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Event Coverage Ford at the World's Fair in 1934 and 1935

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jive-Bomber, Nov 6, 2018.

  1. Jive-Bomber
    Joined: Aug 21, 2001
    Posts: 3,143


    Jive-Bomber submitted a new blog post:

    Ford at the World's Fair in 1934 and 1935


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  2. Fordors
    Joined: Sep 22, 2016
    Posts: 1,615


    Regarding Ford's presence at the 1934 Century of Progress, after the 1933 fair Ford realized that a great public relations opportunity had been missed, and luckily for them, the fair commissioners decided that since the fair had made money in its first year, it would be held over for another season. That was a rare occurrence; world's fairs typically ran from May 1st through October 31st for one year.

    Henry Ford had lost his self-assurance during 1932-'33 when company fortunes slipped as Ford slid to third in sales. Fred Black, the Ford Motor Company publicist, tells us, "The reason we were not in the 1933 World's Fair was that we couldn't get Mr. Ford to make up his mind. We had gone over the plan, and the fair officials saw me a number of times. We were all set to go in and put on an assembly exhibit." Ford had shown an assembly line in 1915 at the San Francisco fair. Black continues, "We never got him over to look at the Chicago site. Then, finally, one day the fair representatives came in and said we would have to hurry to get into this fair and get anything done. Ford would have to get another idea, as General Motors had decided to build an assembly line." Naturally, Ford was angered and said he wouldn't have a damned thing to do with their fair. In a resounding success, 20 million visitors had seen the fair in 1933. They saw Hudson, Nash, General Motors, White, International and a host of others, but no Fords. In the waning days of 1933, Edsel Ford summoned Black to his office. As was typical, it was poor Edsel who reasoned with Old Dad, and between himself and Black, they convinced Henry to get into the 1934 fair. GM didn't undercut Ford; it was Henry's own waffling that did him in. The Rotunda on the fairgrounds was completed quickly, as were all the fair buildings, since they were never considered to be permanent. The structures were plywood and stucco, or siding, etc., with quickly finished interiors for the exhibits and/or sideshows for a fair season lasting six months.
    When the fair ended in 1934, it was decided that the Rotunda would be erected in Detroit. That building took 18 months to erect, as it was intended to be permanent and more substantial materials were used. At that time limestone was used for the facing of the structure.

    The "1933 Thirty Years of Progress" medallions that are often attributed to the Century of Progress only commemorate Ford's 30 years of existence and have no connection to the COP. Surely a nice collectible, but often misidentified.

    I have collected Century of Progress memorabilia almost as long as I have owned a Deuce and the above comments are from what I've learned about the fair over the years. Hank could often be ornery and he usually left his mess for others to clean up, no doubt that contributed to Edsel's health issues.

  3. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 1,866


    Seagraves fire engine company also was there showing their fire engines. Muskogee Fire Dept bought one of their display units. It was still active there when I hired on in 1979. It was sold to a collector in Alabama in about 2002 or so.

    kidcampbell71 and Deuces like this.
  4. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 6,055


    That's a great video. Just think, what was considered state of the art then is now old school.
    No such thing as political correctness. Calling people "midgets" today will get you in trouble.
    Most folks looked very "spiffy" back then.
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  5. 42˚18'N 83˚09'W
    Joined: Jul 29, 2008
    Posts: 114

    42˚18'N 83˚09'W

    I had the pleasure of going to the Ford Rotunda in Dearborn in March of '56 with my father and my uncle who was a Ford retiree. It was quite an impressive building to a 10yr old. The top of the Rotunda was lit with ever changing colors against the sky like display of "Northern Lights". Aurora Borealis to most folks. I remember they had among many other things on display a brand spankin' new '56 T-Bird and an 8N tractor. Sadly on my birthday (Nov 9th) in 1962 the building was destroyed by fire. Another case of "You can't go home again".
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  6. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 3,140

    from Colorado

    The Ford Rotunda in Balboa Park (San Diego) has been repurposed as the San Diego Air & Space Museum. There are several ‘35 Fords on display as well as a Ford TriMotor plane. It is next door to the San Diego Automotive Museum.

    As a side note, Drew Ford had a show room that was modeled after the Rotunda that was torn down earlier this year in La Mesa much to the consternation of local historians.
    classiccarjack, Deuces and Special Ed like this.
  7. junk yard kid
    Joined: Nov 11, 2007
    Posts: 2,713

    junk yard kid

    Yes the round house of values was a landmark. There is still the big v8 outside the museum, the outdoor theater next door was also built by ford.

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
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  8. patsurf
    Joined: Jan 18, 2018
    Posts: 218


    happy bday a couple days early....
    Deuces likes this.
  9. An old guy who worked at El Monte Ford gave me this shift knob when he retired. Said they were handing them out at the 1935 exposition.

    Shift Knobs 003.JPG
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  10. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 16,073

    from Michigan

    Gone but not forgotten..... rotundanight (1).jpg Ford+Rotunda.png 5a04935247572.image.jpg Ford+Rotunda+After+2.jpg
    kidcampbell71, Fordors and loudbang like this.
  11. Blade58
    Joined: Mar 5, 2012
    Posts: 289

    from apopka ,Fl

    Cool video
    Deuces likes this.
  12. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 3,140

    from Colorado

    Reproduction topper. Note the “traditional” HAMB plaque.
  13. classiccarjack
    Joined: Jun 30, 2009
    Posts: 1,181


    I was not happy with Penske for destroying that building. But it's all about $$$ for those greedy bastards. They even screwed me over on my business account with Drew Ford! Not nice at all...

    It's a real shame, that old Drew Ford building was very cool looking.

    Sent from my Moto Z (2) using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  14. What a wonderful video! I've often wished I could take my '34 Deluxe Coupe back in time to when it was new to wander through the country and experience everything in the movie. If only I could get my Flux capacitor to work!

    Sent from my SM-G900V using The H.A.M.B. mobile app

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