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

Industry of all Nations

May 1, 1851 - October 11, 1851


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Fine Arts

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Sculpture in gold and silver, copper, iron, zinc, lead; in compound metals such as bronze, etc.; in simple minerals such as marble, stone, precious stones, clay, etc.; in artificial materials such as glass, porcelain, etc.; in wood and animal substances such as ivory, bone, etc.; in struck or engraved products such as coins, medals, precious stones and stamps, architectural decorations, mosaics and inlaid works, enamels, paintings in the form of stamps, etc.; in the case of the latter, in the case of the former. These are the general features of this field of activity, which includes the following: the production of clay, etc.; artificial materials such as glass, porcelain, etc.; wood and animal substances such as ivory, bone, etc.; struck or engraved products such as coins, medals, precious stones and seals, architectural decorations, mosaics and inlaid works, enamels, frescoes and encaustic paintings; ornamental prints, lithography, zincography and architectural, topographical and anatomical models.

Such are the general features of this vast collection of the products of human industry.

If we consider the proportion in which the different nations of the earth have contributed to it, we find, as might be expected, that the different divisions of Europe furnish the largest and most varied share, and for the most part the same products as are supplied by the national exhibitors. Of particular interest, however, are those products which come from the remotest distance and which are the most limited in quantity and variety.

Thus we find a considerable quantity of natural and artificial products supplied by the islands of the Indian archipelago, and among others birds' nests, which constitute an important article of food, and are highly esteemed in China for their nourishing and fortifying properties. Another important article of food sent from this part of the globe is shark fins, which the Chinese are particularly fond of.

Wax produced by bees from these regions, whose habits differ greatly from those of the insects of the same species which inhabit Europe, is exhibited, for they do not build hives, but hang their nests from the branches of trees, where they sometimes form masses of considerable volume. From the same regions a vast collection of woods used for furnishings has been received, of which at least twenty-eight specimens will appear at the exhibition.

Among these is a specimen of Lingoa wood, which, as is well known, forms the object of Amboyne's trade, and of which one plank measures not less than eight feet in length and nearly five feet in width.

Among the textile materials and manufactured articles of the same regions, there is a species of yarn remarkable for its strength and durability, produced from the bark of a species of nettle called rami.

Also on display are threads from the fibres of the aloe, pineapple and plantain musa.

The collection also contains a number of manufactured novelties, fishing gear, agricultural and industrial equipment, miscellaneous items and some curious models of indigenous ships.

One of these models represents a pirate vessel, first class, designed to carry a crew of 100 men. In this form of vessel, the bowsprit is transformed into a flying bridge, intended to facilitate the boarding of the ships being attacked. In a smaller, second-class model, designed for a crew of 50 men, a platform is attached to the mast with grappling hooks, and serves as a flying bridge for boarding.