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Randy Treadway

More Mystery Photos

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Sadly, these are blurry so much of the wording on the displays is illegible.

But where were these exhibits?

At first glance I thought the center display must have a lot of moving parts (looking at all three photos), but then I noticed that the background displays are different, so these are likely 3 separate displays.

Research04.jpg

Research05.jpg

Research06.jpg

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Not much in the way of clues. Immediately proceeding is the Lithuanian Wayside Shrine, and immediately following is the single shot of the General Motors Pavlion milk trucks, followed by some Dinoland pictures.

So I guess the only logic string might be transportation area- so maybe Hall of Science?

It's not a straight walk from the Hall of Science to GM and then back to Dinoland, but I guess people didn't ALWAYS walk in straight lines did we?

What little is readable on the displays in the background (the larger lettered signs overhead) see to be showing different kinds of "Research". The one on the left in the first picture says Atomic Tool of Science.

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Looks like GM. In the close-up you can see signs for "Terrain Vehicle Studies", then "Adapting to the (Terrain??)" with pictures of cars, then "Off the Road (Vehicle? ???)" - so my bet is this was an exhibit area at GM - which would lead into the milk truck photo.

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GM it is... (thanks Bill!)

Compare to second photo:

GM003.jpg

Bill Cotter photo, Set 45, picture #059

GM004.jpg

Bill Cotter photo, Set 45, picture #058

Compare to third photo:

GM001.jpg

NYWF64.com photo

GM002.jpg

View-Master Photo, Set A676, Reel 1, picture #5

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Here's what I can make out of the various out of focus signs:

Research - Atomic Tool of Science

...A Pathway to Progress

Research - An Engineering...

...sion Research - Earth to....

...Terrain Vehicle Studies

Adjusting to the ---

Off The Road Vehicle "Challenge" (?)

Navigation For Aerospace Travel

GMX - Two Passenger High Performance "Personal"(?) Automobile

Ultra-High Velocities...

Cosmic Ray (?)---

LL

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The Cosmic Ray thing was a spark chamber (you can just read it when you know what it says) that created a series of sparks showing the paths of natural cosmic rays. You caould stand there and see how frequently cosmic rays were zipping through the room. I remember it now after seeing the picture, but couldn't remember where it was. Thanks for some great detective work.

-Wayne B

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Good work Wayne!  I would have never guessed Spark Chamber, but sure enough that looks like exactly what it spells out.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

One of the posted pictures actually shows a cosmic ray as an orange line in the chamber. Actually, the path is shown as a series of short sparks between the horizontal plate-shaped electrodes. The sparks are orang becuase of the neon gas used.

Guess what! I went back through my slides and found two shots I took of the spark chamber - one showed nothing, but on the other I actually caught a spark path. The reflections from the surrounding exhibits make it hard to see, but here it is, in the lower center of the chamber - and enlarged in the second image.

-Wayne B

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Awesome photo Wayne! Makes me want to take a step back to keep from being burned by the ray.

...something tells me Wayne (ol' buddy ol' pal) is sitting on a mother lode of super World's Fair slides. We're ready Wayne- start blastin' !! Show us what you have up your sleeve!

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<!--coloro:blue--><span style="color:blue"><!--/coloro-->Wow! Great photos, Wayne.

I regret to say that my only notable historical thought on cosmic rays comes from a comic book. I think of the Fantastic Four. When the four went into space (rushing out to beat the Russians from doing the same first, of course. This was the 1960's) They were bombarded by Cosmic rays which transformed them into super beings.

The rendering of cosmic rays, in that comic book, looked amazingly like your photo. I wonder if Jack Kirby (the artist of the before mentioned four color fantasy) was influenced by an exhibit much like this one? (He wasn't influenced by this exhibit, unless it existed in prior form elsewhere. The Fantastic Four #1 was published in 1961.)

As I grew, it was a bit of a disappointment to me to realize that super powers were much harder to obtain than being bombarded by cosmic rays, or by being bitten by a radioactive spider.

Any more photos, Wayne? I'm sure we'd all love to see them. I promise not to babble on about old comic books if you post them! <!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

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Thanks for the kind words.

Actually, my personal photos are rather sparse and, well, weird in selection of subjects. A lot of the pix didn't come out well because I was using a good camera that unfortunately I wasn't very familiar with, loaned to me by a friend of the family. If I had known how touchy the exposure setting would be, I might have used print film. I used slide film to save money, but a lot of my results are way over- or under-exposed. Somehow, the best exposures are usually some detail of a display, like a quartz-cutting machine, which doesn't seem very interesting now.

