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Randy Treadway

Ford and World's Fairs

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We've known for a long time that the Ford Motor Company made sure they had a significant presence at every World's Fair, at least beginning in 1933 through- well, at least into the 70's....

I have Ford souvenirs from '33-34 (Chicago), '35-36 (San Diego), '36-37 (Dallas), '36-37 (Cleveland), '39-40 (New York), and so on.

But this is the earliest reference I've seen. It's from the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in San Diego- the one that first created the beautiful Balboa Park legacy. I received this postcard in the mail today (no, the Post Office isn't THAT slow- it was an eBay purchase to add to my World's Fairs postcard collection). This back side wasn't visibile on eBay. All I knew was that it had the Expo seal printed on the back. I know nothing more than what you see here. It could have been an exhibit by Ford. Or it could have just been a case of Perdue staying with his 'Uncle Benny', whose jets hadn't been invented yet (so Elton John would just have to wait), but who just happened to have a Model T. Hey, it's a mystery so why not use our imagination? It also makes you wonder what happened to Perdue. Did he get sent overseas two years later to bail out the French in "the big one over there" and sing "Parley Vous" to the French girls?

Also of note is not only the lack of need for a zip code, but lack of any street address at all! Those were the days....

1915_Ford.jpg

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Randy,

I think your collection of FORD items ends with NYWF '64/65 permanently! It's doubtful that FORD has any hope of matching their last exhibit at any possible future World's Fair. Same with CHRYSLER and GM. All of the big three are in serious financial trouble with no end in sight. Any one of them would have to ask "big oil" to underwrite their expeditures at the next NYWF (if there ever is one).

Studebaker, Nash, Packard, Crosley, Hudson and a host of others all dropped dead for a variety of reasons, mostly economic pressure due to competition. WHO'S NEXT?

Ray D.

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Sadly, Chrysler looks to be next.

The news here is all about the loss of another thirteen thousand jobs, plant closings and the sale of the company to.....?

Big news in Detroit. A sad day for a once great company.

I love the post card, Randy. Nifty reference. What a joy it must have been to ride in one of those "new" Fords.

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Ford was at Expo'74. 1962 Seattle World’s Fair souvenir program lists Ford as an exhibitor. 1982 Knoxville lists Ford as an official supplier. I remember Chrysler at the 1984 fair but can’t locate my copy of the guide. Nothing in the Expo 86 guide.

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In those subsequent fairs and Expos, Ford did nothing to match the grandeur of their NYWF 64 pavilion. I would not have felt compelled to travel to San Antonio to see a movie in a 200 seat theater and then take a peek at the mechanical symphony orchestra which I had already seen at NYWF. My point is that you've all seen the last of the big three US auto firms trying to outdo each other at the next EXPO with multi-million dollar exhibits a la NYWF.

Ray D.

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Hello everyone

Nice posts on automobiles makers at the fair and Sinclair was spectacular, but their was another car that showed interest at the fair. The 1964 Corvette concept car.

Here's a pic from Mid America Motoworks Corvette funfest. I'll post more when I get this scanner working again.

post-4617-125348411734_thumb.jpg

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How sad, in a way these posts are saying this is the downfall of America. Hope not. I predict one smart young lad will come up with an idea that American cars and many other companies build a robotic workforce where very little humans are needed. These companies will give everyone money. Each American does community service for free to make American a better place. Or if you want to work your own business you can. And no I'm not a Commie

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There are realities to be faced here. Americans, as we all are, pray that no outsiders will compete for our hard earned money, but there is no way that we can resist the temptation to go for commodit6ies that we find attractive for a multitude of reasons. Appliances, autos, apparel, you name it, are on display at every retailer, most of which were imported from our trading partners. We buy their sweaters, they buy our coal, wood and beef.

In a perfect world, we should still be the leader in technoloigy, manufacturing, agriculture, education, and all categories in which we took a leadership role in earlier decades. The world around us has advanced in many of these areas and we have to face the changes that we as a nation have actually advocated.

I'm as guilty as the next guy who has had a success story with foreign cars, owning three Hondas in a row since 1984. My current CRX-2 gets 50.45 MPG on a round trip to San Diego. Show me the same performance (with almost zero maintenace) amongst the BIG THREE!

But, I did buy an American made SEGWAY mainly due to an extensive guilt complex.

Ray D.

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Actually, Ford did not participate at the 1933 Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago. Henry Ford

did not build his Rotunda (moved to Dearborn in 1935) until he saw how successful the 1933 edition

of the Century of Progress really was. The Ford exhibition was open only for the 1934 edition of that

fair.

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Ford also had a significant presence at the REAL World's Fair in 1915-- San Francisco's extraordinary Pan Pacific International Exposition. San Diego's fair was nice - and as Randy said, it did leave beautiful Balboa Park as its legacy - but for sheer, awe-inspiring spectacle, the P.P.I.E. was the place to be, and Henry Ford was one of many titans of industry who knew it. There was an actual assembly plant on the grounds of the Expo, where visitors could watch Model Ts assembled before their eyes-- often while Ford watched as well.

Here are two pictures of him from the P.P.I.E. - both in the company of one of the great fair's other giants, Thomas Edison.

post-4617-125348450585_thumb.jpg

post-4617-125348451835_thumb.jpg

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Very interesting book but the owners have confused the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition with the 1901 Pan American Exposition.

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