06 March 2008

1939 World's Fair: A look back at "The World of Tomorrow"

The year was 1939. Batman first appeared in the comics. The Grapes of Wrath was published. World War II began in the fall. It was also the year of:


The World's Fair!



"The World of Tomorrow"


Held in in New York's Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and themed "The World of Tomorrow," the event was open from April 1939 until the fall of 1940 and saw over 40 million visitors. Divided into various themes, technology, much like today, was emphasized as well as how life would change in the future. There was the electric farm and the biggie:


General Motors also included the Futurama exhibit, located in the Highways and Horizons Pavilion. Also included in this was the Westinghouse Time Capsule. More than just exhibits, there were things to do such as rides. One of the more famous ones was the Life Saver's Parachute Jump:


The links below are some of the best I have found for this resource. Take a few minutes and look them over. If you visit the archive.org site, please note the warning below for one of the films.

Have a great day, see you tomorrow!!!


World of Tomorrow

1939 World's Fair (Wikipedia)

Architecture and Interior Design for 20th Century America

Futurama (Wikipedia)

Futurama (Archive.org) movie

Archive.org (home movies* of World's Fair)
*Note, some parts of this movie I previewed had some NSFW or family scenes. Please watch your kids. It was all in context though of the fair...seemed to be anyway. As this is a family friendly blog, I wasn't sure about posting this, but the rest of the film has some good crowd scenes, etc. thanks...Tony

(1) American Memory Project
(2)American Memory Project-LOC Photographs Division
(5)American Memory Project-LOC Photographs Division


Andrew said...

I've never done any research into any of the World's Fairs. It's good to see the amount of content available from the LOC and Internet Archive.

Tony Bandy said...

Thanks for the note! There's a book out by David Gelernter that talks about this specific fair...I actually have yet to read, but am thinking about checking it out just to see if it's any good.

Some of the stuff at LOC, particularly the architecture is really cool.