Of all the buzzwords of the retrofuture, nothing tickled the imagination of midcentury Americans quite like "automatic." Sure, the word pops up here and there in 1930s advertisements for things like the house of the future. And the word was incredibly popular during the rise of the push button at the turn of the 20th century. But it wasn't until after World War II that the word really kicked into hyperdrive. Cooking was going to be automatic. Highways were going to be automatic. Even building those highways was going to be automatic. But strangely, no one ever bothered to define the term.