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Entries in new york world's fair (19)


Official Guide Book: 1939 World's Fair

The motto of the 1939 New York World's Fair was, "Science Finds, Industry Applies, Man Conforms."

And you wonder why 1930's America was afraid of automation! It was practically the theme of the '39 Fair that Man would adhere to the will of whatever Science and Industry dictated. An international fear of robots in the 1930s seems downright reasonable when seen through that lens.

The Official Guide Book to the 1939 New York World's Fair is a beautiful, hardbound book full of paleo-futuristic delights. The introduction to the guide book appears below. I recommend listening to the official theme song of the Fair, "Dawn of a New Day," while reading the intro.

To the millions of Fair visitors, assembled from the many nations of the world, we bid a hearty welcome. During more than four years we have labored mightily to provide you with the great spectacle which you now see. The talents and genius of many men and women - architects, designers, artists, engineers, industrialists, businessmen, civic leaders, and educators - have been assembled to give graphic demonstration to the dream of a better "World of Tomorrow:" that world which you and I and our millions of fellow citizens can build from the best of the tools available to us today. We show you here in the New York World's Fair the best industrial techniques, social ideas and services, the most advanced scientific discoveries. And at the same time we convey to you the picture of the interdependence of man on man, class on class, nation on nation. We tell you of the immediate necessity of enlightened and harmonious cooperation to preserve and save the best of our modern civilization. We seek to achieve orderly progress in a world of peace; and toward this end many competent critics have already noted marked progress.


The completed Fair is a living, eloquent tribute to the men and women who planned, built and operate it - to the executives and many members of a loyal and talented staff. Tribute to each and every one who worked to translate a vision into a pulsing reality.

This is your Fair, built for you and dedicated to you. You will find it a never ceasing source of wonder. We feel that it will delight you and instruct you. But in the midst of all the color, and rhythm, and music and festivity you cannot fail to receive that more serious message: how you and I and all of us can actively contribute, both for ourselves and for our communities, toward that better "World of Tomorrow" to which we all look forward.

With this brief but cordial message we present you to your Fair.

See also:
Our Dread of Robots (1932)
Dawn of a New Day (1939)
Technology and Man's Future (1972)
Restaurant Robots (1931)
Donald Duck's "Modern Inventions" (1937)
All's Fair at the Fair (1938)
"I Can Whip Any Mechanical Robot" by Jack Dempsey (1930s)
Robots vs. Musicians (1931)
The Robot is a Terrible Creature (1922)
Gigantic Robots to Fight Our Battles (Fresno Bee, 1934)
Mammy vs Robot (Charleston Gazette, 1937)
Railroads on Parade (1939)
Memory of 'Tomorrow' (New York Times, 1941)



Auto-Tutor (1964)

This "auto-tutor" from the 1964 World's Fair is very similar in concept to the "homework machine" we looked at from 1981. The photo above can be found in the Official Souvenir Book of the 1964 New York World's Fair.

The Autotutor, a U.S. Industries teaching machine, is tried out by visitors to the Hall of Education. It can even teach workers to use other automated machines.

See also:
Homework in the Future (1981)
The Answer Machine (1964)
Learning in 1999 A.D. (1967)
Connections: AT&T's Vision of the Future (Part 7, 1993)
The Road Ahead: Future Classroom (1995)
Closer Than We Think! (1958-1963)



A Ballad for the Fair (1964)

In 1964 Bell System produced a film about the New York World's Fair, which highlights the history and future of communications. Of course, the future of communications would not be complete without the eternal promise of picturephone.

A clip of the film, including a look at the Bell System ride, appears below. You can watch the entire film at the Older Than Me blog.


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)



Bell Aviation's Rocket Pack (1964)


GM's Shopping Cart Car (1964)

Today we have a color photograph of the GM concept car we looked at back in August. The three-wheeled car was on display at the 1964 New York World's Fair and had a shopping cart which was detached directly from the rear of the car.

The color version of this photo is featured in the excellent book Exit to Tomorrow: World's Fair Architecture, Design, Fashion 1933-2005.

See also:
GM's Three-Wheeled Runabout (1966)
Automobiles of the Future (1966)
GM Car of the Future (1962)
Sports Car of Tomorrow (1966)
Transportation Exhibits at the New York World's Fair (1964)
To The Fair! (1965)
Amateur Photos of NY World's Fair (1965)


Dawn of a New Day (1939)

The 1939 New York World's Fair song "Dawn of a New Day" was written by George and Ira Gershwin. Unfortunately, I don't remember where I found the song so I can't give credit where credit is due. You can listen to the song here.

See also:
Railroads on Parade (1939)
All's Fair at the Fair (1938)
Memory of 'Tomorrow' (New York Times, 1941)
Donald Duck's "Modern Inventions" (1937)
Metal Man Comes to Life (1939)


Amateur Photos of NY World's Fair (1965)

Flickr user ninecormorants has a great collection of amateur photos from the 1964/65 New York World's Fair.

See also:
Transportation Exhibits at the New York World's Fair (1964)
To The Fair! (1965)