Article ID: CBB517704255

The Lost Worlds of Messmore & Damon: Science, Spectacle & Prehistoric Monsters in Early-Twentieth Century America (2016)


In 1924, the model-making company Messmore & Damon, Inc. of New York unleashed their masterpiece: the Amphibious Dinosaurus Brontosaurus, a moving, breathing, roaring animatronic dinosaur, based on displays in the American Museum of Natural History. Over the 1920s and 1930s, this became the focus of an ever-increasing publicity campaign, as Messmore & Damon exhibited prehistoric automata in department stores, the media, and the Chicago World Fair of 1933–34. These displays were hugely popular and widely discussed, drawing from the increasing public appeal of paleontology. Mixing commercial entertainment with invocations of scientific value, Messmore & Damon's prehistoric creations offer a window into the meaning and popularity of the deep time sciences in early-twentieth century America, and the links between science and spectacle in this period.

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Authors & Contributors
Brinkman, Paul David
T. Pointon
Lesser, Thomas A.
Cameron, Marlena Briane
Fallon, Richard
Davey, Colin
Earth Sciences History: Journal of the History of the Earth Sciences Society
Journal of African American Studies
Public Understanding of Science
Journal of Social History
Interdisciplinary Science Reviews
History of Science
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Empire State Editions - Fordham University Press
University of North Carolina Press
Rutgers University Press
Palgrave Macmillan
Johns Hopkins University Press
Natural history
Osborn, Henry Fairfield
Marsh, Othniel Charles
Doyle, Arthur Conan
Cope, Edward Drinker
Jesup, Morris K.
Hutchinson, Henry Neville
Time Periods
20th century, early
19th century
20th century
20th century, late
United States
New York City (New York, U.S.)
New York (U.S.)
Wyoming (U.S.)
Alberta, Canada
Los Angeles (California)
University of Wyoming
American Museum of Natural History
Field Museum of Natural History
Museum für Naturkunde (Berlin)
Aquarium Berlin

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