villemard art  Vintage Visions: Villemard’s 1910 Depictions of 21st Century Aviation(All images via Tom Wigley)

Flying machines were in their infancy in 1910, the ability to fly in itself a technological wonder.  But that didn’t stop eccentrics and inspired thinkers dreaming of a time when aircraft were so ubiquitous that bars and restaurants would offer ‘fly-throughs’.  That might sound rather far fetched, even by today’s standards, but French artist Villemard offered an image of Parisian life in the year 2000 that in some ways has come to pass.

villemard art 2  Vintage Visions: Villemard’s 1910 Depictions of 21st Century Aviation

These retro-futuristic postcards show a variety of aviation-related scenes in which aircraft rescue stricken sailors, helicopters patrol the skies, spying on those below, and a seaplane – in this case a vintage wooden boat held aloft by two zeppelin-like hot air balloons – drifts above an ocean.

villemard art 3  Vintage Visions: Villemard’s 1910 Depictions of 21st Century Aviation

Elsewhere, flying cops hold up unruly airborne motorists – a theme explored in science fiction films such as Minority Report, but perhaps not too far from (an alternate) reality if flying cars are anything to go by.  In more serene scenes, all manner of flying machines, from prop-planes to ornithopters, cruise down the Avenue de l’Opéra.

The scenes are at once pleasant and chaotic.  While Villemard could never grasp the rate by which technology would advance over the next 90 years, he clearly understood the crucial role aviation would play in our modern world.