It may be hard to believe as you read Wired on your iPad, but heating oil and metal plumbing pipes were hot tech topics just 100 years ago.

They were businesses, too, on which inventors pinned their hopes and corporations placed their bets in the form of factories, salesmen, and marketing budgets.

For a peek inside 100 years of cutting-edge inventions, take a look at this gallery of 20th-century advertisements. They show how products that we take for granted today, like bicycles, electric trains and radios, were once strange and wonderful enough that they needed bold, artistic introductions.

The posters, from an upcoming exhibition by the International Vintage Poster Dealers Association, show a century of massive change in technology, from plumbing to iPods. They also provide a glimpse of changing design trends: Bare-breasted beauties gave way to stark abstractions, which were succeeded by eye-catching color photos, which were replaced with primary-color silhouettes.

For more images and background, see the online  exhibit, titled “Innovations in Technology: From the Turn of the Century to Today.”

full story: Vintage Posters Highlight a Century of Innovation | Gadget Lab |