During the Industrial Revolution, many major advances occurred in agriculture, technology, and even society itself. Some saw the need to document or flaunt these substantial changes. These ideas were showcased at the Great Palace Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, also referred to as The Crystal Palace Exhibition (Named after the original structure it took place in). The Crystal Palace Exhibition began in Hyde Park, London and was organized by Prince Albert and Henry Cole.
Several countries had exhibits with Britain having the most. The biggest exhibit was a hydraulic press that had lifted metal tubes for a bridge in Bangor, which was invented by Stevenson.
There was a printing machined that could produce 5,000 copies of the Illustrated London News in an hour. There was also folding pianos that could be used on ships and a pulpit connected to pews by rubber tubes so the deaf could hear, and ink that caused words on paper to be raised for the blind to read. An entire gallery was filled with carriages and even had a few velocipedes, which were the early versions of bicycles.
From Canada came a fire-engine that had scenes of Canada painted on the sides and a plethora of furs. India brought a throne made of ivory, a coat covered with pearls, emeralds, and rubies, and a howdah for an elephant. One of the most notable exhibits was Samuel Colt’s exhibit that featured his Colt Navy, Walker, and Dragoon revolvers. The largest foreign contributors to the Exhibition, the French, brought tapestries, porcelain, silks, and furniture. The Russians brought huge vases and urns made out of porcelain and malachite, furs, sledges, and Cossack armor. Matthew Brady showed off his daguerreotype, which was one of the first cameras, and earned him a medal while Frederick Bakewell showed what would be a precursor to the fax machine. The two exhibits that captured the public’s attention was the Koh-i-Norr diamond, which was thought to be priceless, and a collection of stuffed animals sent by the German Customs Union. The Exhibition was opened by Queen Victoria and was visited by several prominent figures of that time including Charles Darwin and members of the French Royal Family.
“The Great Exhibition.” British Library. The British Library Board, n.d. Web. 30 Sep 2014