If you go out to the right, you will enter the Belgium exhibition. Follow the first aisle to the left to the end, and you will find yourself in a square room next to the transept. The edges of this room are occupied in part by the cloths of Verviers, in part by the firearms and edged weapons of Liège, that is to say by the two great industries of Belgium. In arms alone, this country exports 12 million francs a year. Among the great number of beautiful rifles, one notices especially those of Mr. Lepage, one of the first manufacturers of this speciality. It is enough to look at his showcase to get an idea of the variety of products of which this industry is susceptible; one sees rifles from 6 fr. to 390 fr., the most expensive prices.
In the middle of the room stands a square filled with sheets, and next to it a tent under which the royal cannon foundry in Liege has established its remarkable products. This tent consists of two compartments leaning against each other. At the back of one of them is a magnificent knight's armour in chiselled zinc; in front of it are placed a field howitzer, 6, 12 and 24 mm guns, and a mortar. The compartment opening on the side of Mr. Lepage's showcase houses, at the back, the bronze bust of King Leopold, then a 3 m.24 c. gun, a 60 mm howitzer, another weighing 2,484 kilograms, a short 24 mm gun, and bulwark rifles of an enormous length.
When you go from this tent to the back of the building, you see in the first aisle, on the left, threads of oakum, on the right, firearms and threads of wool. Behind this aisle, that is to say in the direction of the wall, is a vast room filled all around with hosiery, silks and plushes, damasks, woollens, cloths, products that Belgium has in extraordinary perfection and in great profusion. In the middle stand several enormous displays, equally filled with cloth, fabrics, linen and wool, bed covers, etc. The side of the room that runs along the wall is separated from the rest of the room by oak and walnut doors. At the back of the room there are some superb pieces of furniture, especially armchairs with a mechanism, from 25 to 200 fr. When you leave this compartment and go up to the right, you see a magnificent piece of cabinet furniture, inlaid and carved; opposite, an enormous parquet floor, a real masterpiece by M. Dekyn in Brussels. Further on and on the right-hand side, there are pipes and pottery made of terracotta and refractory clay, as well as a roof covered with flat terracotta tiles.
Next to and near the entrance to the Panorama gallery is a room filled with metal products. The zinc and copper gas pipes for the church of St. Michael in Brussels can be seen here. The right-hand side is occupied by the zinc products of the Société de la Vieille-Montagne, which has seven establishments in Belgium, in addition to its eight in Germany and three in France. Under a monumental zinc pavilion are displayed the rolled products of the Belgian factories, including a sheet of zinc 10 metres long and one metre wide, weighing 175 kilograms; another sheet 4 m. 4 c. long by 1 metre wide, 1 c. thick, and weighing 285 kilograms; then various ornaments, coloured flower pots, etc., etc.
Further forward in the room are the ropes, among others a sample of a submarine telegraph cable, galvanised hell, ordered by the Belgian telegraphs direction; the cable itself will be 5,000 metres long in two ends; it comes out of the workshops of Messrs. Goens and Vertongen, at Vermonde.
Near the entrance of the Panorama, one notices the zinc busts of the French emperor and the empress Eugenie, surrounded by vases and candelabras in bronzed zinc, from the factory of Mr. Vandercamer, in Brussels. Further forward are cabinets and safes, one of which is a very fine imitation of a Boule piece of furniture, with a pump lock.
The room in front of the previous one is still devoted to metal products.
©Promenades dans l'exposition de 1855