A Brief History of World's Fairs

A Brief History of World's Fairs
Hulton-Deutsch Collection / CORBIS

London, 1851: The Crystal Palace
The World's Fair — officially known as the Universal Exposition — is an international exhibition that has served a number of purposes since its inception. The first fair, the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Continents, was held in 1851 in Hyde Park, London. The fair with the lofty name functioned as a platform for nations to showcase their innovations in science and technology. Modern marvels ranged from the first public toilet to a precursor to the modern-day fax machine, but the one creation that literally overshadowed everything else was the Crystal Palace — a greenhouse-like structure fabricated from modular cast iron and glass that housed the entire exhibition.

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