Man the Producer

The Man the Producer theme complex was a single building designed to tell one story under three headings: Resources for Man, Progress, and Man in Control? The task was to display the often unsuspected resources available to modern man and describe the various stages of their transformation into useful products.

Man the Producer pavilion.

Escalators carry visitors from ground level to a balcony from which there is access to all three sections of the complex. Man the Producer takes materials from the Earth and draws energy from the sun and converts them to his purpose. The impression the visitor received was that the resources available to Man are still abundantly adequate if he will use them with intelligence and understanding. The mood of Man the Producer was of confidence.

Resources for Man

While the number of the Earth's natural elements is limited, research on materials enables man to make fascinating use of these elements. All the elements were displayed in the pavilion, many of them in their natural state, suspended in transparent plastic blocks. While a film on earth's abundant natural resources was projected on one wall, other exhibits gave a graphic account of animal, vegetable and mineral supplies.

The pavilion then introduced the visitor to the multiple uses to which natural resources can be put and the amazing amount of energy that can be obtained. Forty projectors offered only an incomplete idea of the countless ways of harnessing chemical, thermal and nuclear energies. In the last hall new sources of energy were proposed to meet man's ever growing needs. It showed that even as new sources are obtained, this new energy was devoured by a growing populace as quickly as it was developed.


An enormous box containing products of our technological age used mirrors and clever lighting to give the visitor the impression of an infinite number of objects. An assembly line of transistor radios moved along a conveyor belt over the crowd's heads, as computer taped instructions guided the machinery in its work. Obviously it was an illusion, but it looked the products looked real as if trucks were awaiting to ship them to distant lands. Nearby a Czech milling machine, guided by instructions printed on magnetic tape, was faithfully reproducing on a block of glass, fantastic shapes.

A three-story high computer automated assembly line.

In one large hall the visitor could follow the evolutionary stages of the wheel; from its time of discovery, through its various roles throughout the centuries, and finally, its importance in the steam engine at the brink of the industrial age. It lead on to man's latest creation in the technological age - a vertical three-story high automated factory producing television sets and film projectors on two different production lines.

Since one machine alone could replace workshops of hundreds of employees and produce more articles at lower cost and with far greater speed and precision, then man's Progress needs to find other work for those replaced workers.

Man in Control?

The dilemma explored in this section of the pavilion was "Can man really maintain control of the machines he so brilliantly invents?" The Man in Control section revealed the wonders that have been performed with the intelligent use of automation; better and more plentiful harvests, control of contagious diseases, wide-spread education. On the other end of the equation was the harsh face of reality; accidents, disasters, bloody revolutions, poverty and illiteracy.

The Communications Theater presented four films simultaneously of the history of communications in different countries and of different ages right up to the present day information media which bombard man with events in every part of the world. The evolution of language was also explored and illustrated along the walls of a specially designed tunnel. Finally the visitor received an explanation of the basic principles of electronics and the insight that the computer in the future will be part of the furniture of the home of tomorrow along with the television-phone and ultrasonic cooker.

Hopefully the visitor who glimpsed the fabulous future of machines, did not forget that machines make slaves of those who can't master them and that half of mankind goes hungry.

Man the Producer pavilion at night.

Copyright © Jeffrey Stanton 1997 & 2004
All Rights Reserved