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Trylon and Perisphere at the 1939 New York World's Fair Theme Center

An estimated 15,000,000 hot dogs and 15,000,000 hamburgers were consumed during the Fair's two seasons. The Fair had six fully-equipped and staffed first aid stations, five ambulances and a truck with a portable X-ray machine.

More than 1,000 public phones were installed in rest rooms, entrances to the exhibits, concession stands, subway and railway stations. The United States Postal System had a "World's Fair" branch with mail drop-boxes located throughout the Fair.

Trylon and Perisphere - Theme Center - 1939 New York World's Fair

Construction, promotion and operation of the Fair for two years cost approximately $160,000,000. When the Fair closed in 1940, its 45,000,000 attendees made up about $48,000,000, making the Fair a financial disaster and forcing the Fair Corporation to declare bankruptcy.

Trylon & Perisphere at night

The Lagoon of Nations night show was unlike anything that had been seen before. Every evening at 9:00 the spectacle began. The Lagoon used 1,400 water nozzles, capable of throwing 20 tons of water into the air at one time, 400 gas jets, 350 fireworks guns, and 3,000,000 watts of light (585 colored drum lamps and 5 giant spotlights). A band performed music written by Robert Russell Bennett in a studio a short distance away and the music was broadcast in stereo from great speakers.

Entrance to the Perisphere

The themes were "The Spirit of George Washington," "Fire Dance," "Isle of Dreams," and "Creation." Three technicians sat in the United States Government Building before a console that controlled the nozzles and gas jets, following a "score" that unscrolled before them under glass, like a player piano. This instructed them when to throw the switches in time with the music.

Bridge between the Trylon and Perisphere - from Ben Weston

The fireworks display was designed by John Craig who had staged a memorable one for Queen Victoria's Jubilee. Craig also developed noiseless fireworks. Joseph Jarrus, an expert gas engineer, developed gas nozzles for the colored flame display. The nightly cost was $1,000.

The critics raved! Talbot Hamlin said that the display deserved "to be called examples of a new art. The best of them are as emotionally compelling as they are exciting."

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