USO Reveal: World’s Fair Tray

We are a little late to the party! Our object reveal is coming in a few days after a very busy, and seemingly short, April. But we are back! Back to bring you the reveal of the Unidentified Scrap Object. If you have not seen our last post, this is the time to go check that out. Take a guess as to what you think it might be then head back here to find out!

 

Each month we bring you an item that we found in our Snohomish recycling facility. We take in a lot of demolition recycling, which means we get some interesting objects popping around here and our Snohomish scrap metal yard. We show you a snippet of what the object is, give you some time to really think about what it could be, and then reveal it with a little bit of history.

 

So now here we are, the time I know you have all been waiting for, the reveal! Scroll down to see what it is.

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An ashtray! Did you guess right?

This particular ashtray has some pretty cool history. You can clearly see some type of modern looking sculpture on the front of it, and on the outside, you can see written, “New Your World’s Fair 1939”.

A Depression, a Fair, and a War

New York World’s fair was only one of two World’s Fair’s happening in 1939. The other was located in San Francisco (which the Golden Gate Bridge was constructed for). The New York Fair opened April 30th, just over 78 years ago, and the 150th anniversary of George Washington’s inauguration. The opening day brought in over 200,000 people. Six months after opening, World War 2 started. The fair would go on to bring in 45 million people and 48 million in revenue in the two years it was open. Unfortunately 67 million was invested in the fair and it was considered a financial loss, even bringing investors to file bankruptcy.

With the Great Depression hitting its height in 1935, a group of businessmen came together to create something that would lift the spirits of New York. This is where the idea to host the World’s Fair in New York came about. The Great Depression left people…well, depressed. It seems like that group perfectly planned out the World’s Fair since it opened the same year that the Great Depression ended. I have no idea how much of that was purposeful, but I am inclined to believe that it was a lot of educated guessing on their part.

The theme of the New York World’s Fair was the world of tomorrow, and their slogan was, “Dawn of the New Day”. Disney Land’s Tomorrow land was inspired by this. You can see the similarities in the shapes of the structures and Disney Land’s Tomorrow land.

The Exhibits

The fair included an incredible amount of attractions, exhibits, and zones. A stand out exhibit, and the one depicted on the ashtray is the Trylon and the Perisphere. The sphere was 180 feet while the cone was at 700 feet! It was designed by Wallace Harrison and J. Andre Fouiloux. The exhibit included a diorama (many of the exhibits included dioramas, apparently a hip thing back then) inside that depicted a utopian city. The diorama was named, “Democracy”. People waited hours to see many of the exhibits, including one where people were able to watch a robot smoke!

My personal favorite exhibit was Elektro Man, a robot that could walk, count on his fingers, and of course, smoke! Elektro man’s life would live on past the fair and he would go on to gain a dog, Sparko, in 1940 and even appear in movies. Elektro never got a female companion, though one was planned. With the war happening, aluminum was a hot commodity. So Elektro lives out his life in a museum, a robot man, and his dog.

A New Hope

The 1939 New York World’s Fair held a lot of memorable experiences. A time capsule, the first science fiction convention, a diorama for every idealistic future. Though, not much of it lives on in our minds. Here in Seattle, we have the Space Needle, San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge, and Paris has the Eiffel Tower. This fair did give something. It gave the people of New York, and all who visited, hope. The fair gave hope to people who had survived the Great Depression. The fair was necessary for the morale of a city.

 

 

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