Exposition Universelle (1878)

Exposition Universelle (1878)

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The third Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 World's Fair, called an Exposition Universelle in French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

, was held from 1 May through to 10 November 1878. It celebrated the recovery of France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 after the 1870 Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

.

Construction



The buildings and the fairgrounds were somewhat unfinished on opening day, as political complications had prevented the French government from paying much attention to the exhibition until six months before it was due to open. However, efforts made in April were prodigious, and by 1 June, a month after the formal opening, the exhibition was finally completed.

This exposition was on a far larger scale than any previously held anywhere in the world. It covered over 66 acre (267,092.8 m²), the main building in the Champ de Mars
Champ de Mars
The Champ de Mars is a large public greenspace in Paris, France, located in the seventh arrondissement, between the Eiffel Tower to the northwest and the École Militaire to the southeast. The park is named after the Campus Martius in Rome, a tribute to the Roman god of war...

 occupying 54 acre (218,530.4 m²). The French exhibits filled one-half of the entire space, with the remaining exhibition space divided among the other nations of the world. Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 was the only major country which was not represented, but there were a few German paintings being exhibited. The United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 exhibition was headed by a series of commissioners, which included Pierce M. B. Young
Pierce M. B. Young
Pierce Manning Butler Young was a major general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War and a post-war politician, diplomat, and four-term United States Congressman from Georgia....

, a former United States Congressman and major general
Major General
Major general or major-general is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. A major general is a high-ranking officer, normally subordinate to the rank of lieutenant general and senior to the ranks of brigadier and brigadier general...

 in the Confederate States Army
Confederate States Army
The Confederate States Army was the army of the Confederate States of America while the Confederacy existed during the American Civil War. On February 8, 1861, delegates from the seven Deep South states which had already declared their secession from the United States of America adopted the...

, as well as other generals, politicians, and celebrities.

The United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, British India, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Victoria
Victoria (Australia)
Victoria is the second most populous state in Australia. Geographically the smallest mainland state, Victoria is bordered by New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania on Boundary Islet to the north, west and south respectively....

, New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

, Queensland
Queensland
Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the north-eastern section of the mainland continent. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean...

, South Australia
South Australia
South Australia is a state of Australia in the southern central part of the country. It covers some of the most arid parts of the continent; with a total land area of , it is the fourth largest of Australia's six states and two territories.South Australia shares borders with all of the mainland...

, Cape Colony
Cape Colony
The Cape Colony, part of modern South Africa, was established by the Dutch East India Company in 1652, with the founding of Cape Town. It was subsequently occupied by the British in 1795 when the Netherlands were occupied by revolutionary France, so that the French revolutionaries could not take...

 and some of the British crown colonies
Crown colony
A Crown colony, also known in the 17th century as royal colony, was a type of colonial administration of the English and later British Empire....

 occupied nearly one-third of the space set aside for nations outside France. The United Kingdom's expenditure was defrayed out of the consolidated revenue; each British colony defrayed its own expenses. The UK display was under the control of a royal commission, of which the Prince of Wales
Edward VII of the United Kingdom
Edward VII was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910...

 was president.

Displays


The exhibition of fine arts and new machinery was on a very large and comprehensive scale, and the Avenue des Nations, a street 730 metres in length, was devoted to examples of the domestic architecture of nearly every country in Europe and several in Asia, Africa and America. The "Gallery of Machines" was an industrial showcase of low transverse arches, designed by the engineer Henri de Dion
Henri de Dion
Earl Henri de Dion was a French engineer of École Centrale Paris. His work helped in the construction of the Eiffel Tower. For his contributions to its construction, de Dion was honored by being listed as one of the 72 names on the Eiffel Tower.-References:...

 (1828–78). Many of the buildings and statues were made of staff, a low-cost temporary building material invented in Paris in 1876, which consisted of jute
Jute
Jute is a long, soft, shiny vegetable fibre that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. It is produced from plants in the genus Corchorus, which has been classified in the family Tiliaceae, or more recently in Malvaceae....

 fiber, plaster of Paris, and cement
Cement
In the most general sense of the word, a cement is a binder, a substance that sets and hardens independently, and can bind other materials together. The word "cement" traces to the Romans, who used the term opus caementicium to describe masonry resembling modern concrete that was made from crushed...

.


On the northern bank of the Seine River, an elaborate palace was constructed for the exhibition at the tip of the Place du Trocadéro
Trocadéro
The Trocadéro, , site of the Palais de Chaillot, , is an area of Paris, France, in the 16th arrondissement, across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. The hill of the Trocadéro is the hill of Chaillot, a former village.- Origin of the name :...

