Past Predictions That Came True

By Marion Wijnberg


Baldwin Headphones, c. 1910 (Utah State Historical Society)

If you think about it, the future that is, it’s not hard to come up with something so “out there” as a possible futuristic invention. In fact, the more ridiculous it sounds to us at the moment, the more probable is the thought of it becoming a reality in the distant future. Or, you stood the chance of becoming the laughing stock of everyone you knew.

Here’s a list of five ideas of the past that did come true and that we use in our everyday lives today.

Ear buds. You know those little white things we put in our ears that connect to our cell phones? They were invented in 1910 by Nathaniel Baldwin in his kitchen. Prior to amplifiers, the only way to listen to electrical sound signals was through the ear piece of a telephone. The successful headphones were now a reality and Baldwin sold them to the United States Navy. However, prior to this, Ray Bradbury in his famous book, Fahrenheit 451, published in 1953, described the now famous tiny earpieces like this: "And in her ears the little seashells, the thimble radios tamped tight, and an electronic ocean of sound, of music and talk and music and talk coming in, coming in on the shore of her unsleeping mind." Now did Baldwin and Bradbury know each other, I don’t think so.