1878 PARIS EXHIBITION
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 acres (270.000 m2), the main building in the Champ de Mars and the hill of Chaillot, occupying 54 acres (220.000 m2). The Gare du Champ de Mars was rebuilt with four tracks to receive rail traffic occasioned by the exposition. The Pont d'Iéna linked the two exhibition sites along the central allée. The French exhibits filled one-half of the entire space, with the remaining exhibition space divided among the other nations of the world. Germany was the only major country which was not represented, but there were a few German paintings being exhibited. The United States exhibition was headed by a series of commissioners, which included Pierce M. B. Young, a former United States Congressman and major general in the Confederate States Army, as well as other generals, politicians, and celebrities.
The United Kingdom, British India, Canada, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Cape Colony and some of the British crown colonies 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 was president.
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 (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 fiber, plaster of Paris and cement.
On the northern bank of the Seine River, an elaborate palace was constructed for the exhibition at the tip of the Place du Trocadéro. 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 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's telephone. Electric arc lighting 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, powered by Zénobe Gramme dynamos. Thomas Edison had on display a megaphone and phonograph. International juries judged the various exhibits, awarding medals of gold, silver and bronze. One popular feature was a human zoo, called a "negro village", composed of 400 "indigenous people". And Augustin Mouchot's Solar powered engine converting solar energy into mechanical steam power, he won a Gold Medal in Class 54 for his works, most notably the production of ice using concentrated solar heat.
To the Editor of the:
" Journal of Domestic Appliance and Sewing Machine Gazette"
Gentlemen, can you oblige me with a list of the different firms, who exhibited sewing machines at the late Paris Exhibition,1878 and oblige yours truly.
We have no list of exhibitors, but the following are the firms who received awards.
Editor, J. D. A. & S. M. G.
Messrs. Wheeler & Wilson, London
American Button Hole Co. (Rappel), London. Bradbury and Co., Oldham; Smith, Starley & Co., London; Wilson. Newton & Co., London.
Raymond Sewing Machine Co., London; Wardwell Manufacturing Co., United States.
William Bown, Birmingham.