Electricity is still the most cherished of the world’s power sources. Oil, coal, nuclear are all considered threats to health and planet, but nobody doesn’t like electricity (thanks Sarah Lee).
Most people celebrate the 1939 New York World’s Fair: “The World of Tomorrow” as the epitome of fairs. But the 1933 Chicago “A Century of Progress” was ahead of the curve.
One of the foremost pavilions at this exposition was “Electricity at Work,” which showcased all the practical uses of electric power. Designed in the prevailing Art Moderne / Streamline style, the exhibit and its catalog told of a present that could not survive without electricity and a future that would be beholding to the grid.
Anyone who was blacked out by Hurricane Sandy, is well aware of what it means to see the light (and feel the heat) that electricity provides. The “Century of Progress” program taught that electricity (which at that point did not extend to all rural areas in the United States) was not just the future it was then and now.
For more Steven Heller, check out Citizen Designer: Perspectives on Design Responsibility‚ one of the many Heller titles available at MyDesignShop.com.