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The Pavilion

The Hall of Electrical Power and the Hall of Electrical Living composed the two glass-fronted rooms of the omega-shaped pavilion. Few pavilions utilized this amount of glass on their exteriors. However, Westinghouse successfully drew in the crowds by stimulating their interest through their unique interior design – a large governor which swung overhead symbolic of the control which must be exercised over all power, a twenty-five foot pendulum with the largest working hour-glass in its center, and Elektro.

Between the two omega arms stood the "Singing Tower of Light." Supported by tubular rods with a common center, six metal rings rose 120 feet into the air, with the smallest near the water fountain base. The symbolic design simulated a Westinghouse insulator. In the evening, the tower "performed" through series of colored lights, music and water jets. The color effects were like those used in the Lagoon of Nations nightly show.

The Time Capsule resided behind the Tower. "Westinghouse – the name that means everything in Electricity" adorned an adjoining wall.

The Battle of the Centruy

In order to introduce the public to one of its latest commercial developments, Westinghouse presented "The Battle of the Century" – an on-going contest between Mrs. Drudge and Mrs. Modern as they fought to clean their daily load of dishes and cookware.

The "battle" took place three times an hour or forty times every day. Mrs. Drudge washed her dishes and silverware by hand while Mrs. Modern had the convenience of a Westinghouse dishwasher. Two on-going gags at the expense of Mrs. Drudge: while Mrs. Modern read a magazine or book, Mrs. Drudge had to break a dish and "cut" herself with a knife during each performance and the interlocutor announced she had forty years' experience doing dishes, but, after a glare from the hurt housewife, admitted "well, maybe twenty but it seems like forty."

Eight young women worked in shifts of three hours, performing the clean-up tasks twelve times. That meant a total of 800 dishes and glassware with an additional 480 pieces of silverware for their efforts. The amount of dishes, glassware and silverware used at each demonstration was determined to be the output of an average dinner for a family of five. During the five-minute break between the performances, the two demonstrators rushed to an off-stage cubbyhole to rinse their hands with lotion.

Four male dish-smearers kept twelve sets of dishes available for the demonstration. Every day the young men used up ten cups of lard, fifteen cups of ketchup, five cups of unsugared coffee, ten quarts of sugared coffee boiled to syrup consistency, three and three - quarters quarts of egg yolk, and a quart of milk for their smearing.

Mrs. Modern always won the battle. However, twice it was a near miss. During one race, Mrs Modern accidentally dropped her pencil into the dishwasher, causing great chaos. The audience shrieked, "Wait a minute. This can't go on." Mrs. Drudge dutifully slowed down her dish washing, much to the hilarity of the onlookers. Another time a gasket burst and flooded the stage. Mrs. Drudge REALLY slowed down until it was repaired and cleaned up, accounting for yet another "loss."

The Microvivarium

Westinghouse's Microvivarium proved to be one of the most unique exhibits in "The World of Tomorrow." The device projected enlarged images of a drop of water onto twelve five-foot screens. The enlargements showed the normally one-thousandth of an inch sized microbes living in the water drop to 2,000 times their original dimensions. Dr. George Roemmert devised and produced the exhibit. The slogan of the show: "Have You Ever Seen a Germ Walking?"

Twice a week Dr. Roemmert's wife hunted for additional specimens in over 120 ponds and swamps in the Bronx, Westchester and New Jersey, scooping them into twenty- four jars with a home, made fish net. Feeding the specimens took an hour every morning. The Roemmerts cultivated special bacteria and protozoans for that purpose.

A recorded voice described to the audience exactly how the microvivarium worked and what they were seeing. However, the show proved so popular that, to keep the crowds moving along, it ran continuously, up to sixty times a day for as many as 8,000 visitors.

Air conditioning solved an initial problem with the microvivarium. Normally the microbes could "perform" between 75 and 100 times under the device in the Westinghouse laboratories. However, at the pavilion, they succumbed at an alarming rate, causing Dr. Roemmert's assistants to change the slides twenty times daily.

