World’s Fair Exhibit: Electrical Building

The Electrical Building is, architecturally, my favorite building of the Chicago World’s Fair, because I love the bas-relief panels.

The building was semi-circular and connected to the Radio and Communication building. Twenty companies were on display in the great hall, which was just through the entrance. On display were air conditioners, model kitchens, home appliances, a “fever machine,” and more. As the name implies, things on display were electric.

The court of the building is described as follows in my Official Guide Book of the Fair from 1933 (there were different guide books for 1933 and 1934):

“In the court a fountain sends up iridescent jets of illuminated water in a series of multi-colored steps. Out of the center of the fountain rises a 70-foot canopy. The under side, of hammered copper, chromium plated, reflects the color and disseminates it, and achieves a superb beauty.”

Why couldn’t this still exist today?! It sounds beautiful. This photo, from my personal collection, shows the Electrical Building across the lagoon. To the left are the great pylons, and if you can see the fountain in the court towards the center of the building.

This photo, also from my collection, is of the fountain and canopy.

Below is a linen card. “Showing a small section of the Electrical Group, which consists of three sections located on Northerly Island. Housed in the Electrical Group is Radio Hall where may be seen radios from the earliest stages to the present day receiving sets.”

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5 Responses to World’s Fair Exhibit: Electrical Building

  1. Mandy says:

    It such a shame they didn’t really keep any of the structures from the fair!

    Are you familiar with the history of the Ford building? I recently got a postcard folder of Detroit, and recognized the Ford Rotunda as the Ford building from the Century of Progress. It was relocated to Detroit after the fair (where it later burned down). I think there might be a few other buildings from the fair that were relocated, too.

    • moore5145 says:

      I don’t have the main Ford booklet that was given out from the fair, but I know Henry Ford visited the fair, and Ford was only at the fair in 1934. One of their main ideas was that the materials used in making cars came from the earth, and there is an item I see on eBay sometimes that is a box with different minerals and such in it given out at the exhibit.

      The houses (House of Tomorrow, Florida House, etc.) were relocated to Beverly Shores, Indiana.

  2. Mandy says:

    Oh yeah, that does look similar! When I searched for felt banners before, the only things that came up looked like pennants. There’s an antique store here that has a beautiful Century of Progress tapestry, but it’s like $400! I’d been looking for a souvenir of some kind for a while, but the stuff I come across is generally too expensive. When I found that $5 banner, it seemed like the perfect fit!

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