Past Forward

Activating The Henry Ford Archive of Innovation

Posts Tagged world's fair

Welcome, Eames Kiosk

December 13, 2013

Earlier this year in June, The Henry Ford acquired an original kiosk designed by Charles and Ray Eames for use in the IBM Pavilion at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. The kiosk, one of two known to survive, was designed to resemble a colorful tent-like structure, complete with pennants.

Constructed of iron, walnut and plastic laminate, it originally housed interactive exhibit elements that were part of a huge program created by the Eames office to explain the impact and uses of IBM’s computing technology. The kiosk was saved by the contractor who had been awarded the task of demolishing the pavilion at the fair’s end. Another example is known to have survived—used by the Eames Office to explore installation options but never used at the fair itself. It was acquired by Vitra in 2006.

The kiosk is currently with our conservation department being conserved and will be coming to the floor of Henry Ford Museum next year.

To get an idea of how the kiosks were used in the IBM Pavilion, take a look at this video from Eames Office. You'll miss it if you blink, but you can catch a very small glimpse of our kiosk at the 1:45 mark in the right corner of the video.

Make sure to check back to the blog and our Facebook page for kiosk updates.

Eames, IBM, midcentury modern, World's Fair

Donna Braden, Curator of Public Life, had the pleasure of delving into our vast collections to develop the “Ford at the Fair” display, our complement to the traveling exhibition “Designing Tomorrow” that is currently in Henry Ford Museum. Take a trip back in time with her in today's blog post as we head to to the fair.

Welcome to the Ford Building at Chicago’s Century of Progress Exposition here in the year 1934! We hope that our exhibits will inform and inspire you, along with the millions of other visitors we expect to attend the fair and see our exhibits this year. Henry Ford has a passion for world’s fairs and he is always enthusiastic about showing the public how we do things at Ford Motor Company.

Sales Brochure, "Know the Thrill of Driving the New Ford V-8," 1934

How far we’ve come since Mr. Ford invented his first car, the Quadricycle. And although we are currently deep in an economic depression, our exhibits will surely impress upon you how busy we are developing new products for your current and future enjoyment.

Brochure, "Ford at the Fair," Century of Progress Exposition, 1934

We are proud to boast the largest corporate exhibition at the Century of Progress Exposition this year—11 acres in all! Our stunning Exposition Building was designed by Albert Kahn, who has designed many buildings for us, including the exceptional Ford River Rouge Plant. Mr. Kahn cleverly planned the circular court in the center of our Exposition Building to simulate a graduated cluster of gears.

Now come inside for a closer look at how our exhibits present the fascinating story of the Ford motor car.

Globe in Court of the World, Ford Exhibition Building, Century of Progress International Exposition, Chicago, Ill., 1934

First off, you’ll see our centerpiece exhibit, “Ford Industries Cover the World.” This huge rotating globe identifies the locations of our company’s production plants around the world. Our company is truly international in its reach.

Presenter inside the Rotunda of the Ford Exhibition Building, Century of Progress International Exposition, Chicago, Ill., 1934

Circling the outer edge of the center court we present “The Drama of Transportation,” showing the evolution of horse-drawn and horseless carriages leading all the way up to our modern 1934 Ford V-8.

Quadricycle inside Replica of Henry Ford's Workshop, Century of Progress International Exposition, Chicago, Ill., 1934

Now let’s turn left and enter the smaller wing of the building. Here you’ll find the “Henry Ford Century Room,” celebrating 100 years of mechanical progress. This room includes early electric generators brought here from Mr. Ford’s growing collection at his museum in Dearborn, Mich., along with his first workshop and his first car.

Booklet, "The Industrialized American Barn," 1934

Beyond this room you’ll see exhibits reflecting Mr. Ford’s interest in bringing together agriculture and industry, particularly his passion for growing and processing soybeans for car manufacturing. Mr. Ford even staged an all-soybean meal here recently, where he invited 30 reporters to partake of several specially made dishes. The reporters were not so sure about soybeans in their food but they had to admit that the future of soybean-based plastics, paint, and oil looks bright!

Menu of Soybean Dinner Served at Ford Exhibit, Century of Progress, Aug. 17, 1934

Now let’s head over to the large wing on the other side of our Exposition Building. Here we have many exhibits that showcase our modern industrial practices.

Out of the Earth Exhibit, Ford Exhibition Building, Century of Progress International Exposition, Chicago, Ill., 1934

For example, inspired by Mr. Ford’s passionate interest in using natural materials to manufacture car parts, our “Out of the Earth” exhibit demonstrates how natural resources—like iron, aluminum, rubber, asbestos, and of course soybeans—go into the making of specific parts of the Ford V-8, mounted on top as a cutaway view.

Proof of Safety Exhibit, Ford Building, Century of Progress International Exposition, Chicago, Ill., 1934

Farther down this wing, you can see the amazing “Proof of Safety” exhibit. Here three Ford V-8’s are suspended from the rim of a welded steel wheel of the type used on all our Ford V-8 cars. This should assure you of the strength and dependability of the modern cars we are producing.

Souvenir Brochure, "Roads of the World, Ford Exposition, 'A Century of Progress' Chicago," 1934

While you’re touring the many exhibits and demonstrations at the Ford Exposition building today, be sure to visit our impressive “Roads of the World” display outside. This large oval track features 100-foot-long sections that resemble 19 world-famous thoroughfares, ranging from the earliest Roman roads to the smooth paved highways of today.

Alas, our time is up. We hope you enjoyed your brief tour today, and are as excited as we are about the bright future we all have ahead of us.

Thank you for visiting and come back soon!

A complete gallery of items used in this display can be viewed at Ford at the Fair Exhibition.

fairs, World's Fair