World's Columbian Exposition

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World's Columbian Exposition 1893
The Chicago World's Fair
World's Fair in Chicago (1893)

World's Fair in Chicago (1893)

Exhibition space 278 ha
Number of visitors 27.3 million
BIE recognition Yes
countries 46 countries
Exhibitors 70,000 exhibitors
Place of issue
place Chicago
terrain Jackson Park Coordinates: 41 ° 47 '24 "  N , 87 ° 34' 48"  W.World icon
opening May 1, 1893
closure October 30, 1893
Chronological order
predecessor Paris 1889
successor Brussels 1897
Map of the exhibition
View of the White City
Ferris Wheel, the first Ferris Wheel by George Washington Gale Ferris

The World's Columbian Exposition 1893 (also The Chicago World's Fair ) was a world exhibition held in Chicago from May 1 to October 30, 1893 , the nineteenth of its kind. The exhibition took place on the four hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America by Columbus. Because of the short preparation time, the construction work started in September 1891 for the opening ceremony on October 21, 1892 was not completely finished. The official opening could therefore only take place in 1893, one year after the anniversary.


Chicago's city council began its campaign to host the exhibition marking the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' landing in America on July 22, 1889, when Mayor De Witt C. Cregier commissioned a hundred citizens to carry out the project. Among them were household names such as bank president Lyman Gage , publisher Andrew McNally, railroad tycoon George Pullman , and JP Morgan chief executive Charles Schwab , who helped raise five million in shares (500,000 shares at $ 10 each) to prove that Chicago really wanted to host the fair. The House of Representatives also had applications from New York City , Washington and St. Louis . On February 24, 1890, the decision was made in favor of Chicago - but with one condition: the city had to raise an additional $ 5 million.

However, this demand was not an insurmountable obstacle for those in favor of Chicago as a trade fair city. The list of subscribers included GB Shaw, President of the American Loan & Trust Company; CL Hutchinson, President of the Corn Exchange; WE Hale, President of the Hale Elevator Company; WJ Huiskamp of the Chicago Times; OW Potter, President of Illinois Steel Ges .; Potter Palmer , real estate tycoon and owner of the Palmer House Hotel; John B. Drake, owner of the Grand Pacific Hotel; and Stuyvesant Fish , president of the Illinois Central Railroad Company, so the fundraising appeal was soon completed. A presidential proclamation confirming compliance with the financial requirements was issued on December 24, 1890, and Chicago now officially owned the fair.

On the same day the major foreign nations were officially invited to participate. Moses P. Handy was the head of the public relations and advertising department and in the following year the initiators of the exhibition traveled to Europe and Asia in order to encourage the countries to participate.

Although a society had already been formed in Chicago to raise the funds, Congress determined that a national commission should be formed to oversee the organization, consisting of two members from each state and two territories, plus eight members. The national organization became known as the "Commission" and the local as the "Directorate". The two bodies were headed by Colonel George R. Davis , a former soldier and senator who had also brought Chicago's concerns to Congress. After these two bodies had been set up at the request of the Congress, work on the exhibition could finally begin.


The exhibition had a strong influence on the architecture and art of the time. It shaped Chicago's self-image and strengthened Americans in their optimistic view of industrial progress. Previously, the city was known only as the nation's slaughterhouse and fought against a provincial image. However, since the great fire of 1871 , Chicago had developed rapidly. Three universities, 24 theaters and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra , founded in 1891, marked the city's cultural heyday. The exhibition with its white buildings in the style of historicism was supposed to bring about a significant change in image.

The overall picture was overwhelming due to the never-before-seen dimensions. The location and the architecture of the exhibition buildings, the water areas and gardens worked together in great harmony. The Chicago architect Daniel Burnham and the landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted were responsible for the design of the entire complex . The buildings were built by various architects in the style of the Italian Renaissance. 20,000  tons of iron and 2.12 million cubic meters of wood were used for the construction. All buildings - with the exception of the reddish-colored building for the transport system - had a bright white appearance. The exhibition area of ​​the halls was 81 hectares, almost four times the size of the World Exhibition in Paris (21.2 hectares) in 1889. 70,000 exhibitors from 46 countries took part in the exhibition, with 24,000 from the USA.

The exhibition was opened on May 1, 1893 by President Grover Cleveland in Jackson Park, Chicago. It took place about ten kilometers south of the main business district of Chicago, covered 278 hectares (81 hectares of which covered) and stretched 1.5 miles along the lake. It stretched from the lakeshore to Stony Island Avenue in the west, and from 56th to 67th Streets from north to south.

On April 27, the Columbian Naval Review , the parade of an international fleet of 35 warships , took place in the port of New York , in which the United States, France, Russia, Italy and Spain also took part in the German Empire . It was represented by the SMS Seeadler and the SMS Kaiserin Augusta .

