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1939 Worlds Fair

1939 World's Fair"The New York World's Fair, as everybody knows, by now, is so stupendous, gigantic, super-magnificent, a greatest-show-on-earth, that one could write a whole book about it," states the official guide book for the New York World's Fair, held in Flushing, Queens, from April 1939 until the fall of 1940. The fair's theme, "Building the World of Tomorrow," was expressed throughout the fair grounds, most obviously in the futuristic monuments constructed as the Theme Center—the soaring three-sided obelisk called the Trylon and the massive globe called the Persiphere. The Trylon and Perisphere appeared on nearly every fair souvenir, from the expected salt and pepper shakers to cameras and electric razors.

Inside the stunning Perisphere, one could experience the amazing exhibit by industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss and view "Democracity," the ultimate incarnation of the perfect World of Tomorrow. The amazing "Futurama" exhibit, designed by Norman Bel Geddes, could be seen from a pedestrian conveyor in the General Motors pavilion, emphasizing the avowal that "the progress of civilization has run parallel to advancement in transportation." In an effort to marry art and technology, many important industrial designers contributed to the fair pavilions, and artists created murals and sculpture that added to the beauty of the fair grounds. The results presented a wonderous, hopeful view of the future to the millions of fair visitors.

Fair buttonThe fair was the largest world exposition of its time. Thirty-three states and sixty foreign nations and international organizations participated. Among the hundreds of exhibitors, many unveiled industrial advancements, but the invention that had the greatest impact on our culture was the television, introduced at the RCA pavilion. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's speech at the fair's official opening-day ceremony on April 30, 1939, was America's first commercial broadcast.

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