Century of Progress International Exposition - Chicago 1933

A century of progress

May 27 - November 12, 1933 and June 1 - October 31, 1934


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Radio & Communications Building

Radio & Communications Building at the Exhibition Chicago 1933

© Kaufmann & Fabry Co

When Raymond Hood designed this building, he had in mind the close relationship between communication and the industries involved in the production, use and distribution of electrical power. He symbolised their union by joining their buildings.

Leaving the hall of the electricity building, you enter the world of radio, where the mysteries and fascination of radio reception around the world are demonstrated.
From the little boy who just started tinkering with batteries and receivers, to the seasoned adult who has grown up with the rapid development of this new science, everyone can find out what interests them.

The exhibition ends with a presentation of future developments in radio broadcasting.

On the balcony you will see a reproduction of a Hollywood movie set, and you can watch some interesting films from the World Fair itself.

As you enter the communication area, your attention is first drawn to the "Bird Cage", where you see the so-called acoustic illusions demonstrated.

You speak low, but hear high, and vice versa; you hear speech reversed so that it becomes unintelligible when received on the ordinary radio set. In another room, you learn that privacy is also achieved through radio telephone conversation. Other exhibits show you the mysteries of the rotary phone, and how operators manipulate your phone calls. You see twelve conversations at once on a single pair of wires, and an oscilloscope shows you the waveform of speech, then musical notes.

There is a magic answer board in the telegraph display. You press a button and get answers to your questions about the telegraph service. Here too you see a historical display on the development of the telegraph from Henry's electric bell of 1829, to Morse's relay of 1844 and other developments of his genius.

The Communications Garden

One of the most impressive features of this building is the Communications Garden, overlooking the side of the island of Lake Michigan, which can be reached from any floor of the Telecommunications Building. These gardens give a modern impression of the immortal gardens of the Villa d'Este in Tivoli, near Rome.

In the centre, four gigantic pylons stand like massed cypresses, over 30 metres high.
At the base of these pylons are pavilions in which exhibitions illustrating the history of banking communication can be displayed.

Appropriate landscaping, trees, shrubs, grasses, fountains and pieces of striking sculpture make these gardens a suitable place for people to meet and socialise.

©Official Guide Book 1933-1934