These stickers – published in 1959 by Lampo, a publishing house based in Milan – remind us of a striking aphorism:
The future is not what it used to be.
The quote is so famous it has overshadowed its author, and is attributed to a range of sources, from poets like Paul Valéry and Mark Strand to baseball players like Yogi Berra and John Casey.
The paradox probably sounds perfect, with just a hint of nostalgia, to any one of us who in the final years of the 1950s collected Lampo stickers in the “World of the Future” series, showcased below.
These colorful rectangles – a total of 227, which kids stuck on the pages of a dedicated album – indeed forecasted a 21st century made of flying cars and machines with a classic 1950s design.
We can all agree the future became something very different from that, and every generation from now on will find the same.
The future is never what it used to be, but it was fun to imagine, and perhaps even more fun to discover on these stickers. Perhaps it will be just as fun, now, to turn the page and jump back into the future…