1851 London Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations


The first real World’s Fair

Date: 1 May 1851 to October 15
Size: A total area of 26 acres, with 18 acres under cover.
Accommodated 6 039 195 paying visitors
Profit: £ 186 427
Cost to organisers £292,750, with £438,200 in receipts and £67,900 given as a public grant

History’s first real World’s Fair took place in the newly built Crystal Palace in London and at the glittering opening England showed their national achievements. It was the first major effort in World fairs and the expo was a success since it was the largest trade show the world had ever seen .

The Great Event was a notion of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s partner, and is typically thought to be the first international exhibition of goods that are manufactured. It affected the progress of many areas of culture, including artwork-and-layout training, international trade and relationships, and tourism. Queen Victoria opened the Great Expo and it was a symbol of the Victorian age and the role of Great Britain. England had products from its colonies, including various “exotic Peoples”.

The theme of expo 1851 was called the “Great Exhibition of the works of Industry of all Nations” or the “Crystal Palace Exhibition”. Crystal Palace, the famous building that housed the exhibition, seemed to the Swedish agitator and author Fredrika Bremer as “a magic castle and fairy tale…”. .

The event had 6 million visitors. The exhibition would include 13 937 exhibitors of whom 6556 were outside UK and they had four exhibiting categories: Manufactures, Machinery, Raw Materials and Fine Arts. At this first World Expo in London they needed much persuasion and reference to other manufacturers to induce some manufacturers to take part in the competition.

The idea of this first International World’s Expo was that England wanted to show off its successful industrial production. The scope of the exhibition showing the supreme monument to Victorian engineering was initially not fully understood by all nations, and for the first world expo some countries joined with no or in some cases very late contributions.  Inside the building showed some forty different countries.

New technologies

World expositions were especially centered on industry, and were fabled for the show of breakthroughs and scientific developments. World expositions were the systems where the state-of-the-artwork in research and technology from all over the world were brought together.

McCormick exhibited their latest reaper at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and represents the first commercially successful reaper.Read more at sciencemuseum.org.uk

The telegraph made it possible to quickly send information about the weather and it gave rise to the first daily weather maps at the  summer 1851st.

Thomas Cook markets trips to the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park. More than 150,000 visitors from Yorkshire and the Midlands, including a party of 3,000 children from Leicester, Nottingham and Derby, travel to London under his arrangements. Travel agency business had started and the business would expand rapidly to travel to America.

Alarm clock
At the expo they showed the alarm clock that would became increasingly sophisticated.

The Germans
Alfred Krupp showed new guns by solid cast steel. His gleaming canon impressed by everyone. The Englishmen wanted the importing goods have the labeling “Made in German” to protect their industry, ironically the protective move would in the long run became a quality stamp of products.

The Swedes
The Swedish exhibitors showed products from the iron industry, including steel, ores, iron, iron rods and swords.

1851 London Great Exhibition

Wall to Wall Crystal Palace

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