Last modified: 2012-01-06 by rick wyatt
Keywords: world's fair 1939 | new york | united states |
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image by António Martins, 3 December 2001
This flag was used during the Fair held in New York in 1939.
Dave Martucci, 9 December 1999
The buildings are the trylon (a pyramid, the "triangle") and the perisphere (a sphere, the "disc"), the two buildings, no longer standing, that served as the "trademark" to the fair. There were probably exhibits inside, and probably symbolism to their shape. I have no idea what the three lines are (maybe a design element linking the two). Next time I'm at the Queens Museum of Art, located at the site of the fairs (in the New York City pavilion from 1964, the original home of the United Nations), which has a large exhibit on the two fairs (1964 too) (along with an amazing scale model of New York City, containing every building), I'll check it out.
Nathan G. Lamm, 3 December 2001
From the novel "1939: The Lost World of the Fair" [Gelernter, David Hillel; New York; The Free Press; 1995; 418 pp.]:
On p. 148- "Five thousand different flags and banners are said to be up and flying at the fair, including flags of the exhibitor nations and their colonial possessions, of exhibitor states and private companies, and specially designed theme banners marking out zones, courts and exhibits."
On p. 182- "Once more there are fountains in play, right in front of the Marine Transportation Building & a huge colorful flag- an orange boat with white sails against a blue background. (The flag was designed by twenty-five-year-old Emrich Nicholson...He'd graduated from Yale with a B.A. in Fine Arts and worked as a textile and interior designer. In June of '38 he'd applied for a job at the fair's Board of Design; the board just happened to be looking for a flag designer. Nicholson also designed flags for the Aviation Building, the Court of Communication, the Public Health building, one of the Food buildings and the Amusement Area.)"
Ned Smith, 28 May 2002
"The Unisphere is a 12-story high, spherical stainless steel representation of the Earth. Located in Flushing Meadows – Corona Park in the Borough of Queens, New York City, the Unisphere is one of the Borough's most iconic and enduring symbols. It was called the Miracle in the Meadow, weighing 900,000 pounds. The Unisphere is the largest representation of the earth ever made: 140 feet high, 120 feet in diameter. The capitals of the major nations (of the existing countries back then) are marked by lights.
Sources: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unisphere, nywf64.com/unisph01.shtml
The Unisphere was selected among several proposals, such as "Journey to the stars" and the "Galaxon". The Unisphere was built by United States Steel Corporation.
The Unisphere ceremony was held on March 6, 1963. The official booklet describes the "Unisphere, symbol of New York World's Fair, is donated at the exhibit of United States Steel Corporation. It will tower 140 feet above a gigantic 340-foot reflecting pool, with its land masses of stainless steel supported on an open grid of latitudes and longitudes. It will dramatize the interrelation of the peoples of the world and their hopes of "Peace Through Understanding" Page 7. The credits at the end of the booklet do not mention any designers nor architects, but the sponsoring company's main executives.
The flag is based on the Fair's symbol (see nywf64.com/Image/unisph/unilogo.gif) and logo (early logo: http://nywf64.com/Image/logoearly.jpg and later logo: expomuseum.com/imagebucket/1964-logo.gif). For the correct use of the logo please see: nywf64.com/unisph04.shtml.
One can also see what may also be an early logo from this 1960 booklet with early Fair plans and outline (page 16). The entity in charge of the organization was the New York World's Fair Corporation, which had its own Board of Directors, Committees, Chairman, and staff (page 12-15), along with the respective government authorities (mainly the Mayor of New York City back then) plus respective sponsors, many of which had their own pavilions (stands) and were American corporate businesses, many of which still exist today.
For additional information on the Fair please visit:
www.worldsfairphotos.com/nywf64/index.htm (Main Index)
www.worldsfairphotos.com/nywf64/fair-corp/index.htm (Fair Corporation Publications)
Information about the Unisphere:
- Sponsor: US Steel.
- Location: Federal and State Area. Fountain of the Continents.Flushing Meadows, Corona Park
- Designer: Peter Muller-Munk Associates (Agency created by Peter Müller-Munk (Born in Germany, nationalized American, 1904-1967), located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- Landscaping: Gilmore Clarke.
- Creator: Gilmore D Clarke (American Civil Engineer, 1892-1982) of New York City.
- Cost: $2,000,000. (1960's)
- Size: 140 feet (12 stories) tall, 120 feet in diameter.
- Base: 20 feet.
- Pedestal Construction: Cor-Ten Steel.
- Stainless Steel: 470 tons.
- Structural Elements: 500.
- Reflecting Pool: 310 feet in diameter.
- Framework: approximately 7,700 feet of Stainless Steel.
- Bolt Construction: T-1 Steel.
- Land Masses, Parallels and Meridian Construction: Stainless Steel.
- Earth Tilt: 23.5 degrees.
- Orbital Rings (3): 3 tons.
- The Orbital Rings symbolized the first man-made satellites.