The exhibition was to end on October 30, 1893 with a closing ceremony. However, two days earlier, Chicago Mayor Carter Harrison Sr. was murdered by a man named Patrick Eugene Prendergast. Because of this attack, the closing ceremony of the world exhibition was canceled.

The white city

Francis Davis Millet succeeded William Pretyman, who had resigned as director of color because he did not agree with Daniel Burnham's idea of ​​a "white city". Originally, an elaborate, multi-colored painting should make every building unmistakable. The facades consisted of 'staff', a reasonably durable, but also easily flammable material mix of plaster of paris, cement and jute fibers, similar to the material used in Paris. Because time was of the essence, Millet decided after a few experiments to use a mix of oil and white lead paint. With a special nozzle (nozzle) that was connected to the paint container via a hose, the paint could now be sprayed on. This required significantly less time than applying paint with a brush. Thus Millet is considered to be the inventor of the paint spray technology. The white façades and the electric lighting of the exhibition area, which had never been used to such an extent, created impressive effects in the dark. By decree of the mayor it was forbidden to heat with coal stoves in the vicinity of the exhibition.

The lighting

The General Electric Company by Thomas Edison had offered to provide the exhibition with electricity, at a cost of US $ 1.8 million, which it reduced later to $ 554,000. On the other hand, Westinghouse Electric Corporation , equipped with Nikola Tesla's alternating current, proposed lighting the Columbian Exposition for $ 399,000. You got the contract. It was a historic moment when Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse introduced alternating current to the public. With the so-called Westinghouse-Stopper-Lamp, Westinghouse circumvented Edison's patent. The exhibition alone used three times as much electricity as the entire city of Chicago. Every building on the Court of Honor, including the Manufactures and Liberal Arts building, was decorated with white lightbulbs. Huge searchlights - the largest ever made could still be made out 60 miles away - were mounted on the roof of the Manufacturers' building and shone over the site and the surrounding area. In MacMonnie's Columbian Fountain, large colored light bulbs were installed to illuminate the water cascade.


Main building and its construction costs in US dollars:

The outdoor sculptures were mostly works by Augustus Saint-Gaudens , Frederick MacMonnies, and Daniel Chester French . A complete list of the artists who worked on the exhibition was given in Rossiter Johnson's book: A history of the World's Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893; by authority of the Board of Directors. Volume 1. Narrative . Publisher: D. Appelton and Company New York, 1897.

The woman's building attracted particular attention. The US Congress created a Board of Lady Managers , chaired by Bertha Honoré Palmer . The women's building was designed by the Boston architect Sophia Hayden . The World Women's Congress took place here from May 15th to 21st, attended by around 3000 women.

Mrs. Palmer also had a great influence on the selection of the paintings shown in the Kunstpalast. At her instigation, French Impressionist paintings were shown on a large scale, at a time when they could not be seen in any European museum.

Among other things, photographs of the untouched as well as the possession of the American West by the technical civilization by William H. Jackson were exhibited, as they had not previously been seen in the general public, which were supplemented by models of the homes of the Anasazi Indians from Mesa Verde .


The following should also be emphasized:

An electric kitchen at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893
  • from the USA :
    • Presentation of the activities of the Union government in government building
    • State log houses with agricultural produce
    • Fruit clusters from Florida
    • Californian cacti
    • petrified woods from Arizona
    • Diamond laundries
    • Ship models
    • the first electric elevated railway known as the " Intramural Railway "
    • Railway trains from 1840 to the latest Pullman car
    • Westinghouse Electric Company and General Electric Company groups
    • Goldsmith's work by Tiffany & Co. in New York
    • Louis Comfort Tiffany built his reputation with an amazing chapel he designed especially for the exhibition. The interior of the chapel could be seen in the exhibition of the company Tiffany & Co,
    • clasp loose , the forerunner of the zipper
    • the dishwasher
    • Forerunner of the Telefax teleautograph transmitter and receiver
    • the popcorn machine by Charles Cretors
    • the newest phonograph from Thomas Edison , with which one could already play entire operas
    • The Bell company was the first to offer long-haul calls to Boston and New York
Stollwerck "Chocolate Temple" Chicago (1893)
" The Kiss " by Auguste Rodin
The Viking , a replica of a Gokstad ship , at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893

The replicas were historically interesting

  • of a Viking ship ( Viking ) The Viking, a replica of the Norwegian ship "Gokstad", was built in Norway and sailed across the Atlantic by 92 sailors.
  • the three caravels of the explorer Christopher Columbus "Pinta", "Santa María" and "Niña".
  • the log cabin where Abraham Lincoln was born.

Everything was dominated by a Ferris Wheel with 36 gondolas with 40 seats each, a total of 1440 seats. But up to 2,000 people were also transported.

Of the numerous buildings, only four remained:

Spending was $ 25.5 million and income was $ 28.1 million. The sheer surplus was $ 1.8 million with an attendance of 27,300,000.

