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Bill Cotter

Some 1939-40 New York World's Fair images

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Supposedly the original sphere (the one here is a copy) is 410 cm in diameter. Being built by the same man they well might be the same size.

Thanks Bill, but the actual size doesn't matter - it's the known aspect ratio that counts. This is 1:1 for a sphere, of course. I have been struggling with using either the sphere or the circular pool, and I'm not sure I can compensate properly for all the perspective distortions. It's possible to get the right shape (it's always an ellipse), but identifying the correct tangent points is a problem (or even seeing them - on the sphere, one crucial point is hidden on the other side).

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Well, whether you can precisely pinpoint it or not, Wayne-- the good news is, now I know exactly who to contact the next time I have to write one of these godforsaken mathematical triangulation scenes for CSI! ;-0

(null)

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I was just comparing shot 004 and 008 to see if there was some way to use both to calculate depth (not sure - would be a lot easier if the photographer had only moved sideways), and realized that the sphere rotated - very nice!

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OK, here's the first try at a date.

First of all, I noticed that these photos must have been taken with an adjustable-back camera, as the perspective "lean-in" of the buildings was approximately corrected. 008 missed slightly one way, and 004 the other way.

Lookig at what was available to measure, I decided to try 008.

7512112752_8b06c84f69_c.jpg

008 - Court of States towards Pennsylvania by old_tv_nut, on Flickr

First tempting objects to determine vertical were the flag poles - nice and big - but it turns out they are not necessarily vertical. Note the uneven spacing.

7512113086_b7b572bf20_o.jpg

008 flagpoles irregular by old_tv_nut, on Flickr

In this picture, there is a man in uniform at the left with a clear shadow. Since he is standing on the ground, it is not necessary to go through the procedure I used on the 1964 TIC-TOC picture ot determine how far the bottom of an object is from ground.

First moves are to correct the perspective so building edges are vertical, and then draw black perspective lines along various railings, which will meet in the vanishing point for the camera position. Once the vanishing point is determined, red perspective lines can be drawn to the person of interest and his shadow. Horizontal and vertical green lines can then be drawn to give measurement dimensions for height and shadow x-direction length.

7512113304_35d1137533_c.jpg

008 - xy by old_tv_nut, on Flickr

Y = 800 pixels; X = 746 pixels.

The shadow is not directly to the right, however, and is seen in perspective. To correct this, a "perspective crop" is done in Photoshop. The perpective crop procedure starts with adjusting a grid to match the red perspective lines.

7512112138_b008300e42_b.jpg

008 - perspective grid by old_tv_nut, on Flickr

When the grid matches the perspective, pushing Enter corrects the perspective so that the red lines are now vertical. This means that pespective of shadows on the ground is corrected to a direct overhead view. Now, the shadow lies on a circle, and the X and Z dimensons can be measured. This picture shows the upper half of the circle and the X-prime and Z-prime dimensions. If the perspective transform changed X prime to be different from X in the other picture, the Z-prime measurement could be corrected to Z. However, the transform conveniently changed only Z, so this correction was not needed.

7512116714_4baa0926dc_c.jpg

008 xprime zprime by old_tv_nut, on Flickr

Xprime = X = 746 pixels; Zprime = Z = 52 pixels.

Shadow length = the hypotenuse = 747.8 pixels - a small correction compared to X, but enough to throw the date off.

Knowing the height (746) and shadow length (747.8), the altitude of the sun can be calculated from the arctangent as 46.93 degrees.

Hi Wayne,

You've got me inspired so I hope you don't mind if I take a shot at this. ^_^

I put the x' axis along the shadow and got an angle of 39 deg.- with a plastic protractor- I'm not that good with photoshop so I can't get it as percise as you did. But if I got this right I'd say somewhere around October 4 to October 7. Have to make allowances for margin of error.

I did it this way: the sun on June 21 summer solstice is about 52.7 deg (in NYC at about 41 deg N Lat), and if we calculate the number of degrees per day between solstices as about 0.128 Dividing the difference between the measured angle and solstice angle: 13.7 deg by 0.128 gives 106.9 days before or after the summer solstice. That's either March 7- too early or October 4- based on the jackets look just about right. Then again, I could be mistaken on several assumptions and be way off.

By the way I calculated this, the angle you found would give us Sept. 4 or May 7. Both dates are usually warm but a cold spell is possible. Time of day I'd have to know the angle of the shadows with respect to north.

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"I put the x' axis along the shadow and got an angle of 39 deg"

- OK, one side of the angle was the shadow, but not following what the other side of the angle was?

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I set the line from the tip of the shoe along the shadow the made a verticle line at a right angle from there. Like I said before, I used a plastic protractor. Not the most accurate means of measuring an angle on a photo.

