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Spring Officially Ushered in at New York Fair

From Horology magazine, April, 1939

Spring Officially Ushered in at New York Fair

A flash from the Elgin observatory building on the New York Fair grounds at 7:28:30 o'clock E.S.T. on Tuesday, March 21, officially ushered Spring into the great exhibition enclosure and constituted a feature of the dedication ceremonial arranged for the Elgin building at the Fair.


Consistent with the whims of northern Springs, the day was cold and raw and the young ladies who made up the Persephone dancing group, attired in flimsy, flowing bits of fabric, shivered through their interpretative dance before Jimmy Durante as Father Time. Despite freezing winds, however, Prof. Frank D. Urie, director of research for the Elgin Company, set the scene from the timing standpoint and brought into action an enactment of the Greek legend of the return of Persephone from the lower regions.

The spectacle opened with the arrival of Persephone at the new Elgin building, where Ceres awaited her. She came in a chariot, drawn by prancing black horses, and while her arrival was welcomed with affectionate warmth, the temperature did what it could to cool things off.

On hand to greet her, too, was Jimmy Durante in the role of Father Time, but missing was New York's No.1 Greeter, Grover Whalen. For the first time in the memory of the oldest inhabitant Mr.
Whalen did not rise to the occasion to greet a visitor. In fact, Mr. Whalen did not rise until an hour later, and Spring couldn't wait. 

Without him, however, cameras clicked, the shivering onlookers applauded and the Elgin building was officially dedicated.

Tuesday night at 10 o'clock, a time signal was given by Professor U rie from the observatory building to start the Coronation Scot, crack train of the London, Midland and Scottish Railroad, from Baltimore on its exhibition tour of this country. The signal was transmitted by wire to Baltimore.

When the exhibition hall surrounding the observatory is complete, a series of exhibits will depict the history of timekeeping. Prominent among them will be a mural painting, 110 feet long, a connected series showing the increasing importance of Time. Other features will include replicas of ancient time-determining devices, beginning with those used in prehistoric times, continuing down through the ages to antique and modern watches, and ending with a glimpse of the "Time Piece of Tomorrow."

Here the visitor may have his watch checked by means of a watch-testing machine which, in 15 seconds, shows the amount of the watch's deviation of 24 hours. Some of the interesting technical phases of watch manufacture will be featured in an exhibit showing scientific achievements of the Elgin factory.

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