JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
The way of the new world, the spread of commercialism and of consumerism, the increase in the size of a middle class that was actually approaching what we today would think of as a middle class, the wanting rise of places for disposable income to go from millions of new people with spare money to spend, led the sellers of stuff-immemorial to start advertising their bits on the side of out-of-doors everything. The fight for the attention span of the new consumer went from the newspapers and magazines to the side of buildings and then, as the motor car began to proliferate, to thousands of miles of roadway.
But when these cartoons appeared in (the first) Life magazine in 1905, the car was still a distant image so far as common ownership was concerned, so the competition for the visual space of the new buying market was center on outdoor displays wherever people might happen to be outdoors. (Remember, there's no radio or television to absorb advert money and viewer attention, so efforts were magnified on billboards.)
So Life took a peep into the future and didn't like what it saw: the possible vast expansion of ugliness in the pursuit of whatever dollar might fall out of whatever pocket. Just a little warning to America is all--the future of the country might not look as pretty it used to be, what with millions of new billboards to place.
The future Niagra Falls, five years hence: