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About JonasClark

  • Rank
    GE Progressland
  • Birthday 05/05/1979

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  • Location
    Seattle, WA
  1. The Unisphere

    The LAX building, if it used to contain a turntable, either did not when the "Encounter" theme was added, or the Disney team removed it. Either way, "Encounter" (now closed) was a really good spot-- amazing decor and design, and food that was, while high-priced, actually quite good. The reason the Space Needle or revolving restaurant tech wouldn't work for the Unisphere is easy to describe. There is a misconception, even depicted in drawings in several ads for the '62 Fair, that the entire thing turns-- the whole saucer goes around. Or, at least, the middle section does. As with all revolving restaurants, there is a ring-shaped, flat turntable inside; this turntable moves, but the walls, windows, ceiling and core do not. The ring rests on guide wheels all the way around. And yes, it takes a very small motor to turn one of these when it's well-balanced; the Space Needle turntable can be rotated by hand when the motor isn't running! It's relatively easy - in fact, I'd say, vastly easier - to balance a very wide rotating device. The best way to have made the Unisphere rotate would have been to built it on the tripod, which is a very stable support, then place that tripod at the precise center of a very large turntable, run on wheels at both edges and near the middle. To do this with fountains, a solid approach would have been to use a wider tripod so as to allow making the tripod's base taller. Then, recess the turntable below-grade in a mechanical room, and cantilever the pool over it from all sides, supported only at the outer edge, with an opening, with a low wall around it, at the center, where the tripod extends up and out. Last, add a mushroom cap just below the prongs of the tripod, overhanging the wall of the opening, to prevent water from entering. Here's a quick sketch diagram. The pool & fountains cantilever over the room below, on which the turntable (blue) revolves on wheels (red), turning the entire tripod (green). A shade or cover (brown) turns with the tripod and keeps out rain & drifting spray. Done at the correct speed, it would not have needed the same arrangement of lighting towers to create the illusion of day and night-- they'd only have to be facing one side of the globe, and would directly imitate the sun as the earth turns.
  2. The Dancing Waters were invented in 1928 in Berlin by Otto Przystawik, who made countless improvements, installing shows in a Berlin restaurant pre- and post-WWII. Harold Steinman saw the show around the late 1940s and requested that Przystawik develop a portable version; he actually already had one, which had been exhibited at garden shows and the like, but he updated it and made it even more portable. I haven't seen many shots of the touring units in action, and certainly not of the NYWF one. I'm hoping some people here have photos. I'm not sure why the "butterfly girl" was added here when she wasn't normally part of the touring shows. There were a number of touring units traveling around, not just one; Freedomland had one installed for a while, and Disneyland's lasted into the early 1980s. The tech involved in these was pretty spectacular, unusual stuff, and if anyone wants to know a bit more, I can describe it. It was very different from the show going on over at the Pool of Industry, and was more closely related to the 1939 NYWF Lagoon of Nations show, in that it was performed live by a person operating a switchboard; this was extremely demanding work, requiring many months of practice, and the routines were practiced down to an art. The company got passed down to Przytawik's son Gunter, and then to Gunter's son Michael; it's still in business as Waltzing Waters. Steinman, and then his wife, kept running the old touring shows for decades, never upgrading the technology, some parts of which were impossible to replace when they gave out.
  3. The SN HAS had some major remodeling, actually. I don't know dates. After the Fair, the entrance area was enclosed by glass. At some point in the 1980s, the "Skyline Level" was added at the location of the first cross-bars above the base. This ran for a while as a fast food type restaurant, was closed, and is now a rental space for parties. The restaurant was remodeled; 3/4 of the ring was "Eye of the Needle," which had passable food - but not worth the price, in my opinion. You were paying for the view. The remaining quarter was walled off as the "Emerald Suite," which was jacket-required, and had the same food at much higher prices. A cocktail bar was added to the observation deck level. The recent work did three things. First was the removal of the observation level bar - a real boon, so said workers I spoke with, who told me they often had to deal with drunk patrons up there. Second was the new building at the base - and all souvenir sales were removed from the observation level and were put there. Last was a full remodel of the restaurant, into one single space that's being called "SkyCity." The quality of the food went up - it isn't unusual food, but I think it *is* worth what they charge.
  4. Expo 67 official lava lamp?

    Cinerama3, I do have a few bubble lites. Those train lamps are in the class generically called "motion lamps". That particular one is 'Racing Trains' by Econolite, one of the biggest manufacturers, who made at least 40 different designs over the years, from the common Niagara Falls and forest fire to airplanes, buses and big rigs, antique cars, Mississippi steamboats, fireplaces and pot-bellied stoves (the latter so realistic that one placed in a collector's window made a neighbor call the fire department) and the "fountain of youth", showing Ponce de Leon and the mythical fountain on one side and an identically-titled image of a farm boy peeing in a stream on the other. Still got yours? Lots of firms made advertising motion lamps, too, and in the 70s a number were produced with trippy psychedelic patterns. Those, all of the above, really cover the entire range of animated home lighting: lava lamps, glitter lamps, heat-driven motion lamps, the 'color organ' and rain lamps. I collect all of 'em, as well as lots of other oddball items. I don't actively hunt out World's Fair items, but I pick them up if I find them and they're interesting to me. The only world's fair motion lamps I know of are a simplistic Trylon and Perisphere lamp by an unknown manufacturer, a Century of Progress lamp made in the 30s by Scene-In-Action Corp. (one of the few known lamps to try animating fireworks) and a 1962 Seattle Century 21 lamp by Econolite, featuring the Space Needle and Monorail on the front an a one-of-a-kind non-animated rear scene showing early concept art of the fairgrounds.
  5. Expo 67 official lava lamp?

    I collected rain lamps for a while, still have the best ones. Three or four manufacturers produced countless variants over the years. Problem is, they're dust magnets, they're hard to clean, and when you buy one the previous owner put cooking oil in, the cleanup is nasty because it congeals and the plastic lines turn yellow and brittle. The last part means restringing the lamp, and that's a pain because ALL those lines are one long piece. String up, down, tighten both. Do another up, another down, tighten all four. Another up and down, retighten all six, etc. There were also the so-called 'glitter lamps', another liquid effect like a lava lamp. They used the heat of the bulb to set up a convection current in the liquid, which made pieces of glitter swirl around in the bottle and sparkle. Many of these had stripes or spots of various colors affixed to the bottom of the bottle so the glitter sparkled in multicolor. The French definitely had the best and most creative glitter lamps. Attached, some of the many examples I've seen: round, oval, oblong, square, rectangular, trapezoidal, spherical; steel, aluminum, brass, ceramic, marble, wood, iron, plastic, stone, glass. All of these date to the 1970s. All are French except four, nos. 4, 6, 13 and 17 (l to r) in the bottom row which are Italian. Some funky glitter lamps also came from the UK, Germany, Denmark and Russia, as well as the US and Taiwan.
  6. Expo 67 official lava lamp?

    We wish! That'd be nifty stuff. The manufacturer headed from Chicago to China in about 2000, and the quality never bounced back again. The only high-quality lava lamps still being produced are by Mathmos from the UK, and a recent candle-heated lava lamp by Auras Glow in Canada. The only high-quality US-made lamps are vintage ones, which will set a collector back anywhere from $30-40 for a common model to upwards of $400 for rare lamps like the wall sconces, night lite with clown, music box lamp, planter lamps, Mediterranean and Aladdins Lamp models, square and oval lamps, and the non-electric lamp. The giant tripod-mounted floor model last sold for $1200.
  7. Expo 67 official lava lamp?

    Don't have any of those, though I do collect a lot of sixties and seventies stuff. Here is my largest display, of 37 lamps, in a collection of approx. 75 total. Unfortunately, I don't have the Expo lamp...yet.
  8. Expo 67 official lava lamp?

    Absolutely. Lava lamps work on the principle of the wax being a fractional amount denser than the liquid when cool, and slightly less dense when warm. The small cylindrical models used a slightly different density of wax from the larger models; being so small, the density difference between warm and cool has to be narrower. because of this, they tend to get what I call "consort syndrome" (the most common cylindrical model is called the Consort) wherein the lava's density changes slightly with age and, because the margin of error is so small, it all floats to the top and stays there. So far none of this model have been thus affected, which is a very good sign. Generally, despite this, Lava always made a high-quality product. This color was called red lava in clear liquid (the liquid tended to acquire a pinkish color after a while). The other colors were orange in yellow liquid (a true amber-orange) and green in blue liquid, but models had a tendency to be far more popular in one of their three (or more, a few models had more) colors than the others, judging by how many turn up; also, wholesale and catalog sellers sometimes resold only one or two colors of each model. If this was a custom model just for the fair, it may have come in only this one color. I'll ask the guy who has this one if he can send me an action shot.
  9. I (and a number of other people) collect vintage lava lamps. I've started to get active on other parts of the forums, but it just occurred to me to ask about this here. The main producer in the USA, Lava-Simplex, who called its product the "Lava Lite", used to produce a wide range of models, one for every possible decor - for example in 1968 there were fourteen models in production ranging from a small cylindrical cordless model which ran on a wax candle, to wall-mounted lamps, to a giant four-foot lamp on a wooden tripod. We've found non-lava novelty lighting with labels stating that it was either made or sold by Lava-Simplex Canada, so we know they had production, or at least distribution, there with an official firm or branch, not just a dealer or reseller. The confusing part comes with a lamp I first called the "volcano", since I had never seen it in any Lava Lite catalog. It was a little cylinder on a conical black base. Since then, two more have shown up, both with "Expo '67", the official logo, "Montreal, Canada" and the copyright mark screened in black onto the globe. Screen-printed globes weren't uncommon; they produced a child's night light with a clown on it, and "prayer lights" with a Cross or Menorah, as well as lamps with "Happy Birthday" or "Happy Anniversary", but this appears to be a genuine Expo '67 item. Since it has a textured black finish, one collector has dubbed it the "Apollo" model, claiming that its black conical base resembles a space capsule, and says the Apollo capsule was in the US Pavilion there. Has anyone seen one of these? Was the Apollo capsule really there? Are any of these hiding in plain sight in any background photos of the Pavilion? To prove they exist, I've attached a photo; so far, three of these have been found by Lava Lite collectors.
  10. Newcomer - Fountains and water at the fair

