AUGUST 4, 1960
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. —I had a busy and extremely interesting time in Chicago the other day. I had been invited by the people of the Merchandise Mart to speak about the United Nations at their regular Tuesday morning breakfast.
I flew to Chicago Monday evening and at a quarter before eight on Tuesday morning was called for to do a recording for one of their regular television shows. After that we went to the breakfast, which got under way promptly at 9 o'clock.
The guests had an opportunity to ask questions following my talk, and I had a feeling they would have liked to go on for longer than the time allotted but at 10 o'clock I had to make my departure for a press conference on another floor.
Since I had never been through this vast building, I was taken to the 15th floor to see the exhibitions of china and glass and the various gift-shop type of items. After touring this floor on foot I was offered a chair like the one in which I toured the Brussels Fair, and I promptly accepted for I was about to embark on a tour of miles and miles of exhibits.
Although I did not cover all the floors, I was intrigued by the many household appliances and television sets. One thing that took my fancy was a little hand gadget, unattached by any wires, that allowed the TV viewer to turn the set on and off and change stations and to add volume or reduce it from wherever he sat in the room. I could immediately think of friends who would enjoy this "toy" to play with!
I toured a floor of fine furniture and saw a sofa that cost upwards of $4,000. I can't imagine what materials went into a sofa of that kind, and I certainly saw everything in the way of furniture from modern imported to domestic and traditional of different periods.
Last but not least, I inspected a chair that looked as though it was made of glass. It had a high back that curved above the head and it had a mechanism that made it possible to light up the chair so that the sitter could read in the dark, with the light coming from the chair in which he was sitting. I tried to think what room this sort of chair would fit into, and was told that a salesman had just sold $6,000 worth of this furniture in a very short time in Florida.
These exhibitions, of course, are not for consumers, but are for out-of-town buyers who visit the Merchandise Mart regularly. I saw collections of Christmas ornaments and one particularly fascinating exhibit of animated Santa Clauses of every size. There also was a beautiful exhibition of animated figures taking part in all winter sports.
As I made my tour several kind people gave me little notes of welcome, and I am thanking them here, for we do not have time to send individual letters to all these people who make such kindly gestures.
To end my visit I was flown from the roof of the building to Midway Airport and I never before had such a comprehensive view of the city of Chicago.