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The massive, complex creations of Norman Bel Geddes

The massive, complex creations of Norman Bel Geddes


Norman Bel Geddes may be best known for the massive Futurama exhibit at the 1939 World's Fair, but a new feature looks at some of his crazy creations from even earlier in his career.

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Norman Bel Geddes' Futurama exhibit at the 1939 New York World's Fair is still remembered thanks largely to its sheer scope — it took visitors on a journey through a vision of the future circa 1960, and spanned 35,738 square feet and took 3,000 people to build. General Motors spent $7 million to create it and it was so popular it was resurrected for the 1964 World's Fair. But what about Geddes himself? A new feature in the May issue of The Believer delves into the inventor and designer's life and, more importantly, some of his previous creations. These include everything from a miniature, electronic horse race track that took up his entire basement — and became popular enough that the likes of Amelia Earhart and Charlie Chaplin would stop by — to a realistic war game that, in some instances, took years to complete. Geddes' games were so large and intricate that in 1929 Time magazine described them as "colossal in scale, appalling in complexity." Be sure to read the entire feature to see just how colossal they really were.