There is no doubt about it, the Chicago Worlds Fair of 1893 was a dazzling event. For a period of 6 months the world looked in awe at Chicago. The attendance numbers are staggering even today, 28 million people paid their 50 cents to marvel at the wonders brought in from all over the globe.

Innovators such as Henry Ford and Frank Lloyd Wright are said to have got much of their inspiration from the Worlds Fair.

The Worlds Fair has long been a showcase for innovation, and this one was no exception. The main site consisted of 6 buildings surrounding a lagoon. The site and buildings themselves were things of awe. The site was reclaimed marshlands jutting out into Lake Michigan, and the Manufacturing building was the largest structure on the planet. All six buildings gave the impression that they had been carved from the finest marble. Not so. They were built using wood and a special kind of plaster. Even more mind boggling the construction time was a mere 18 months! When you factor in the less than clement weather that Chicago boasts in the winter months, this is an astounding feat of engineering.

While serious technology was the purpose of the fair, it was also an opportunity for some less serious innovations. The world met the Ferris Wheel for the very first time. After a trip on this fabulous ride you could sample a sweet tasty treat, one that is still with us today. Cracker Jack’s made their debut, although I do not believe they included a prize at that time 🙂

The real innovation though happened at sunset. This was the time that the crowds had been waiting for. In 1893 the War Of The Currents was raging, the battle between Westinghouse’s AC and Thomas Edison’s DC. The Worlds Fair had selected the Westinghouse system, and as the sun dropped the crowd were awed by the power of the electric light bulb, many thousands of them.This was innovation at its very finest!

The Magic Of The White City Expo is a wonderful documentary. If you love history, this is a fabulous snapshot of an event that has long been forgotten. I would love to see some teachers buy this DVD and show it in their history class. The 1893 Worlds Fair represents a very important part of our social history.

I also want to put in a shameless plug for the distribution company, Janson Media. They specialize in documentaries and they do it oh so well. I have had the pleasure of watching several of them and have yet to be disappointed.

To order your copy just click on the Amazon link above.

Me? I am headed to the store for some Cracker Jacks! I have been thinking about them since I watched the DVD.

Simon Barrett

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