According to the Oxford English Dictionary, an early use of the term appears in a Bloomingdales advertisement in a 1983 issue of The New York Times. Referring to jewelry, the ad reads, “…silverized steel and sleek grey linked for a retro-futuristic look.” In an example more related to retrofuturism as an exploration of past visions of the future, the term appears in the form of “retro-futurist” in a 1984 review of the film Brazil in The New Yorker. Critic Pauline Kael writes, “[Terry Gilliam] presents a retro-futurist fantasy.”
Several websites have referenced a 1967 book published by Pelican Books called “Retro-Futurism” by T.R. Hinchliffe as the originator of the term, but this account is unverified. There exist no records of this book or author.