1939 World's Fair Exhibit


The New York World's Fair provided an unprecedented opportunity for the Association to counteract the negative publicity that had beleaguered the industry during the 1930s.

In remarks to the Toilet Goods Association (TGA) at its 1938 annual meeting, TGA Chairman Herman Brooks stated that the Fair "affords our industry the first real opportunity it has ever had to not merely display its products, but to educate the public to the importance of our industry and how necessary it is in the social and economic life of today."

Seventeen companies leased exhibit space in the Cosmetics Pavilion, including Revlon, Chanel, and Coty.

According to the official guide to the New York World's Fair, the Cosmetics Pavilion's displays "demonstrated how these products have contributed to American loveliness by enhancing the natural beauty of Woman. These exhibits also show that the preparation of cosmetics is scientific, although much phatasy (sic) and imagination are associated with their glamorous results."

A bronze casket containing industry products was placed within the cornerstone of the building. With the building scheduled for demolition after the close of the Fair, plans were announced to erect a Shrine to American Beauty containing the casket on a peak near Tucson, Arizona. This site was selected because the climate was similar to Egypt's, where cosmetics were placed in the tombs of the Pharaohs 4,800 years earlier. The outbreak of World War II, however, undermined these ambitious plans.