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5 Headlines That Aged Terribly

by Isa Nan 2 months ago in Historical
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While some things age like wine, others have aged like milk

Image by Marcus P. on Unsplash

Over the years, a number of newspapers, advertisers and other reputable publications have tried to appeal to a reader’s sense of what lies ahead in the future. A few of these educated predictions have stood the test of time and have even come true.

Some others however, have fallen so completely flat that they have become fodder for jokes and lists such as this. Let’s take a look at 5 such headlines and ads that have aged worse than spoiled milk.

#5. Every Passenger Of The Titanic Was Not Saved

The Titanic was not only not unsinkable but also ill-equipped to evacuate everyone on board in the event of a disaster. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Once touted as being “unsinkable”, every ad and promotion about The Titanic could not have aged worse. Even when the supposedly unsinkable vessel hit an iceberg and began its inevitable descent towards the bottom of the ocean, there were those who tried to find some silver lining in this unfortunate accident.

The Evening Sun was one such publication that attempted to tell a triumphant story in the face of tragedy. Unfortunately, their optimistic report, published on the same day of the disaster, would soon prove to be very far from the truth. The newspaper reported that the ship had merely been damaged and that the crew was able to evacuate everybody safely to another vessel.

In truth, over 1500 people would lose their lives when the ship sank. It also came to light that The Titanic did not even have enough lifeboats to make it possible to safely evacuate every single person on the ship. Be it through prideful boasting or a genuine belief in the vessel’s capabilities, it’s safe to say that most early reports of The Titanic have not aged well at all.

#4. Prison Did Not Tame Hitler

If anything, Hitler’s time in prison only drove him further towards his nefarious goals and increased his influence over his followers. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Long before Adolf Hitler became the leader of Nazi Germany and fell into infamy as one of the most evil people who ever lived, he was a failed revolutionary who was spending time in prison after an unsuccessful attempt to topple the German government. Although he had started a party and amassed a decent following, he was nowhere near the threat he would soon become.

Thus, many, including the New York Times, believed that some prison time would be sufficient to cool him off and put an end to his ambitions. However, this obviously did not work at all. He was not “sadder and wiser” but more driven than ever, having written his book Mein Kampf while incarcerated. The fact that he has fallen into historical infamy has also put to rest any inclination of him “retiring to private life.”

In fact, a year after this article was published Hitler would renounce his Austrian citizenship. Nine years after this article came out, Hitler had successfully seized control of Germany. While hindsight is 20/20, this news report could not have aged any worse. That being said, one would imagine the world being a very different place if anything about that report had come true.

#3. Unsafe And Extremely Addictive

Although initially advertised as safe and non-addictive, Heroin soon proved to achieve the complete effect. Thus it became an illegal narcotic. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Any medicine you buy in a pharmacy is a drug. That doesn’t go both ways though. Even so, most illegal narcotics that we see today were created with some medicinal benefit in mind. However, when one thinks of Heroin today, it’s hard to imagine it being used for anything aside from getting high.

As strange as it is, there was a time where Heroin was not only legal but seen as a possible remedy for the cough. German pharmaceutical company, Bayer, which was most well-known for creating Aspirin, sought to replicate that success with Heroin. Safe to say, it did not go well at all.

What makes this ad age so terribly was how the drug was being described as both “safe” and “non-addictive”. If you ask anyone today, those two words are probably not the first things that come to mind when describing Heroin. Realizing its dangerously addictive properties, Heroin would soon become illegal. Luckily for Bayer though, Aspirin has continued to stand the test of time.

#2. A Fad That Has Yet To Pass

Not only is the Internet not a mere fad, it has become an essential part of the lives of billions of people today. Image: WikiMedia Commons

Every life changing invention is not always instantly well-received. The lightbulb, telephone and television were among those amenities that while, we struggle to imagine ourselves without today, were once dismissed as being unnecessary or even disruptive to life. The Internet was treated no differently.

In the year 2000, the Internet was admittedly different from how it is today. Even then, it was a fairly life changing creation. That same year however, The Daily Mail described the Internet as a “passing fad” and claimed that researchers have discovered millions of people no longer wanting to use it. Citing it as expensive and inconvenient, the newspaper predicted that the Internet’s days were numbered.

Here we are 22 years later and it’s safe to say that the Internet is still very much a thing. After all, you’re using it right now if you’re reading this. No longer a tool for those in the know, the Internet has become an essential aspect to daily life in most places in the world today. The five billion people using the internet today certainly outnumber the millions who left it back then. But if you think the Internet is still just a fad, perhaps it’s just still ongoing.

#1. The Shortest Million Years In History

The people at The New York Times were certainly left red faced after the first plane was created nine weeks after the newspaper said that it would not be possible for at another million years. Image: WikiMedia Commons

Airplanes have definitely revolutionised the way we travel. We have the capabilities to go or send things from where we are now to any other part of the world within the span of about a day. While this is extremely common now, there was a time where this notion was inconceivable.

In fact, it wasn’t all that long ago too where people still believed it to be impossible to create a flying vehicle that could transport people from place to place. On the 8th December 1903, The New York Times boldly predicted that it would take humanity somewhere between one to ten million years to invent the technology necessary for people to fly from place to place.

The Wright Brothers created and successfully manned the first airplane just nine weeks later. Five years later, the first commercial plane took flight and less than sixty years later, humanity had sent a man into outer space. Unless we somehow advanced a million years in the span of nine weeks, it’s safe to say that The New York Times’ prediction fell flatter than a pancake. One can only imagine the reactions of the people who came up with that article in the first place when they heard that this impossible creation had been made just over two months later.

Well that does it for this list! If you made it this far, let me thank you for taking the time to read this! It was personally very enjoyable to compile the relevant newspaper articles and ads for this piece as it really gave us a glimpse into the mindsets of the generations that came before.

Do let me know if you have seen any other ads or headlines that aged terribly and leave them in the comments. I really do enjoy hearing back! Until then, take care!


About the author

Isa Nan

Written accounts of life, death and everything in between

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  • Heather Lunsfordabout a month ago

    I recently read a biography of the Vanderbilt family. I believe it was the Comadore who was in fact on his death bed in New York and the newspapers were all so keen to get the scoop several ran his obituary early. According to the book I read he rather enjoyed reading his obituary daily.

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