Friday, August 1, 2008

The World of Tomorrow: The Heinz Dome

We will be touring the 1939-1940 New York World's Fair here at Boom Pop on a regular basis. Our first stop will be in the Food Zone to explore the Heinz Dome. Our handy Official Guide Book provides the following description:

H. J. HEINZ COMPANY: Inside the Heinz Dome, a sculptured group symbolizes "perfection" and the securing of food from all over the world. The interior (Skidmore & Owings and John Moss, designers) contains displays representative of the company. In a scientific laboratory, tomatoes growing on vines ten feet high derive nourishment from a chemical solution containing nutritive elements ordinarily found in the soil. The animated Heinz figure, the "Aristocrat Tomato Man," sings, nods his tomato head, smacks his lips, etc., and a series of six plaques depicts the company's progress in the preparation of its food products since grandmother's time.


Heinz Dome is centrally located on Constitution Mall at the intersection of the Esplanade and Rainbow Avenue. Decorating the exterior of the 100 foot high Dome is the Mural of Harvest done in relief by the well-known master, Domenico Mortellito. One side of the mural depicts the gathering of raw materials and winnowing of spices in the eastern hemisphere. The other side dramatizes agricultural activities of the western world.

Through the Looking Glass

Part of the interior may be viewed through invisible glass windows and part through an ingenious system of preiscopic mirrors.

At the Sampling Stations within Heinz Dome you meet old favorites, make new friends among Heinz 57 Varieties. Attractively uniformed Home Economists serve free samples of many different kinds of Heinz Homestyle Soups, Oven Baked Beans, Spaghetti, and Macaroni—all piping hot; also Pickles, Spreads and chilled Tomato Juice.

HEINZ LOOKS TO THE FUTURE ... Scientists of the House of Heinz are constantly searching for new and better ways to prepare fine foods for your table. At the Heinz Dome, visitors can view interesting experiments in chemiculture—the growing of experimental tomato plants in chemically-treated water and in pure white sand. These plants grow more than seven feet tall, producing four crops per year. Heinz "aristocrat" tomatoes are not at present grown in this manner. But experiments of this type offer valuable information as to the ways in which nature and science may combine for constant improvement in types and flavor of tomatoes as they are grown on the farm.

Heinz animated Aristocrat Tomato Man does a singing-talking act which is one of the most popular features of the Fair—especially with the youngsters. He tells his own story in his own way—with gestures.

One whole section of the Heinz exhibit is devoted to the youngest generation. Here one can obtain latest scientific information on special Heinz foods for children. On a large plaque depicting a Day with junior, is an animated show-within-a-show telling the story of Heinz Strained Foods and Heinz Junior Foods, and a 24 inch "snowstorm" ball in which is enclosed a replica of the little home in Sharpsburg where the House of Heinz began.


The interior of the Heinz Dome is spectacular, spacious and impressive with notable examples of sculpture, interesting murals done in a modern manner, a great center fountain and dramatic lighting effects. Here are 20,000 square feet of exhibit space, providing many different types of entertainment for the visitor.

The Largest Sculptured Group at the World's Fair

In the center of the Dome rises a gigantic column 65 feet tall—the work of Sculptor Raymond Barger. The column is crowned by the Goddess of Perfection, a large allegorical figure in a kneeling position who holds in her hand a luminous sphere—symbol of perfection. Twenty-two golden sculptured figures encircling the column represent the contributions of various lands to the making of Heinz famous 57 Varieties. This tremendous sculptured group rises from a sunken pool and emerges from an overhead waterfall which flows over a glass saucer measuring 36 feet in diameter. Visitors may walk beneath the waterfall and view the Goddess through a mirage of colored lights. This is one of the most unusual and interesting sights of the World's Fair.



Hey Jeff,

Congratulations on the new blog. I've added it to my bookmark bar on my browser and will check daily.

We are SO on the same page...

While I love all things Disney, I too love great old movies, world's fairs and other retro delights.

I am looking forward to sharing your enthusiasm via this new blog.

Best wishes!

Ron said...

I just came across the exact same brochure from the 1939 World's Fair (in box of old pictures) that all these images are taken from, typed it in at Google and POW! there was your was your blog!
What a world we live in!

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled on something very interesting: the obituary for the advertising person who created the Heinz Aristocratic Tomato character.

Decades before Mad Men's "Peggy", Gertrude (Trudy) Veneklasen Huebner worked in the male-dominated world of advertising. She created several very well known campaigns and characters, including the Aristocratic Tomato.

The obituary had a photo of her. And she looks nearly identical to that Tomato character! All that's missing are the top-hat and monocle, and the bright red colour.

Here's the link to the obituary:

The resemblance is uncanny!