A few notable results are on the RCA pages at NYWF64. Even these required alot of exposure and color balance compensation. (Yes, that's me on the screen, 21 yrs. old and looking about 14.)

-Wayne B

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<!--coloro:blue--><span style="color:blue"><!--/coloro-->Bill makes a great point.

Those "weird shots" give us so much current information. Such photos fill in the blanks that memory does not allow.

I love all the more stereotypical photos of the fair, but, it's both refreshing and informative to see unique views.

Bring em on!<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

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Sadly, these are blurry so much of the wording on the displays is illegible.

But where were these exhibits?

At first glance I thought the center display must have a lot of moving parts (looking at all three photos), but then I noticed that the background displays are different, so these are likely 3 separate displays.

Research04.jpg

Oh, My goodness! Unbelieveable!!!! I just found this site, and this is my first posting.

I've looked for 42 years for this photo, and indeed, the very first photo I get when I search the site on "Spark Chamber" is, indeed the "World's Largest Cosmic Ray Spark Chamber", in the exit rotunda of the GM exhibit.

I was only eleven when I first saw this display, but having just seen the wonderful Bell Telephone educational film "The Strange Case of the Cosmic Rays", I was totally enthralled by this exhibit. I've been collecting parts to recreate a somewhat smaller version of this display since college. I now have everything I would need to recreate it, except, perhaps, a couple of free months for fabrication, testing, and tuning.

I've been actively looking for info about ths spark chamber for well over 10 years. An unanswered post to the Tesla Coil mailing list was discovered by a researcher in Leeds, England, perhaps 5 years after I placed it, and he directed me to Prof. Donald Meyer, at U. Michigan, who consulted on its design. Dr. Meyer was the world's leading expert on design of spark chambers at the time. I finally got in touch with him about 2 years ago, and he filled me in with what details he could remember about the construction of this display. Apparently, it was built in-house at GM. No one seems to know where it went after the fair.

Others have more recently recreated similar devices. I have a standing invitation to go down to Princeton, where there is a small (6"x 6") working model on display. See:

<a href="http://www.physics.princeton.edu/www/jh/ne...rk_chamber.html" target="_blank"><a href="http://www.physics.princeton.edu/www/jh/ne...rk_chamber.html" target="_blank"><a href="http://www.physics.princeton.edu/www/jh/ne...rk_chamber.html" target="_blank"><a href="http://www.physics.princeton.edu/www/jh/ne...rk_chamber.html" target="_blank"><a href="http://www.physics.princeton.edu/www/jh/ne...rk_chamber.html" target="_blank"><a href="http://www.physics.princeton.edu/www/jh/ne...rk_chamber.html" target="_blank"><a href="http://www.physics.princeton.edu/www/jh/ne...rk_chamber.html" target="_blank"><a href="http://www.physics.princeton.edu/www/jh/ne...rk_chamber.html" target="_blank">http://www.physics.princeton.edu/www/jh/ne...rk_chamber.html</a></a></a></a></a></a></a></a>

Prof. Shoemaker eMailed me the schematic of the electronic driver circuit for the chamber, and some details on its operation, which is pretty much a lost art now.

The NYWF photo must have been taken soon after the opening of the fair, as when I saw it, the glass cylinder was heavily coated with metal sputtered off the electrodes by the discharges. I could not remember seeing any of the detail of the plates inside it, as is apparent in the posted photos. I'm really glad to see the photo, 'cause the interior construction is entirely different than I would have imagined. I wonder if the horizontal plates were solid metal (the most common construction technique), or made of wire mesh, which would have allowed much better 3-D visualization of the spark path. The chamber was not operational when we when we went back in 1965.

My only disappointment is that it is so very much smaller than I remember. I recall it is the size of a 55 gallon oil drum, perched way above my head. I didn't remember all the cone shaped fairing above the unit, either. I now know that there were scintillation plates above and below the display cylinder which triggered the high voltage pulse after the passage of a cosmic ray particle through both plates. Of course, your perspective an an 11 year old is somewhat different than that of an adult. Dr. Meyer ultimately went on to build a chamber that was a cube, 8 feet on a side, before other, more precise detection and localization techniques became available.

If anyone has any more photos, recollections about the operation of this display, or its ultimate disposition, I would be most grateful to hear about them.

Thanks in advance!

David D. Speck MD

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Welcome to PTU Doctor Dave!

Sounds like you're much more technically advanced than many of us (myself being one who would find difficulty explaining the difference between a watt and an amp and a volt ).

