The Cycle of Production
The Cycle of Production, which Architectural Forum deemed "unquestionably the most impressive display at the fair," exemplified Henry Ford's dictate for instructive exhibits, but, in a most innovative and entertaining manner. Industrial designer Walter Dorwin Teague conceived the Cycle as a mixture of information and humor that would dispel the sense of commercialism and appeal to adults and children.
Teague designed the exhibit to show how twenty-seven raw materials were transformed by "man, management and machines to serve mankind" – that is, a Ford automobile. He wished to reduce the mechanical process to its simplest form.
To that end, Teague employed 142 human figures carved from wood and eighty-seven models with 133,600 moving parts to demonstrate the automotive process. For instance, the ox grinding the tung nuts, which weighs barely a half pound, required a 450 pound machine to revolve him around the stone mill.
The individual scenes rested on a 100-foot in diameter, 30-foot high turntable weighing 152 tons. 196 electrical switches controlled the working figures. If any problem arose, electricians and mechanics wove a maze of steel girders under and within the turntable to tackle the situation.
Fearing the entire building might sink an inch or two into the underground swampland, a smoothly running, the display floated on a moat containing 20,000 gallons of water and was rotated by a two horsepower motor. To disguise any noise from the machinery, Teague encircled the Cycle's room with 58,680-feet of Acoustone by US Gypson Company.
However, while many fairgoers seemed to appreciate the spectacle while passing through on their way to the Road of Tomorrow on the pavilion's exterior, in the early months few actually stopped long enough to look at the Cycle. Dorwin appropriated a new trick of the trade – narration and music. Every half hour a quiet sound system played Shubert's "Unfinished Symphony" and a specially composed score by Ferde Grofe and ended with a brief narration of the Cycle.
In fact, the music and narration worked so well that the area around the Cycle now became crowded with people staying to watch it revolve over and over. When the crowds lingered too long, engineers sped up the turntable. However, it was a major draw for the car company. In fact, Eleanor Roosevelt visited the Cycle twice and enthusiastically mentioned it in her "My Day" column.
The Road of Tomorrow
Edsel Ford stated: "'The Road of Tomorrow' is prophetically a precursor of the roads to come." The Road's designer, Walter Dorwin Teague declared that the construction showed "a world freed from many of the technical limitations of the past." The half-mile, spiral road of reinforced concrete and paved with non-skid Monocork, passed through a portion of the pavilion and then encircled the exterior garden and provided riders with the highest view of the fairgrounds from any pavilion.