. It was a handsome "Moorish" structure, with towers 76 metres in height and flanked by two galleries. The building stood until 1937. On 30 June 1878, the completed head of the Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886...

 was showcased in the garden of the Trocadéro palace, while other pieces were on display in the Champs de Mars.


Among the many inventions on display was Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell was an eminent scientist, inventor, engineer and innovator who is credited with inventing the first practical telephone....

's telephone. Electric arc lighting
Arc lamp
"Arc lamp" or "arc light" is the general term for a class of lamps that produce light by an electric arc . The lamp consists of two electrodes, first made from carbon but typically made today of tungsten, which are separated by a gas...

 had been installed all along the Avenue de l'Opera and the Place de l'Opera, and in June, a switch was thrown and the area was lit by electric Yablochkov arc lamps
Yablochkov candle
A Yablochkov candle is a type of electric carbon arc lamp, invented in 1876 by Pavel Yablochkov.-Design:A Yablochkov candle consists of a sandwich of two long carbon blocks, approximately 6 by 12 millimetres in cross-section, separated by a block of inert material such as plaster of paris or kaolin...

, powered by Zénobe Gramme
Zénobe Gramme
Zénobe Théophile Gramme was a Belgian electrical engineer. He invented the Gramme machine, a type of direct current dynamo capable of generating smoother and much higher voltages than the dynamos known to that point.In 1873 he and Hippolyte Fontaine accidentally discovered that the device was...

 dynamos. Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
Thomas Alva Edison was an American inventor and businessman. He developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. In addition, he created the world’s first industrial...

  had on display a megaphone
Megaphone
A megaphone, speaking-trumpet, bullhorn, blowhorn, or loud hailer is a portable, usually hand-held, cone-shaped horn used to amplify a person’s voice or other sounds towards a targeted direction. This is accomplished by channelling the sound through the megaphone, which also serves to match the...

 and phonograph
Phonograph
The phonograph record player, or gramophone is a device introduced in 1877 that has had continued common use for reproducing sound recordings, although when first developed, the phonograph was used to both record and reproduce sounds...

. International juries judged the various exhibits, awarding medals of gold, silver and bronze. One popular feature was a human zoo
Human zoo
Human zoos were 19th- and 20th-century public exhibits of humans, usually in a so-called natural or primitive state. The displays often emphasized the cultural differences between Europeans of Western civilisation and non-European peoples...

, called a "negro village", composed of 400 "indigenous people".

Attendance


Over 13 million people paid to attend the exposition, making it a financial success. The cost of the enterprise to the French government, which supplied all the construction and operating funds, was a little less than a million English Pounds, after allowing for the value of the permanent buildings and the Trocadero Palace, which were sold to the city of Paris. The total number of persons who visited Paris during the time the exhibition was open was 571,792, or 308,974 more than came to the French metropolis during 1877, and 46,021 in excess of the visitors during the previous exhibition of 1867. In addition to the general impetus given to French trade, the revenue from customs and duties from the foreign visitors increased by nearly three million sterling compared with the previous year.

Concurrent with the exposition, a number of meetings and conferences were held to gain consensus on international standards. French writer Victor Hugo
Victor Hugo
Victor-Marie Hugo was a Frenchpoet, playwright, novelist, essayist, visual artist, statesman, human rights activist and exponent of the Romantic movement in France....

 led the Congress for the Protection of Literary Property, which led to the eventual formulation of international copyright
Copyright
Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time...

 laws. Similarly, other meetings led to efforts to standardize the flow of mail from country to country. The International Congress for the Amelioration of the Condition of Blind People led to the worldwide adoption of the Braille
Braille
The Braille system is a method that is widely used by blind people to read and write, and was the first digital form of writing.Braille was devised in 1825 by Louis Braille, a blind Frenchman. Each Braille character, or cell, is made up of six dot positions, arranged in a rectangle containing two...

 System of touch-reading.

In fiction


Enrique Gaspar y Rimbau
Enrique Gaspar y Rimbau
Enrique Lucio Eugenio Gaspar y Rimbau was a Spanish diplomat and writer, who wrote plays, zarzuelas , and novels.-Biography:...

's time travel novel El Anacronópete starts with a lecture in the Exposition.

Eoin Colfer
Eoin Colfer
Eoin Colfer is an Irish author. He is most famous as the author of the Artemis Fowl series, but he has also written other successful books. His novels have been compared to the works of J. K. Rowling...

's novel Airman
Airman (novel)
Airman, by Eoin Colfer, is a best-selling historical adventure novel set in the 19th century. It was released in the UK, Ireland and USA in January 2008. The novel was shortlisted for the 2009 Carnegie Medal....

begins with its protagonists (Conor Broekhart) birth at the Exposition.