I would have thought a display like this would have been 'static' rather than a real working model, until Wayne found that picture that actually captured one of the sparks. And your recalling actually seeing the glass cylinder coated with metal residue kind of cements it.

Just now I went and looked at my collection of digitized pictures of this "Avenue of Progress" area in the General Motors Pavilion- currently 41 digitized pictures- but I couldn't find any more of the Cosmic Ray Spark Chamber than you see shared in this topic.

However, I'm scanning new NYWF pictures all the time- probably fifty or sixty a week- and there's probably about a thousand I haven't even got to yet.

So who knows what we might uncover! All I can say is.....check here every day for new gems!

....And BY ALL MEANS...post your own topics here about the G.M. exhibits that you discover and feel free to comment about other stuff you see. Lots of fun here, and a lot of amateur reverse engineering too!

(you should have seen some folks here reverse engineer a Dukane sound horn box solely from photographs a couple of years ago, and then when we actually got our hands on one, they had it torn down in mere minutes and confirmed that their reverse engineering theory was 99% correct by getting it working within about a half hour. Wayne is one of those 'how does it work' gurus, and we've got some others here with some expertise in various fields, who can contribute too. Doug is our resident expert in the printing/publishing field, for instance. And we've got links to people who worked in a lot of the pavilions too; sadly nobody that I recall (so far) at General Motors though.

What part of the country are you in?

Groups of us (3 areas in particular- L.A. area, midwest, and NYC area) get together now and then to chew the fat about World's Fairs, especially '64-65, show off newly discovered 'goodies', and have a good time in general.

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Randy,

The display was definitly operative. About every ten seconds, there was a lout snap accompanied by a ruby red streak passing at a random angle through the chamber. Just knowing how it worked was thrilling to me, though no one else in our party seemed much interested. I remember the flash as being much more red than the photo shows, more like the color of a red laser pointer than the orange color in the photo. The gas in the chamber is probably standard spark chamber mixture -- 90% neon, and 10% helium, saturated with ethyl alcohol, a quenching agent that prevents the whole cylinder from lighting up like a neon sign after each discharge. The display probably ran at atmospheric pressure, and it would require a continuous supply of new gas, albeit at a low rate, to replace the neon that was trapped by the sputtering effect of the sparks. Supplying the gas for two years could get pretty costly.

I have a former high executive of GM as a patient, but he says that their company archives are not open to the public, and even their own staff can get acceses only on a "need to know" basis. I've thought of going back to NYC to see what if anything is in the NYPL archives, but I have a hard time getting away from work.

I do eye surgery for a living, but electronics (particularly high voltage stuff) for fun. As long as you don't disturb the neighbors too much, there are no restrictions on what you do with electronics. OTOH, if you try to do medicine for fun, they put you in jail!

I live in Auburn, NY, right in the middle of the state, about 280 miles from Flushing Meadows. I can't say I have a lot of NYWF memorabilia -- just a couple of fliers I picked up recently at a local antique shop. What I wouldn't give to find all the souveniers I brougnt back from NYS a long time ago, like the autograph of the carilloneur who played at the Coke Carillon, or my Futurama pin. I do have one of the white "egg" chairs that I believe was in the Bell Telephone ride.

The spark chamber is a neat combination of mechanical engineering, high voltage power circuitry, nuclear physics, high speed signal processing, and vacuum technology. The voltages in the chamber drive circuit can easily be lethal, so you do have to exercise extreme caution working with the device. Your first mistake can easily become your last. Through the magic of eBay and the internet, I have been able to collect all the parts I'd need to recreate it. Nice thing is that there's nothing really all that hard about building one.

I found one of the other posters who offers a CD of sounds of the Fair. I'm sure that will bring back a lot of memories.

Now, I have to see what is posted about the nuclear fusion exhibit in the GE pavilion. All I remember is that you couldn't see much except some guys in white coats. I think I was too short to see over the railing into the demonstration pit. I still wonder what happened to that exhibit, and how it worked. Of course, there is now a little tabletop device that allows even a high school student to make dangerous levels of neutrons from real nuclear fusion on a table top for less than $100 (Google for "Farnsworth Fusor").

I'm also going to see if I can find some extended movies of the high voltage exhibit in the GE pavilion at the '39 NYWF. I've corresponded with one of the engineers who knew the designer of that display. It's a shame that there is no place where you can see that sort of demonstration any more.

If there are any NYWF enthusiasts in central NY, I'd like to get to know them.

All the best,

Dave

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You have one of the Bell chairs? WOW!!!!

There was one in a 1985 retrospective exhibit at the Queens Museum of Art...

