Have you seen how 2020 looked in 1950? Check out this flashback. The Westinghouse All Electric Home of the Future!
This video was not only a marketing campaign for Westinghouse; it was an attraction at Disneyland for General Electric.
Wow, where we sold a bill of goods! Amazingly, many of the innovations mentioned are here today!
The video above walks you into a home resembling today's smartest homes. Automatic entry lights, weather station, and on-demand songs from a radio resembling Spotify, Alexa, Google, or Sonos. All of this magic was just around the corner according to these fantastic shows. Fast forward to today, and it’s just starting to be a reality. Hue lights, the Internet, Microwaves, and many other amazing things are in our homes today.
But I live in California, where I run the risk of being locked in or out of my “home of today” when the power is off. Worse, it’s like going back to the stone ages each time this happens. Whenever my home of the future has a burp or a blip, the house has a migraine—sometimes amnesia. I lose my settings, my configurations, and sometimes my equipment—no telling what might go out when the lights go out.
When it works, it works great. Until you get the bill. The house of the future is nothing if not expensive. Pacific Gas and Electric services Northern California and our rates have risen 31 Percent over astronomical prices. They expect another 12 percent or more in the coming years. There is no end in sight to the deferred maintenance repairs and endless fire risks shutting our services off. So they raise our prices and hamstring our use of alternative energy.
We have switched to Solar and Propane backup generation where possible. The home of the future is one hungry beast. If you want it to run all the time, you have to budget with a one to one plan. For every dollar I spend on gadgets, I need to spend one on backup power systems. Beyond that, I can’t supply power to my system without feeding it back to PG&E first. So in many ways, I am still a hostage even when powering my own home with solar. They restrict how much my backup system can power and for how long in some cases.
Don’t get me wrong. This is an amazing time. As a child, I marveled at the promise of technology. As an adult, I am grateful for the myriad of companies providing a patchwork of gadgets and services, making this a reality. I adore shutting down the house with command at night. Watering my garden automatically. Lights that come on and off as I pass and light up my garden as programmed. For that matter, I don’t set a clock, program a VCR, or even check the temperature outside as it’s all given to me on command. It is truly amazing how close we have come to the dream we were sold.
Ironically, when I first went to Disneyland and saw the Carousel of Progress, it froze. Poor Rover was waiting for his treat while the lights flickered off as we were ushered out of the theater. We should have known the bright future we were sold might be darker than we thought. And much more costly than we could have ever dreamed of.