    I say that because I remember, years ago on some or other NYWF64 message board, a long argument over exactly where the source was of the light shining on the inner wall of the Solar Fountain's dome. I had not known whether the inside space was wet or dry; if dry, that'd mean the top had a recess for the spray ring, but had only glass lenses for the lights to shine up into the vertical spray. If wet, the top could simply be open, with spray from the ring both running over the dome AND falling down inside, and this larger opening would better explain the big patch of light on the wall.
  11. Notice the fountain is not running, which it almost always was. The stadium, which existed before the fair, is still there. The path you see people walking up to the upper left is still there, and exits through a gate just to the side of the grandstand, directly across from the Armory entrance; the gate is rarely open, but the one time I found it unlocked I made sure to explore the route thoroughly. The Spanish pavilion is, of course, gone, and there's a wall at the top of that hill, which is now full of trees and bushes. At upper left, immediately to the right of the Armory building, is the blocky steeple of Sacred Heart Church, which is still there. To this day, most sporting events I see in the Memorial Stadium are underattended.
  12. Journal of Mormon History

    So what happened with the Mormons in Seattle 1962? I don't remember anything Mormon in any guidebooks I've read.
  13. Some different views of General Electric

    That kaleidoscopic panel design was later used in "color organs"* for stereos in the 70s, and is pretty simple stuff. You take a sheet of that prismatic semi-clear plastic used for drop-in fluorescent lights, still sold at hardware stores (it needs a steady pattern - the kind with bumps as sharp as little pins works) and put a small light bulb behind it, and it'll make that nifty star pattern. The wall probably had different colors on the grid that turned on and off, just like color organs did later. It wouldn't be hard to reconstruct one panel like that. *A "color organ" was a wooden box with a sheet of that plastic in the front and a grid of little colored lights inside. Some had them respond to bass & treble, or just sound in general, either via a speaker or a direct wire to the stereo, while others had random-blink twinkle bulbs.
  14. Newcomer - Fountains and water at the fair

    Yes, NOT "Les Poupees De Paris". Those Krofft puppets have a very distinctive look. The Lunar Fountain has openings at the bottom of the dome support, meaning water flows inside as well. This may mean the Solar Fountain's infamous shot showing light shining inside is, indeed, possibly from an open hole in the top where the spray ring and upper white lights went through. That photo of the Lunar Fountain also shows, if you look close at near left, the twinkle lights for the light shields, which are (as I'd seen before in a night shot) on the inner side NEAR the points, not on top of the points as shown in the news article's diagram. Also, there are lights for the arch steams set between the twinkle light ring and the light shields; many photos don't show lights here. EPCOT Explorer, it's a nice view of the fountain, no? The cluster of vertical pipes in the nearest pod are the same thing as the splayed clusters visible in the centers of the pods to the upper and right of it: big, big water jets. The fireworks launching tubes were lower down, and had a temporary plastic cover snapped onto the top, to keep out water until the charge was fired. All the pods, even the small ones, contained a few water nozzles (as far as I know, the tiniest ones, like the round one shown, had only a single central cluster nozzle), a few light boxes, and a few fireworks tubes. If anyone has shots (large preferred, but any size) looking down into the pods from above or taken by people standing inside them among the nozzles, they'd be as good as gold!
  15. Newcomer - Fountains and water at the fair

    Guess they WERE lights for the sun! Perhaps they quit working and were removed... Anyone have any shots of the Lunar Fountain empty?