The Great Exhibition

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Western Civilization: A Brief History (Spielvogel, 2001), discusses how ‘The Great Exhibition of 1851 was a symbol of the successes of Great Britain, which had become the World’s first industrial nation and it’s richest.’ Furthermore, a vast tree inside the building provided ‘a visible symbol of how the Industrial Revolution had supposedly achieved human domination over nature.’ Being a professor in Western Civilisation at Pennsylvania State University, Spielvogel is a reliable source. The introduction of The Great Exhibition of 1851 (Auerbach, 1999) immediately conveys the scale of importance of the exhibition, ‘the first morning since the creation of the world that all peoples have assembled from all parts of the world and done a common act. By the time the exhibition closed in October, there had been more than six million paid entrances to the Crystal Palace, which, allowing for foreign and repeat visits, represented almost one-fifth of the population of Britain. Auerbach is the professor of history at California State university and has had numerous books published. This highlights that the text is a reliable source of reference. Prince Albert was born in 1819 in Rosenau, Germany. Famed for his educational reform and a worldwide abolition of slavery, he took on the responsibility of running the Queen’s household, estate and office. His ideas during the 19th century were deemed liberal and his mind had a ‘natural bent to the artistic’. His primary aim was to improve the relationship between creativity and industry, ‘he was absorbed in the problem of improving the application of art to the manufacturing industries’ (Beaver, 1970). In 1847, he became president of the Society of Arts and put on three small exhibitions of art ma... ... middle of paper ... ...tion which gained the most publicity was a vast hydraulic press. Invented by Stevenson, the press, operated by just one man, was used to lift vast metal tubes weighing 1 440 tons for a bridge at Bangor. Another prolific exhibit on show was a steam-hammer that had a tolerance so small that it could forge the main bearing of a ships hull or carefully crack an egg. There was a printing machine that was able to reproduce five thousand copies of the prevalent London News in under an hour, a machine for folding envelopes, a machine for rolling cigarettes and even an expanding hearse. The ornate carriages that predated the motorcar had their own gallery alongside early versions of bicycles, known at the time as velocipedes. Such an abundance of machinery for industry was on show that the Queen concluded after visiting in 1851 that there was ‘every conceivable invention’.

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