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Entries in new york world's fair (19)

Saturday
Jul162011

Americans Journey Into Space at the 1964 New York World's Fair

The Official Souvenir Book of the 1964 New York World's Fair includes some gorgeous illustrations of futuristic space exploration. The Fair had phenomenal exhibits showcasing the American push into space, but if you're wondering what the Soviets put on display for 1964 -- smack in the middle of the space race -- you'll be disappointed to hear that they didn't even have a pavilion.

Did the tensions of the Cold War keep the Soviets from coming to a fair whose motto was "Peace Through Understanding"? Not quite. The 1964 New York World's Fair wasn't even an officially sanctioned World's Fair. Robert Moses, the head organizer, decided to charge site rental fees for countries that wanted to have a pavilion and this put the Fair at odds with the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE). Many countries -- including Canada, Australia, the Soviet Union and most of Europe -- didn't have representation at the Fair when the BIE encouraged its members not to participate.

With Americans trotting out jetpacks, videophones and futuristic highways it's kind of interesting to wonder what the Soviets might have done at the Fair in the name of Cold War competition.

Below are pictures that appear in the Official Souvenir Book to the 1964 New York World's Fair.

Without pause, man has rushed headlong into the nuclear age, the space age and the age of automation. A variety of exhibits at the Fair help the fairgoer catch up with this runaway revolution in technology and science. High points of this revolution are shown on these and the next eight pages. America's first steps into orbit around the earth and plans for future ventures into space are set forth in a number of cinematic space trips as well as in a host of real and scale-model exhibits of space-age hardware. The Cape Kennedy story at the Florida pavilion offers a photographic account of launchings, and the U.S. Space Park provides a showplace for Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and a unit of Saturn V, the rocket destined to boost Apollo to the moon.

 

 

Essential to Apollo's journey of discovery, this vehicle will ferry astronauts between their capsule and the moon. It is in the U.S. Space Park.

 

 

A Saturn I booster, with 1.5 million pounds of thrust, lifts a 20,000-pound payload in a blast-off typical of the space age. A scale model of Saturn I is displayed in Florida's Cape Kennedy exhibit.

 

 

A spaceport and supply rocket, designed by the Martin Marietta Corporation, meet in mid-air in this scene from the Hall of Science space show. In such a port, astronauts may orbit for half a year.

Friday
Mar182011

Lunar Crawlers (1964)

For the 1964 World's Fair in New York General Motors hoped to create the same sense of wonder that it had achieved with its Futurama exhibit of the 1939 New York World's Fair. Futurama II expanded upon the highways, cities and conveniences of tomorrow to include lunar and sea exploration. The photo above shows manned "Lunar Crawlers" that are the main form of transporation for future moon travelers.

This image appears in the excellent book Exit to Tomorrow: World's Fair Architecture, Design, Fashion 1933-2005.

Thursday
Jan202011

Ford's Magic Skyway (1964)

Of all the major attractions at the 1964 World's Fair it seems Ford's Magic Skyway receives the least amount of chatter, ink and pixels in 2011. It wasn't moved to Disneyland like Carousel of Progress or It's A Small World, and it wasn't a sexy sequel like Futurama II. But it looked like quite the ride nonetheless.

Narrated by Walt Disney, fairgoers hopped into Fords on a journey from the age of the dinosaurs to the invention of the wheel to a "highway in the sky carrying you across the boundless night and out into time and space." The audio-animatronic dinosaurs and cavemen of Magic Skyway would be familiar to anyone visiting a Disney park today, as Epcot's Spaceship Earth, Universe of Energy and World of Motion (R.I.P.) all look like they drew quite a bit of inspiration from this attraction.

At the end of the ride Walt's familiar voice proclaimed, "perhaps someday we'll be riding rocketships like those flashing overhead to anywhere in space. Perhaps someday we will drive jet-powered vehicles over weather-controlled highways in the sky like those spiralling tubes around you." Perhaps indeed.

For more on Ford's Magic Skyway check out the video below

The concept art above appears in Designing Disney: Imagineering and the Art of the Show by John Hench.

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Sunday
Jan102010

Travel by Rocketship (1939)

 

The Official Guide Book to the 1939 New York World's Fair includes this illustration of an exhibit from the Chrysler Motors Building. The exhibit imagined the rocketport of the future and was designed by industrial designer Raymond Loewy. The text below was used for publicity purposes and can be found in the New York Public Library Digital Gallery.

Focal Exhibit on Transportation in THE CHRYSLER MOTORS BUILDING at the New York World's Fair 1939.

