|Fireworks at the Century of Progress Chicago World's Fair in 1933-34. Postcard published by Max Rigot Selling Co., Chicago.
That exhibit and many others at the fair showed what the future might be like. It gave people a glimpse of modern homes equipped with sleek refrigerators, ranges and washing machines. These items were expected to hit the market in the 1940s; however, World War II put things on hold for a while.
The main fairgrounds were located on Northerly Island and the present site of the Museum Campus. Unlike the mostly government-funded World’s Columbian Exhibition 40 years earlier, the Century of Progress was largely paid for by large corporations and companies, and many showcased their products at the fair.
|Fountain at night at the Century of Progress Chicago World's Fair in 1933-34. Postcard published by Curt Teich & Co., Inc., Chicago.
The Ford Building, which was one of the most popular attractions at the fair, demonstrated vehicle production techniques and showcased transportation-related products.
The midway was a place where people could have fun at the fair. A popular air tram ride rose over 200 feet above the fair, giving riders a bird’s-eye view of the exhibition grounds. One of the hits on the midway was American burlesque dancer Sally Rand, part of the Streets of Paris exhibition. Another popular exhibit was the “Infant Incubators with Living Babies,” where a new technology to help premature babies was put on display.
Not all people felt the exhibitions at the fair were appropriate. One exhibit, the Darkest Africa show, openly ridiculed African-Americans. And some restaurants at the fair refused to serve African-Americans. In turn, some boycotted the fair.
Thousands of postcards and photographic images were produced by various companies for the fair; 25 of these postcards are shown here. By far, most of the postcards were linen, which contains a high percentage of rag content. Linen postcards often made for blurry images but produced spectacular colors. I especially like the night postcards from the fair, as the colors jump right out at you. This post features the night postcards from the fair first, followed by daytime color images and then black-and-white images.
|"Rocket Cars" crossing the lagoon at night at the Century of Progress Chicago's World Fair in 1933-34. Postcard produced by Max Rigot Selling Co., Chicago.
|The lagoon at night at the Century of Progress Chicago World's Fair, 1933-34. Postcard published by The Reuben H. Donnelley Corp., Chicago.
Panoramic view of the Century of Progress 1933-34 Chicago World's Fair. Postcard publisher unknown.
Century of Progress 1933-34 Chicago World's Fair. Postcard published by The Reuben H. Donnelley Corp., Chicago.