Schubin Snacks

Television in 1882

For a long time, I’ve been familiar with the illustrations of the French artist and writer Albert Robida because of his “predictions” of television as early as 1882.  But, until recently, I had not read his accompanying descriptions.  An English translation of Robida’s 1882 book The Twentieth Century was published by Wesleyan University Press in 2004, and it’s great fun to read (if you skip the 57-page scholarly introduction and seven pages of notes on it).  There’s a lot more than just television in the book, including the 24-hour news cycle (and its effects), high-speed trains, feminism, and much more.  And, if you can’t get enough, there is that big introduction, many more notes, and lots and lots of illustrations.

You might not find it in your local bookstore, but it’s readily available from such sources as or