A dramatic visualization of the possibilities of swift travel over long distances by rocketship in the World of Tomorrow will be part of the Transportation Focal Exhibit in the Chrysler Motors Building at the New York World's Fair 1939. The exhibit will occupy the rotunda at the Chrysler Motors Building in the Fair's Transportation Zone.

Shown in the photograph is the rocketport of the future as sketched by Raymond Loewy, industrial designer, for the intricate model which will be used in the Chrysler exhibit to demonstrate trans-ocean transport through the stratosphere by rocket. The rocketgun is pictured at the moment of its discharge; this is to be accompanied by a brilliant flash of light, a muffled explosion and ingenious effects which make it appear that the rocket vanishes in the sky-like ceiling enroute to the stratosphere, to cross the sea and reach London.

As many as a thousand Fair visitors at a time will be able to watch the presentation of the rocketport with signal lights blinking, warning sirens sounding, machinery humming, while futuristic liners, trains, buses and automobiles discharge voagers. When the moment of departure nears, a crane equipped with a magnet picks up the rocketship, and, as the breech of the rocketgun opens, deposits the vehicle of the future in the gun. After an interval, the rocketgun discharges and the rocketship appears to be winging its way into the stratosphere.

Before the rocketship demonstration, the story of transportation from the dawn of history to the present is told by a series of moving picture episodes flashed across the map-screen. Man is shown walking; then jeweled lights on the map indicate the distance he could travel afoot. Similar treatment shows his progress through the eras of the Viking ship, the camel, the wooden wheel, the sailing ship, and so on to the day of the airplane when the final episode portrays man circumnavigating the world in a week.

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Wednesday
Dec302009

Miss Futurama (1940)

Wearing a dress of the year 1960, Miss Futurama, Betty Crain, presents Harvey D. Gibson, chairman of the board of the New York World's Fair, with the General Motors streamlined car of 1960 in these photos from 1940.

The top photo is from the book Exit to Tomorrow: World's Fair Architecture, Design, Fashion 1933-2005. The bottom photo is from the New York Public Library.

From Leo Casey, Director of Publicity for the World's Fair of 1940 in New York:

Indiana girls, employees of General Motors, stand by as "Miss Futurama" Betty Crain, of Kokomo, Indiana, presents Harvey D. Gibson, chairman of the Fair Board of Directors with a model of a 1960 streamlined automobile during the celebration of General Motors Day at the World's Fair of 1940 in New York. 

Left to Right -- Evelyn Reason, of Anderson, A.J. Schamehorn, Director of the G.M. exhibit at the Fair, Miss Crain, Mr. Gibson, [unreadable] Edwards, also of Anderson, Evelyn Harger, of Muncie, Myrtle Short, of Indianapolis, and Jean Stines, of Anderson. The girls all wear dresses of glass, rubber, acetate and rayon, known as "Dresses of 1960."

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Tuesday
Aug262008

Super-Highway of Tomorrow (1939)


While not spectacular to someone from 2008, this illustration of the "super-highway of tomorrow" was quite extraordinary to people attending the 1939 New York World's Fair. A concept drawing for the original Futurama, this image was found in the Official Guide Book to the 1939 World's Fair.

Read more:
Official Guide Book: 1939 World's Fair (1939)
Dawn of a New Day (1939)
Railroads on Parade (1939)
Memory of 'Tomorrow' (New York Times, 1941)

Tuesday
Jun102008

Real Picturephone? (1939)


This (most likely doctored) photo of a picturephone in 1939 or 1940 is featured in the book Exit to Tomorrow: World's Fair Architecture, Design, Fashion 1933-2005.

The weird thing is that I haven't been able to verify the authenticity of this photo outside of this book. In fact, it is rare to find mention of a working picturephone, with any degree of specificity, pre-1955. Anyone who might be able to shine a light on this is encouraged to educate us all. The caption to the photo appears below.

Charles F. Kettering, General Motors vice president in charge of research, appeared on the screen in the first demonstration of what might be termed the "television-telephone." By means of this equipment, which was the first of its kind ever operated in this country, Ernest L. Foss could see the person to whom he was talking. The apparatus was displayed at the formal opening of the Previews of Progress, General Motors Research's stage show at the fair.


See also:
Tomorrow's TV-Phone (1956)
Television Phone Unveiled (1955)
Futuristic Phone Booth (1958)
Governor Knight and the Videophone (Oakland Tribune, 1955)
Face-to-Face Telephones on the Way (New York Times, 1968)
Picturephone as the perpetual technology of the future
The Future is Now (1955)
Discovering the Videophone (1970)
A Ballad for the Fair (1964)