Photo gallery


Stollwerck Medal for the Chicago World's Fair (1893)

The “Chocolade Temple” at the Stollwerck brothers' stand organized by Ludwig Stollwerck was awarded the Columbus Medal. This bears the inscription "WORLDS COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION IN COMMEMORATION OF THE FOUR HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE LANDING OF COLUMBUS MDCCCXCII - MDCCCXCIII. GEBR. STOLLWERCK "

Charles Brady King received a bronze medal for his riveting hammer .

See also

Summary of the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago

  • Duration: May 1 - October 30, 1893, opened May 1, 1893 by President Grover Cleveland
  • Location: Jackson Park on the shores of Lake Michigan
  • Start of planning / construction: 1882 / September 1891
  • Landmarks: "White City", exhibition palaces, Ferris Wheel - Ferris wheel in the Midway Plaisance entertainment district
  • Organization:
  • Area: A total of 278 hectares, of which 40 hectares for the more than 200 exhibition buildings
  • Exhibitors: 70,000, including 25,000 from America, 4,000 from Germany, 2,700 from France, 2,200 from Great Britain, 1,100 from Russia
  • Classification: 12 sections, 172 groups, 917 classes
  • Foreign participating states: 45
  • Visitors: 27,529,400, including 4,348,760 non-paying guests
  • Entrance Fees: Adults: $ 0.50; Children ages 6-12: $ 0.25
  • Expenditure: $ 28,151,168
  • Income: $ 28,448,524 (from tickets, concessions, subsidies, and subscriptions)
  • Congresses: 55 congresses, dedicated to topics such as B. "Progress in science and society", "Development of the world in intellectual, moral and material terms"
  • Jury members: 852 members, divided into 13 committees, corresponding to the 13 sections of the exhibition
  • Participants in the competition: 65,422 exhibitors
  • Awards: 23,757 bronze medals with a diploma in which the qualities of the product were described in detail, awarded to 21,000 exhibitors

HH Holmes

The Holmes Hotel, Chicago, IL 60620, USA (Location)

HH Holmes , one of the worst serial killers in American judicial history, used the World's Fair for his crimes. Just in time for the beginning of the World's Columbian Exposition, he opened a huge hotel, called "the Castle" in Chicago, which was a true horror house with trap doors, secret passages, hidden rooms and a cellar with a torture table, acid bath and a room that could be filled with gas. was. Holmes preferred victims were young single women traveling to the World's Fair or to find work in Chicago.

See also


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ The 1893 World's Fair in Chicago: Prehistory ( Memento of October 9, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) ,, accessed on March 5, 2011
  2. ^ Biography DeWitt Clinton Cregier , Mayor of Chicago, 1889-1891
  3. Sell the cookstove if Necessary and come. You must see the fair. Author Hamlin Garland in a letter to his parents, 1893
  4. Bird's-Eye View of the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893 . 1893. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
  5. ^ Benjamin Cummings Truman: History of the World's fair: being a complete description of the World's Columbian exposition from its inception . Mammoth Pub. Co., 1898 ( p. 137 ).
  6. ^ Ljubo Vujovic and Marko Vujovic: World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893-Tesla Society of New York. Retrieved October 26, 2013 .
  7. ^ Pretyman in Newberry Library
  8. ^ Carbon "Stopper" lamp with adapter in the Smithosian
  9. The fair is illuminated at night
  10. Huge spotlights on the roof of the Manufacturers' Building
  11. ^ The complete list of artists employed by the exposure - from painters to sculptors - page 177-180
  12. ^ World's Columbian Exposition, 1893: Official catalog: pt. XIV, woman's building. Edited by The Department of Publicity and Promotion, MP HANDY, Chief . A description of the Woman's Building at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, along with a list of all exhibits contained therein. Publisher: WB Conkey Co., Chicago 1893
  13. ^ The World's Congress of Women - Page 301/302 in: Alfred Sidney Johnson, Clarence A. Bickford, William W. Hudson, Nathan Haskell Dole: The Cyclopedic review of current history , Volume 3
  14. The Jackson Park "L" station
  15. ^ The chapel interior was installed in the Tiffany & Co. (the jewelry firm founded by his father) pavilion in the Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building.
  16. Description of the Tiffany-Chapel exhibited at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago 1893 , An automated lighting system in the chapel cycles through four two- to three-minute settings, each a new visual interpretation of the space. The Charles Mosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park, Florida
  17. : “Popular Science Monthly” / Volume 44 / November 1893 “Electricity at the World's Fair” - Part II By Charles Marshall Lungren , Prof. Elisha Gray and the teleautograph transmitter and receiver - page 52-54
  18. ^ Exhibition of German Mining and Metallurgy, Chicago 1893 , Buchdruckerei W. Koebke, Berlin 1893
  19. The original Viennese bakery on Midway Plaisance
  20. ^ Prize medal World Exhibition Chicago 1893 Designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907) on display at the Moritzburg Foundation - Art Museum of the State of Saxony-Anhalt