1985_NYWF_retrospective_in_Queens.jpg

.....but I don't know that anybody here has seen one since then. Does yours look like this one?

I think we've got some stuff here somewhere on how the GE fusion demo worked. Will have to look for it....

Here it is:

During each demonstration, such as the one you saw, a plasma of deuterium gas is created with a quartz tube, around which is placed an electrical coil that produces an intense magnetic field (sometimes called a "magnetic bottle"). A high bank of capacitors is charged to 60,000 volts. As the countdown reaches "0", an automatic control discharges the capacitors, releasing a tremendous electrical current of a million amperes into the coil around the tube. Within the tube, the current "squeezes" and heats the plasma, producing large numbers of deuterons (deuterium nuclei) having energies equivalent to those which would exist at a temperature of 100,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit. As the capacitor bank is suddenly discharged with a bright flash and loud "bang," the deuterium nuclei inside the quartz tube collide and "fuse" producing energy measured by the output of neutrons. The fusion reactions take place during about six millionths of a second.

Evidence of the fusion reactions is demonstrated on large oscilloscope screens, and electronic digital-counters record the actual number of neutrons released during each experiment.

Should we warn your neighbors when you build one of those in your garage?

(don't worry, we won't report you to the Department of Homeland Security, or send you hunting with the Vice President) [by the way, the latest gag today is that Cheney has a plaque on his desk that says The Buckshots' Here]

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Dave, here's another suggestion for you, if you want even more detailed information about how GE's fusion demonstrator worked.

GE was in Schenectady, right? Not too far from you perhaps?

Well, at Union College in Schenectady, they have a collection of the General Electric Research Laboratory Bulletin. Apparently it was published twice a year, a summer issue and a winter issue.

If you check through the six '63, '64 and '65 issues, one of them has a cover that looks like this: [it might be the Summer 1964 issue, if I can squint enough to read the month and year in this picture]

Research_Laboratory_Bulletin.jpg

That's a picture of the World's Fair fusion demonstrator on the cover.

I haven't seen this issue, but there may be an article in it with lots of juicy technical details.

Does anybody here at PTU have this issue, and could scan the article and share it with us?

There is also some good information about how the fusion process was 'contained' inside the World's Fair demonstrator (by use of magnetic fields) here:

<a href="http://www.peacethroughunderstanding.org/i...p?showtopic=202" target="_blank"><a href="http://www.peacethroughunderstanding.org/i...p?showtopic=202" target="_blank"><a href="http://www.peacethroughunderstanding.org/i...p?showtopic=202" target="_blank"><a href="http://www.peacethroughunderstanding.org/i...p?showtopic=202" target="_blank"><a href="http://www.peacethroughunderstanding.org/i...p?showtopic=202" target="_blank"><a href="http://www.peacethroughunderstanding.org/i...p?showtopic=202" target="_blank"><a href="http://www.peacethroughunderstanding.org/i...p?showtopic=202" target="_blank"><a href="http://www.peacethroughunderstanding.org/i...p?showtopic=202" target="_blank">http://www.peacethroughunderstanding.org/i...p?showtopic=202</a></a></a></a></a></a></a></a>

Apparently the demonstration device was a scaled down version of one in operation at GE's lab at Schenectady.

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The Summer 1964 Bulletin has one article on the WF "Experimental Apparatus" which has a

detailed diagram and description of the GE reactor. There is a picture of a young girl pushing the

button to generate the reaction. The rest of the bulletinn outlines what fusion is and different equipment

needed to generate and control fusion reactor.

There is also a small brochure "Facts About General Electric's Nuclear Fusion Demonstration" which

is an overview of fusion and GE plans for the future.

I don't have the ability to scan & post the stuff - sorry.

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Hi Dave, and welcome to PTU.

Hopefully, you have also found our sister website http://www.nywf64.com by Bill Young.

It is far and away the PREMIER NY World's Fair site on the Internet. There are full, multi-page features on many pavilions.

Go there and, when you (finally) find the list of pavilions, the ones with asterisks have feature-style content.

Have fun on memory lane!

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Welcome to PTU Dave!

I did find a slightly better photo of the GE Fusion display on Jeffrey Stanton's '64-'65 NYWF site:

generalelectric2.jpg

http://naid.sppsr.ucla.edu/ny64fair/map-docs/technology.htm

http://naid.sppsr.ucla.edu/ny64fair/

And of course, there's a great article about the display on Bill Young's website as well...

http://www.nywf64.com/genele08.shtml

Best Regards,

Kevin

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