Fuel for My Jetpack, Mead for My Dragon

Modern Mechanix & Inventions

I love looking back at our old future.

Maybe it’s just nostalgia talking, but I liked seeing the Things to Come back before they came. I mean, we’re basically living in the future as we speak.  We’ve got it all – space ships, space stations, robots on Mars, handheld communicators that can put us in contact with anyone in the world, instant food, everything.  We even have flying cars, especially if you drive them off of someplace really high.

The problem with our current future is that it’s so unimpressive looking.  Ever notice how the iPhone looks like a bar of soap that’s got two more showers left in it?  Sure, its practical, fits in your pocket, and doesn’t require nuclear energy to play music or make a call – but man does it look dull!

I long for the days of our fun future, the inaccurate and impractical version with big, silvery pipes and unnecessary buttons and single levers that control everything.

And so it was with great pleasure that I came across a little gem from history called Modern Mechanix & Inventions.

Modern Mechanix & Inventions began life in 1928, seeking to make its name amidst the science and technology publications biz at the time.  Chock full of DIY projects and the car reviews of Tom McCahill, the magazine held its own until 2001, changing its title a couple of times during its run.

There are a number of places on the ’net to find archives with pictures of the covers, most being mixed in with other classic publications.  I wouldn’t be writing about it now if a friend hadn’t made mention about it on facebook (props to MarcosBnPinto!).  The visions presented in some of the mag’s more fantastic covers are the stuff that fueled the rockets of the imagination in the days before we exorcised the Man in the Moon.

I genuinely enjoy seeing stuff like this. It’s great food for fantasy, storytelling, or getting ideas for running a role playing game.  I’m always on the lookout for more retro-future artwork, so if you can suggest any, I’d be glad to take a look at it.  Drop us a line!

For a look at a number of these beautiful covers, visit Marcos’s tumblr here.