Monday, August 21, 2006

My Peanut Necklace from the 1939 World’s Fair



Every time I hear the resonant tones of “Finlandia”, by Sibelius, I am transported back to the 1939 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, NY. I was only 6 at the time and I don‘t remember how we got there or what we ate or even much of what we saw. But certain memories have stayed with me over the years

I recall standing in a long line in front of the Planter‘s Peanut exhibition. They were giving away necklaces with a little peanut attached (see the picture above) and I made everyone wait until I had mine. I have never seen another like it and wonder if this was the original Planter’s trademark before the little peanut guy of today with the cane and top hat.


"Progress" was the theme of the Fair which depicted futuristic techniques such as television and the interstate highway system. It introduced new materials, new ideas and a new spirit. It also displayed the crafts and products of the day. It was a “vision of tomorrow” which sadly came to an end when it was announced over the loudspeaker that we had declared war on Germany and the Fair was closed down.

The most indelible memory for me was the Pool of Industry. This was the famous musical fountains display. It contained 1,400 water nozzles, 400 gas jets with a mechanism that caused the flames to change color and fireworks that were shot from over 150 launchers. Music was played live by the fair’s band and broadcast by large speakers.

Each night, as the sun went down, the crowds would gather at the pool. This was the finale of the day. I remember being hypnotized by the haunting strains of “Finlandia” as the enormous jets of water sprayed rainbow colors higher and higher into the sky. This was all topped off by a barrage of fireworks. A nighttime spectacle almost too grand for one little girl to absorb.

4 Comments:

Blogger saz said...

Oh do I love Finlandia! Sibelius' Swan of Tuonela is also good.

I was just talking to an 86 yr old friend of mine who has some things from the 1915 San Francisco Pan Pacific Exposition. I researched her uncle's "free" items and they're worth a nice sum now. Have you done any research on your peanut necklace?

I just wish they would have kept the buildings from some of these fairs. The only thing we have left from our Exposition is the Palace of Fine Arts.

2:35 PM  
Anonymous colleen said...

What a unique treasure! Isn't it interesting what sticks out in someone's mind and how bigger everything seemed to us when we were little. When I return to places and scenes that I thought of as bigger than life, I find that they are not. We once visited Edaville Railroad in Mass. and I truly thought I was in Santa's North Pole.

7:28 PM  
Anonymous naomi dagen bloom said...

ginnie, i was there too! maybe we passed each other at the elsie the borden cow display. were they giving out chocolate milk, i wonder. recall get hearing tested and the specialness of the words, trylon and perisphere.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Terri said...

This sounded wonderful and what great memories you have.
My dad went to that World's Fair, in '39. He was 20 years old and I remember him telling me about it when I was small.
I don't think he got a peanut though....darn!

12:40 PM  

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