clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The 1964 World's Fair Showhouse was a Formica-Filled Wonder

New, 1 comment

The fiftieth anniversary of the 1964 New York World's Fair recently came and went with much fanfare over the groundbreaking work it featured from architects like Eero Saarinen, George Nelson, and Philip Johnson, whose New York State Pavilion was celebrated with a spot on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's list of national treasures. Forward-thinking architecture is fine and all, but the real belle of the ball for Good Housekeeping readers was the Formica World's Fair Model Home, a ranch house by the New Zealand-based manufacturer that gave visitors a glimpse into the wide applications of its miraculous Space Age laminate. The treasure trove of vintage news segments that U.K. newsreel service British Pathé just unveiled included a walkthrough of the home, and the breathless take on this one-time "dream home for tomorrow's living today" is nothing short of delightful.

The model home, which was previewed in a 14-page article in Good Housekeeping and eventually duplicated with slight regional variations in 150 communities in the U.S., invited guests to ooh and aah at all that could be done with Formica, that now widely bashed material that was then poised to take over tables and countertops the world over. Below, marvel at how it keeps a "somewhat formal" formal living room "forever fresh," what it can do for "Native American furniture" and automated wobbling dress forms, and how "you'd have to touch the siding to be convinced it's laminated plastic!"

· Five Architectural Highlights from the Pathé Newsreel Archive [Metropolis]
· "Dream House" At World's Fair [British Pathé]
· Explore a Wright-Designed Office in This Hokey Old Newsreel [Curbed National]
· All World's Fair coverage [Curbed National]