The 1939 World’s Fair held in Flushing Meadows, NY was one of the most influential events in shaping the common perception of what the future held for mankind. It was singularly focused on “the world of tomorrow” and according to the official pamphlet:
“The eyes of the Fair are on the future – not in the sense of peering toward the unknown nor attempting to foretell the events of tomorrow and the shape of things to come, but in the sense of presenting a new and clearer view of today in preparation for tomorrow; a view of the forces and ideas that prevail as well as the machines. To its visitors the Fair will say: ‘Here are the materials, ideas, and forces at work in our world. These are the tools with which the World of Tomorrow must be made. They are all interesting and much effort has been expended to lay them before you in an interesting way. Familiarity with today is the best preparation for the future.'”
This slideshow from Wired.com shows some of the highlights from the exposition. It is amazing to look back at these photos to see how far we’ve come in only a little more than 70 years. In some cases it is truly mind-boggling while in others a flat disappointment. I’m not greedy, I don’t need a teleporter but I’ve been pretty patient waiting for my flying car and holographic television (although both of those are closer than ever).