John Adolphus Etzler
John Adolphus Etzler was a German-American technological utopianist
Technological utopianism
Technological utopianism refers to any ideology based on the belief that advances in science and technology will eventually bring about a utopia, or at least help to fulfill one or another utopian ideal...

. Along with civil engineer John A. Roebling
John A. Roebling
John Augustus Roebling was a German-born American civil engineer. He is famous for his wire rope suspension bridge designs, in particular, the design of the Brooklyn Bridge.-Early life:...

, he emigrated to Pittsburgh in 1831.

In 1833 he published his best-known work, a prospectus titled The Paradise within the Reach of all Men. It outlined detailed, visionary plans to harness the energy of wind, water and sun to benefit mankind.

He believed that contemporary technology was sufficient, if only slightly developed and astutely applied, to bring about an earthly paradise of effortless plenty within a matter of a few years. He occasionally was able to gain sufficient financial backing and supporters to make a go at turning this dream into reality. In particular, his hopes for a revolution in agriculture rested on the "Satellite," a general-purpose cultivation tool that was to be propelled using ropes to transmit power from a stationary source that was powered in turn by wind. The device proved impractical, and his partly and poorly implemented plans to colonize the American tropics failed, with loss of life and bitter recriminations. Etzler's spirit was crushed, and he disappears from the records. Nevertheless, his vision of a world freed from labor through automated devices remains with us, and may yet find a more complete realization.


  • The Paradise within the Reach of all Men, without Labor, by Powers of Nature and Machinery: An Address to all intelligent men, in two parts (1833)
  • Machinery (1833)
  • The New World or Mechanical System (1841)
  • Description of the Naval Automaton, Invented by J. A. Etzler (1841?2?)
  • Dialogue on Etzler's Paradise: Between Messrs. Clear, Flat, Dunce, and Grudge (1842)
  • Emigration to the Tropical World, for the Melioration of All Classes of People of All Nations (1844)
  • Two Visions of J. A. Etzler (1844)


See also

  • Andreas Bernardus Smolnikar
  • Paradise (to be) Regained
    Paradise (to be) Regained
    Paradise Regained is an essay written by Henry David Thoreau and published in 1843 in the United States Magazine and Democratic Review...

    — Henry David Thoreau’s critique of Etzler’s techno-utopianism

External links

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