Back in the mid 1800's the world seemed to be undergoing a technological explosion with all the new science and other developments hitting the market.
The idea behind the World's Fair was to show off the current industrial, scientific, and cultural items for a period of three to six months.
Sine the first one in 1851, there have been over 100 fairs held in over 20 countries. They are called World's Fairs, Expositions, and Exhibitions depending on where they are held.
The first Crystal Palace Exhibition was held in 1851 in Hyde Park. It was organized by Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's husband, because he understood the importance of showing what the United Kingdom could offer the world. The Crystal Palace was built to house the exhibition and was the brainchild of a greenhouse designer whose design was accepted after all others entries had been rejected.
The technological and scientific displays came from all over the world, in addition to the art and craftsmanship displays. Over six million people attended so the event made enough of a profit, that scholarships are still being given to engineering students out of the proceeds. In the 40 year period between 1880 and 1920, over 40 expositions were held in places such as Melbourne, Hobart, Guatemala City, and Hanoi.
In fact, the United States held a Centennial celebration of the Declaration of Independence in 1876 in Philadelphia and it attracted over ten million people which kept the event from loosing money. Many of these Fairs caused many of the most noteworthy buildings to be built such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris for the 1889 fair, or the first Ferris Wheel at the Worlds Fair in Chicago in 1893. It also introduced the concept of the midway with live entertainment.
Although World's Fairs continued after the end of World War I, but not as frequently, nor did they do as well as those before the end of World War I. The ones afterwards introduced things like the Art Deco Style, or were designed to take people's minds off the depression. The Fairs held in the 50's and early 60's provided the news media with the opportunity to compare countries as part of the cold war.
World Fairs continued on through the 70's, 80's, into this century but the focus canged to topics such as rivers, housing, sustainable development, oceans, leisure, and other topics. They do not happen as often but still happen. The last one happened in 2017 in Astana Kazakhstan and it focused on the future of energy.
The next one is scheduled for Queens, New York the end of April.
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