Roemmert concluded that when the temperature outside ran about 70 degrees the microbes lived happily. But as the temperatures rose above 78 degrees the arc lights of the microvivarium heated the slides well above 85 degrees with the resulting early demise of the performers. Air conditioning was an easy solution.

Totally missing the point of the exhibit, an impatient news photographer once yelled at the good doctor: "Loo, buddy, if you can't get these things to stand still a minute I ain't gonna take no picture."


Workers at Westinghouse's Mansfield Ohio plant assembled over 900 parts that constituted the seven-foot Elektro. The skeletal legs were completed first and took a considerable amount of time and expense as they were required to hold up the rest of Elektro's body. Only the right leg bent; the left leg performed an elaborate dragging motion.

The wiring came from the appliance lines at the factory: irons, coffee makers, and waffle irons. The hands and head were cast aluminum and the body, arms and legs were bent aluminum sheets. His chest spanned eighty-four inches. His aluminum skin was not painted gold-bronze until he arrived at the pavilion.

Elektro cost in the neighborhood of $110,000 ($1,858,410.71 in 2017)

There are approximately 550 different muscles in the human body responsible for thousands of movements beyond the 500 most elementary motions. Electro weighted 260 pounds. His twenty-six tricks required ten pounds of internal equipment to produce each trick. Thus, he would have to weigh approximately 5,000 pounds to accomplish rudimentary human movements.

Elektro performed daily inside The Hall of Electrical Living. He stood on a stage approximately twelve feet above the onlookers. The crowds pressed the guard railing so hard to get a closer look at Elektro that workmen immediately erected extra fences as a safety precaution.

The interlocutor said a command in a cadence, like the old-fashioned rotary dial on a telephone that "counted" the clicks, and that was what triggered Elektro's response. A control unit behind the stage curtain transferred the voice commands into electric impulses by telephone relays and vacuum tubes through the power chord attached to Elektro's lower right leg.

Photo-electric cells in his eyes allowed him to distinguish between red and green.

While Depression-era families often worried over the price of food, Elektro only daily consumed 3½ cents of electricity and a package of cigarettes.

The Kitchen Display

Fairgoers benefited from the latest research in home planning when it came to the kitchen. Researchers discovered that in the kitchen of the past, typically arranged in a single line-gallery style, a woman walked between 200 and 325 steps to prepare a meal. This totaled to 125 miles a year. However, with the advent of numerous, time-saving electrical devices and a rethinking of the floorplan, researchers estimated a savings of 75% walking miles, or the distance between New York City and Philadelphia.

The "U" proved to be the ideal shape for the modern kitchen. The "perfect" dimensions were 12 feet 4 inches long by 9 feet wide. This arrangement allowed for "production line" cooking. The housewife worked around the kitchen in a counter-clockwise direction, starting at the refrigerator, proceeding to the sink, and finally arriving at the stove.

Innovations for the modern kitchen included refrigerators with adjustable shelves, interior lighting and different storage compartments for meats, vegetables and miscellaneous foods. Dishwashers, ventilating fans, electric washing machines and irons would, also, ease the work load.

Judson S. Sayre, vice-president of Bendix Home Appliances believed that with full use of the modern cooking apparatus and newly designed kitchen layout, the housewife of the future would have to worry how to utilize her leisure time.

Westinghouse provided a unique service to its pavilion visitors. Dorothy Kirby, a commercial artist from Cleveland Ohio, drew up for a modern kitchen based on an individual's description of their present setup. Mrs. Kirby favored the U-shape design and noted where modern, electrical appliances should be placed for their most efficient use.

Mrs. Kirby also suggested color schemes for the kitchens: yellow for those preferring something warm and cheerful and blue for a cool and refreshing look. Astute female consumers complained, however, that the redesigned kitchens should provide areas for a telephone, desk top and cook book shelves. Mrs. Kirby adjusted her drawings accordingly.