The cartoonist of the future wouldn’t have to lift a finger, thanks to tomorrow’s wonderful machines. At least that was the idea behind this 1923 cartoon by H.T. Webster.
Americans of the 1920s saw a tremendous explosion in residential electricity adoption. At the start of the decade just 35 per cent of Americans had electricity in their homes. By the end of the decade, it was nearly 70 per cent — 85 per cent if you only counted Americans in cities.
This led many people to wonder how electricity would make their lives easier. And for the cartoonists of 100 years hence, it meant handing off your work to the machines.
Various versions of the “cartoon dynamo” certainly exist today. But that “idea dynamo” is the hardest nut to crack for creative endeavours. It looks like cartoonists of the 21st century won’t be able to just sneak away to Labrador anytime soon for a fishing trip while their robots toil away.
Like many futuristic cartoons from the early 20th century, this one is more spoof than sincere — if anything a commentary on the inherent weirdness of outsourcing creativity to machines. But joke or not, I guess we’ll have to wait 9 years until Webster’s prediction can officially be tossed on the failed futures pile. Sometimes the most outlandish predictions have a way of coming true.
Many thanks to The Simpsons animator Al Holter for sending this one our way.