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Melonking's avatar

If you met someone from around 1850, what would you show them?

Asked by Melonking (1221points) May 29th, 2010

So, you go back to talk to someone from around 1850, there is no need to convince them who you are or that you are from the future.

All you are able to bring with you is a laptop with 1 hours worth of sound, pictures and video.

What would you show them and how would you explain it?

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26 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Space Travel

Neizvestnaya's avatar

A household refrigerator-
Electric sewing machine

deadleaf's avatar

World War One. The demonstration of destruction would explain itself; it would be a matter of faith, unfortunately, to believe it or not.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I would show that person a compilation of historical events that will occur in the next 160 years and point out that he should make it his mission to tell those that follow him not to repeat terrible mistakes that would come back to haunt humanity and the world itself. Kind of like Paying It Forward in a globally beneficial type of way.

Cruiser's avatar

Captain Crunch and bottled beer! Party time!!

Silhouette's avatar


ucme's avatar

That there’s a black president.It took a while, but got there in the end.

lillycoyote's avatar

@deadleaf If actually living through WWI, “The War to End All Wars” wasn’t enough to keep humans from waging WWII I’m not sure what showing it to someone in 1850 would actually accomplish.

gemiwing's avatar

I wouldn’t take a laptop or any television-based technology. It wouldn’t make sense and probably get me shot at or worse. I think it’s just too big of a jump.

I would take photographs of modern medicine/surgery, modern jets, the president at a full press conference/inauguration, a picture of a tv. The picture of a tv because it would be easier to explain that it has moving pictures, like a kinetoscope (sp), than to show people and have the battery life on my moving picture w/interface device that runs on captured non-steam technology.

ChocolateReigns's avatar

@gemiwing has a good point. No one would understand a laptop, and if they got their minds around it, they would be fighting over it non stop and I would be dead pretty soon. But if I could get around that somehow, I would put pictures and short clips of current events on there, and then use the rest of the hour to show technology and modern architecture. But what about after the hour of video is done? Do I get to stay as long as I want, or am I instantly transported back to present day?

perspicacious's avatar

Fluther’s grammar and writing skills.

Melonking's avatar

Well when I said laptop and 1850 I did not mean going to the wild west, I was more thinking middle class England.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

A flush toilet and a bathtub, for starters. They could see the rest of the stuff after the stink was over with.

Melonking's avatar

@IchtheosaurusRex, they had flush toilets in 1200, bathtubs go back… at least 8000 years.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@Melonking , yes, I know. Queen Elizabeth I had a flush toilet installed in her chambers. But very few people in 1850 would have had access to such a luxurious item, and bathing was not considered a matter of daily – or even weekly – necessity.

Melonking's avatar

People bathe daily?

Aster's avatar

Cotton candy. Machine gun. Pantyhose. Flourescent lamp. I can’t spell flourescent. Dishwasher. Home theater. did they have cotton candy?

john65pennington's avatar

The car that bombed out….......The Edsel.

You might first have to explain an automobile.

thekoukoureport's avatar

A light bulb. Then lots of porn.

mrrich724's avatar

I agree with many of the answers, NOT TV HOWEVER. Someone said that the day TV was invented was the day society stopped progressing.

I tend to agree.

basstrom188's avatar

Show them the railways (railroads) and how they have developed. something from then still with us now.

Nullo's avatar

A brief history of aviation and space exploration, and a brief history of computing, a brief history of the rise of atheism, evolution, and religious intolerance. Last but not least, a collage of hippie photos with the caption, “BEWARE 1968!”

GracieT's avatar

@Melonking, GREAT QUESTION!!! That is actually something friends and I have discussed often (when we feel philosophical!). I’m just entering middle age and am often surprised when I see the advances that have happened in my lifetime. I think that one of the things that I would feature is a glimpse of the cultures of the world now. Because in the past international travel was an impossibility the people of an area were mostly homogeneous and cultures usually did NOT mix. I would not imagine that food, entertainment and languages were not shared from culture to culture.

Inspired_2write's avatar

There families in the future.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

I would show them the Federal Reserve System as a warning.


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