The "Century of Progress" International Exposition (Worlds Fair) was held
to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of the city of Chicago.
Its theme attempted to demonstrate to an international audience the nature and
significance of scientific discoveries, the methods of achieving them and the
changes which their application has wrought in industry and in living conditions.
This was done through exhibits that appealed to the public, often with miniaturized
or replicated processes.
The Fair was held on 427 acres (much of it landfill) on Lake Michigan,
immediately south of Chicago's downtown area, from 12th Street to 39th Street (now
Pershing Road). Today, Meigs Field and McCormick Place occupy this site. The
"Century of Progress" officially opened on May 27, 1933 and closed on November 12th
of that year. Although originally planned for the 1933 season only, it was
extended for another year, reopening on May 26, 1934, and closing on October 31,
1934. This extension was due to the Fair's public popularity, but mainly as an
effort to earn sufficient income to retire its debts.
The advances in aircraft design, manufacture and abilities were consistent
with goals of the "Century of Progress" Fair. The Lockheed Sirius had been created by
Jack Northrop when he was an engineer at Lockheed. It was originally a land plane
and named Sirius after the brightest star in the sky. It made its first flight in
1929 and Charles Lindbergh was the first customer. In 1931 the aircraft was
retrofitted to a seaplane configuration and flown by Charles and Anne Lindbergh
to the Far East from July 27th through August 26, 1931 (book: "North to the Orient").
Pilot Solberg and his navigator, Lt Mahachek capitalized on Lindbergh's success
and popularity and planned a round-the-world flight using a Lockheed-Sirius monoplane
named "Spirit of Progress." It was planned that it would take-off prior to the opening
of the Fair and after circumnavigating the globe in 7 days, return to the "Century of
Progress" Fair during its opening ceremonies.
This round-the-world flight attempt never occurred.