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Original 1939 N.Y.W.F. Owens-llinois Glass Block Building Fragments & Aquacade Relics

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On offer are two (2) original and complete Owens-Illinois glass blocks from the 1939 New York World’s Fair, rescued from demolition in 1941 (the letter of provenance mentioned contains further information regarding these blocks). I have had a very small number of these in my collection for over a decade. One of these blocks was exhibited by the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. in Designing Tomorrow: America’s World’s Fairs of the 1930’s from October 2010 through 2011.

Condition is Extremely Fine. The blocks on offer are complete; both halves remain together. The original lead “weld” is structurally intact and there are ample traces of the original mortar from its C. 1938 installation. The blocks have minor imperfections from their manufacture, some light interior haze from condensation over the years, and some marks from removal and storage. They remains in excellent display condition, ready to be illuminated in your home or added to your collection. I will include copies of all related paperwork and provenance as well as a copy of the C. 1940 Owens-Illinois Catalog which shows these blocks. It should be noted these blocks are a direct match to those still seen in the Queens Museum (The New York City Building in 1939).
I attach a photo showing four blocks and further details are listed – this was adapted from the museum tag I wrote for the N.B.M. for its display. Additional photographs available on request.

Glass block, Owens-Illinois Insulux “Solar-Selecting” Design No. 2, 400 Series, Shade Aqua, New York World’s Fair, C. 1938.
Molded glass. Owens-Illinois Glass Company, manufacturer

"Hollow glass blocks, which greatly increase thermal insulation, were developed as building materials in Europe by 1902. The Structural Glass Corp. introduced similar blocks in the United States in 1929. By 1935, the Owens-Illinois Glass Company announced blocks sealed from moisture with lead. The glass block shown here, typical of those in many exhibit buildings, were collected from the demolished fairgrounds in 1941."

1939 N.Y.W.F. Glass Block

Please direct all inquiries to Eric K. Longo

1) Blocks measure 12” x 12” x 3 ½”. Weight is 14.5 lbs without packing.
2) A third block on which the lead “weld” failed is also available. It is separated into two halves, unbroken, with mortar intact. This allows the interior surfaces to be cleaned. Complete blocks have some minor haze from age related condensation which does not detract from display potential (the block displayed in Washington also had minor haze); this “open” block is available at a lesser price. Contact information above.
Does not include shipping and handling (estimated $75 for a single block in the continental US). Insurance is required.

post-434-0-59489900-1346119738_thumb.jpg Thank you, Eric

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Hi All,

While moving some thing to get at other things. I noticed one of my very 1939 NYWF few blocks had separated at the weld seam as mentioned above. This block is now in two even halves, both unbroken and original with no further condition problems. As one can now clean the interior of its original cloudiness, it will display better than its brother in D.C. and the other I know of in a private collection. I would be interested in selling this block to a collector, either the full item or one half - which will make a wonderful display surface! Shipping is costly for such a heavy item - perhaps local pickup? Maybe at the QM?

Photostream of show and one of the blocks:


The color photo of the U.S. Steel Building is from our Bill Cotter. There are other photographs in that stream as well. There is a member here who has a block just like this in his impressive collection. ;)

Anyone looking to own a bit of 1939, please drop me a line at magikbilly@yahoo.com


Best always,


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Hello All,

I still have some Pittsburgh Plate Glass/Owens Corning blocks from 1939 WF buildings. With provenance. Direst inquiries to magikbilly@yahoo.com. LIMITED. As seen in the QM current 39 display. Own a peice of the Fair!!!

Best wishes and stay safe,


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