BTW, looked up the weather for September and October of 1939 and it was mostly warm- high 70s to low 80s. Except on October 3 and 4 being around 55 degrees.

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I set the line from the tip of the shoe along the shadow the made a verticle line at a right angle from there. Like I said before, I used a plastic protractor. Not the most accurate means of measuring an angle on a photo.

? I guess I won't get it unless you draw it for me.

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H9i Bill,

now we "know" the flag atop the Jump was there for much more than closing week as some have written. George is half the height of the Unisphere!

Best wishes,

Eric

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Yes, it was very helpful that the negative file was dated.

George sure was big! I'm always surprised to see just how massive the statue was. My folks said it was very impressive and patriotic feeling.

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Yes, I'm still amazed that Fraser's Washington, Manship's Sundial, and a number of other key large scale sculptures weren't saved after the fair. After all, Fraser's "End of the Trail" still exists from the 1915 P.P.I.E.

(null)

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Yes, I'm still amazed that Fraser's Washington, Manship's Sundial, and a number of other key large scale sculptures weren't saved after the fair. After all, Fraser's "End of the Trail" still exists from the 1915 P.P.I.E.

(null)

What materials were used?

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The story goes, that even moisture from the fountain spray caused the gypsum to start to crumble, and left some of them hanging precariously from their interior chicken wire by the end of the first season. Between seasons, so the story goes, some of them were repaired and a layer of plaster coating added over the gypsum, which the thinking goes would help them hold up a little better to get them to October 1940.

Gypsum wasn't even a good SHORT term choice for an outdoor structure.

I remember what happened when I was a kid and had a gypsum cast on my broken foot, and being an active kid who didn't slow down for ANYTHING, I got it wet. It turned into what today we would call a "soft cast". :D

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Even if the original gypsum casts of these statues were not viable for long term salvage, you'd think they would have been cast in a more durable material such as marble or granite and placed elsewhere after the fair.

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Hello Exopboy,

"Even if the original gypsum casts of these statues were not viable for long term salvage, you'd think they would have been cast in a more durable material such as marble or granite and placed elsewhere after the fair."

And they were. Threads here cover this several times. The Astronomer in his sculpture garden which I posted about, The Four Moods once in New York's Sterling Forest or whatever it's called that Bill posted about (or was it Randy - there were two or three sets of slides in as many threads). And others and then the remaining ones like the King Jaigello (sp) in Central Park once in front of the Polish Pavilion. - all in bronze and all outdoor is various smaller but good size scale.

Randy's story is true in that I also believe it FWTW and of course the added 1940 supports and seemingly fresh heavier cream color seen on slides from 1940 on the Moods..

Best wishes,

Eric

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I remember the thread regarding some of the sculptures being placed in various places and I've seen in person the Poland Pavilion sculpture in Central Park. I believe the Polish Pavilion sculpture was originally cast in bronze so it was a relatively easy process to load it on a truck and drive it to Central Park. I'm surprised Fraser's George Washington statue wasn't recast in permanent materials and used at Mt. Vernon or on the Mall in D.C.

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Hi Expoboy,

I would be willing to bet a few reductions exist in cast metal and plaster too. The Ar,m of God, Lift up your whatever it is called, that was made several times in wood, gesso and silver leaf. I found one for $200 one time - jammed in a display case in the basement of a 12 story antique building that no one had the key to.

Eric

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bowling-green-night.jpg

Bowling Green

October 26, 1940

Hi Bill,

This is a great thread. I can't remember any of it, even my responses, so - really cool. The photo above proves what I had suspected - the July 4th color system was indeed used on closing night 1940. We had discusssed this long ago. That means I have a bunch of closing night color slides :D

Best wishes,

Eric

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A different angle on the Astronomer statue:

astronomer-under-perisphere.jpg

THIS is a monster slide, Bill. I don't know if I saw this before or not, but I'd think I would have said something. This is my favorite combination of subjects. I conclude I must have missed this.

Ah..."...it will all be new to me..." - Norman Thayer, Jr.

Eric

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The photo above proves what I had suspected - the July 4th color system was indeed used on closing night 1940. We had discusssed this long ago. That means I have a bunch of closing night color slides

One would think you'll be able to distinguish between the two on many of those slides by the amount of foliage on the trees. Bare sticks = October; Full leaves = July

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One would think you'll be able to distinguish between the two on many of those slides by the amount of foliage on the trees. Bare sticks = October; Full leaves = July

Hi Randy,

I did - that is somewhere in these old threads where I was asking Bill. That was my first clue but they are both very dark and very tight so was not certain. I wanted to be 100% sure.

Eric :)

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