The World Exposition – Yesterday and Today
The best-known ‘first World Expo’ was held in 1851 in The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, under the title “Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations”. It is sometimes referred to as the Crystal Palace Exhibition in reference to the temporary structure in which it was held. The expo was organized by Prince Albert, Henry Cole, Francis Henry, George Wallis, Charles Dilke and other members of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce as a celebration of modern industrial technology and design. Its prime motive was for Great Britain to make clear to the world its role as industrial leader. Although the Great Exhibition was a platform on which countries from around the world could display their achievements, Great Britain sought to prove its own superiority. The British exhibits at the Great Exhibition apparently held the lead in almost every field where strength, durability, utility and quality were concerned, whether in iron and steel, machinery or textiles. Great Britain also sought to provide the world with the hope of a better future with technology, particularly its own, as the key.
The Crystal Palace was a cast-iron and plate-glass building. More than 14,000 exhibitors from around the world gathered in the Palace’s 990,000 square feet of exhibition space to display examples of the latest technology developed in the Industrial Revolution. Designed by Sir Joseph Paxton, the Great Exhibition building was 1,851 feet long, with an interior height of 128 feet. Because of the recent invention of the cast plateglass method in 1848, which allowed for large sheets of cheap but strong glass, it was at the time the largest amount of glass ever seen in a building and astonished visitors with its clear walls and ceilings that did not require interior lights, thus a “Crystal Palace”.
After the exhibition, the building was rebuilt in an enlarged form on Penge Common next to Sydenham Hill, an affluent South London suburb full of large villas. It stood there from 1854 until its destruction by fire in 1936.
This expo inaugurated World Expos as the hallmark events of a world aspiring to strengthen its connections, celebrate its cultural diversity and marvel at its technological ability that have continued to be held to the present time. The next World Expo takes place in Milan, Italy, in 2015. The focus: “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”. The UAE is bidding to host the World Expo 2020 in Dubai under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. The World Expo has never been held in the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia in the history of the event.
Every five years and for a period of six months, World Expos attract millions of visitors who explore and discover pavilions, exhibitions and cultural events staged by hundreds of participants including nations, international organizations and businesses. World Expos remain a key meeting point for the global community to share innovations and make progress on issues of international importance such as the global economy, sustainable development and improved quality of life for the world’s population.
Each World Expo is a catalyst for economic, cultural and social transformation and generates important legacies for the host city and nation. Here are some highlights. Shanghai 2010 World Expo helped transform a heavily industrial city-centre area into a thriving cultural and commercial district while also bringing its theme “Better City, Better Life” to the attention of 73 million people.
The 1958 Expo in Belgium is best known for the construction of the Atomium.
1901 Buffalo. Niagara Falls powered all those lights.
Comments are closed