1893 Chicago – Columbian World Exposition

The White City in Chicago

Chicago, Illinois

One of the greatest expo of all time when you look at all new inventions. 27 millions of visitors – largest crowd in the US history also called The World’s Columbian Exposition since the expo was 400 years after Columbus discovered America.

Duration Started in May ended in October 1893.

The men behind the project were two architects named Daniel Burnham and John Root. Chicago was rebuilding after the fire. There are still two buildings left standing today from the Chicago World Fair – The Art Institute and The Museum of Science & Industry.

Photo from Teslasociety

The first world electrified world fair

Both Tesla and Edison show their competing standards. Westinghouse outbid Edison for the contract to power the expositions lighting and electrical systems.  Over Two Hundred thousand electric light bulbs were illuminated by the President using Tesla’s polyphase alternating current system.

Hall of science and new inventions like:

  • Thomas Edison first motion picture
  • Long distance phone calls and speakers
  • Flush toilet
  • Electricity irons
  • The first Ferris wheel designed by George Ferris
  • The America Cereal company had a pavilion

Reconstruction model walking through the event

The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry is the only remaining building from the Columbian World Exposition.

The postcards from the expo

At The World Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 sold a series of ten cards which was the first commercially produced postcards in the United States.

Sweden participates with a large pavilion and got a very good rating. An American Journal writes that “Without a doubt, Sweden has hosted the largest and most comprehensive exhibition of all nations that take part in the fair.” They also had a viking replica of the Norwegian “Gokstad” viking ship that crossed the Atlantic from Bergen Norway to be exhibited at the expo.

The first serial killer

But there was also dark things going on during the expo. While Burnham planned the “white city” a nightmare house was constructed in another part of Chicago. Henry Howard Holmes is usually described as America’s first serial killer, was active during the World Expo in Chicago. Holmes confessed 27 murders during the World Exposition in Chicago in 1893 but may have killed as many as 200, among other things in his hotel built like a maze with sound-proof room where the murders took place. A new movie is now planned about Holmes in which Leonardo DiCaprio will play the killer. In the bestseller book “The Devil in the White City” writes Erik Larson about Burnham, Holmes and the World Expo.

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