1939-1940 New York World's Fair Souvenir Compact

1939-1940 New York World's Fair Souvenir Compact

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Description (Brief)
Souvenir metal makeup compact from the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair. The compact features the two signature architectural elements from the Fair, the Trylon and the Perisphere.
The Trylon was a 610 foot triangular pylon, and the Perisphere a massive globe, 180 feet in diameter. A 950 foot ramp known as the Heliceline connected the two, and together, the three features constituted the Fair’s “Theme Center.”
Designed by architects Wallace Harrison and J. André Fouilhoux, the buildings, comprising simple yet novel forms, were marvels of engineering consistent with the Fair’s goal of exhibiting a “World of Tomorrow.” In that vein, the interior of the Perisphere featured a dynamic dioramic exhibit, “Democracity,” intended to inspire visitors with visions of future urban utopias.
Images of the Trylon and Perisphere were used as logos for the Fair, and were featured on an abundance of souvenir items like this compact. The influence of Art Deco on the Fair’s vision of modernity can be seen in the compact’s design, which embraces the streamlined style.
Made from celluloid, the glittering compact made by Girey Inc., in its signature “Kamera Pak” design (intended to resemble a camera ) snaps open to reveal a mirror. Compacts became popular accessories during the 1920s-1930s as it became fashionable for women to wear more pronounced makeup in public.
During its run, the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair attracted nearly 45 million people to its site in Flushing Meadows. At the Fair, visitors were introduced to advancements in such technologies as television, color photography, synthetic materials and robotics, as well as a wide variety of consumer goods and entertainments.
Currently on loan
Object Name
Date made
Associated Date
place made
United States: New York, Queens
Associated Place
United States: New York, New York City
United States: New York, Queens
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
glass (overall material)
overall: 1 3/4 in x 3/8 in x 3 1/4 in; 4.445 cm x.9525 cm x 8.255 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
The Larry Zim World's Fair Collection
Expositions and Fairs
New York World's Fair (1939)
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Cultural and Community Life: Entertainment
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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