- Was built on the same "foundation" that supported the Perisphere.
- Enormous stresses would be put on the structure because the Continents are not evenly distributed. High-speed computers were needed to process the large numbers of mathematical equations necessary for construction. One problem alone required the use of 670 equations processed simultaneously.
- US Steel funded the construction in exchange for the publicity.
- The Unisphere had the dimensions of the Earth as viewed from 6000 miles in space.
- Capitals of prominent nations were illuminated with lights.
- One additional light was placed at the Caughnawage Indian Reservation (off the St Lawrence River between the US and Canada). This was to honor the 50 Mohawk Indians who built the Unisphere. And without a single injury.
- Was the World's Largest fabricated structure made with Stainless Steel.
Esteban Rivera, 5 July 2010
The theme of the Fair was the 150th Anniversary of the Inauguration of George Washington in New York. In 1935, at the height of the Great Depression, a group of New York City retired policemen decided to create an international exposition
to lift the city and the country out of depression. Not long after, these men formed the New York World's Fair Corporation, whose office was placed on one of the higher floors in the Empire State Building. The NYWFC elected former chief of police Grover Whalen as the president of their committee. The slogan (for 1939 was "Building the World of Tomorrow with the Tools of Today") and (for 1940 was "For Peace and Freedom"). The Symbol was the Trylon and Perisphere, located on Flushing Meadows (Corona Dump), Queens, New York. The fair lasted from 30 April 1939 - 31 October 1939 and 11 May 1940 - 27 October 1940. The cost at the time was USD$155,000,000. The Exposition President was (1939) Grover A Whalen
and (1940) Harvey Dow Gibson
Since the flag is inspired on the symbols Trylon and Perisphere (www.lib.umd.edu/artarch/exhibition/1939-40_ny/gallery1.html and community-2.webtv.net/@HH!54!A9!D38988CC830C/WarHistory/The193940NewYork/), I guess it's worth mentioning some facts about them:
The Trylon and Perisphere was designed by Henry Dreyfus and the Architects were Wallace K. Harrison and André Fouilhoux (who also built the Rockefeller Center). The structures were initially to be constructed of concrete. But due to the expense, it was changed to a steel frame construction with stucco. One of the original plans called for a sphere suspended by wires. It was later changed to a sphere supported by pillars. 1,000 timber piles weighing 6,000 tons supported the Trylon and Perisphere. The Trylon and Perisphere were connected by a giant ramp called the Helicline. The Trylon planned Ssze was 700 feet tall, 3 sided, but ended at 610 feet tall, 3 sided. The original size was reduced due to budget limitations. The name is derived from "tri" meaning three-sided and "pylon" meaning "monumental gateway". Planned Size: 18 stories tall, 200 feet in diameter. The Perisphere was planned at 18 stories tall, 180 feet in diameter, with a circumference 628 feet, supported by 8 steel columns on a concrete ring which sat on 600 piles. The original size was reduced due to budget limitations. The name is derived from "peri" meaning "beyond, all around, about". The revolving balcony around the Perisphere was called 'The Magic Carpet'. Inside the Perisphere, there was a showcase of the "Democracity", a planned city of tomorrow, in the year 2039, of an estimated population of 1,000,000 inhabitants. The Trylon and Perisphere were connected by a giant ramp called the Helicline, 950 foot long, 18 feet wide. The idea for a ramp to join the two structures was derived from drawings by a Soviet constructivist architect named Jacob Tchernikhov.
www.worldsfaircommunity.org/index.php?app=core&module=attach§ion=attach&attach_id=467 (PDF Document with blueprints)
www.worldsfaircommunity.org/index.php?app=core&module=attach§ion=attach&attach_id=468 (PDF Document with blueprints)
www.worldsfaircommunity.org/index.php?app=core&module=attach§ion=attach&attach_id=470 (PDF Document with blueprints)
Esteban Rivera, 10 July 2010
I found on a philatelic forum a scan of the souvenir stamps issued for the World's Fair in New York 1939. One of the stamps shows the Fair's flag, but the colour of the objects is white, not orange. Maybe it is just "a tooth of the
time". However, it is nice to see it: www.stampcommunity.org/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=558.
Valentin Poposki, 22 March 2008
image by Dave Martucci, 4 July 2010
The 1939 World's Fair in New York certainly flew the flag shown at the top of this section. However, on August 3, 1937, Robert Foster, Assignor to the New York World's Fair 1939, Inc. was awarded US Patent #D105485. I am attaching a gif of the image in the Patent Docs. As you can see, the Corporation that put on the fair in 1939 had a very different design patented. I'll bet there is an interesting story here, one I may follow up on someday.
Dave Martucci, 4 July 2010
It is an unequal vertical triband of orange and blue (approx. specs: ~15:(8+11+8) = 5:9) white with a "stencil" style logo on it, blue with thick orange fimbriation, featuring the head and raised arm of the Statue of Liberty and the date 1939.
António Martins, 4 July 2010