

More photos from MaisonBisson

[update]: Jess’s comment below gives the provenance of the photo as being from a forum thread titled: “photoshop this mock-up of a submarine’s maneuvering Room.” Indeed, has it:

Although the photograph displayed could represent what some people in the early 1950s contemplated a “home computer” might look like (based on the technology of the day), it isn’t, as the accompanying text claims, a RAND Corporation illustration from 1954 of a prototype “home computer.” The picture is actually an entry submitted to an image modification competition, taken from an original photo of a submarine maneuvering room console found on U.S. Navy web site, converted to grayscale, and modified to replace a modern display panel and TV screen with pictures of a decades-old teletype/printer and television (as well as to add the gray-suited man to the left-hand side of the photo)

I’d like to say I knew this all along, but I got burned too. What really eats me is that I noticed (but didn’t comment on) the bad grammar and awkward construction in the caption that seemed unfitting for any publication. Oh well, thank you ‘Jess.’