Leaving the Belgian exhibition, we find ourselves in that of the United States, arranged opposite the great entrance of the northern pavilion. Starting from the right-hand perimeter, we first see views of the Crystal Palace in New York, some works of natural history, and a little further on other samples of American engraving and typography. Two pianos and a few violins prove that the Americans are not only occupied with useful things, but that they also cultivate the arts. This is followed by samples of ores exhibited by the French Society of Native Copper Mines (of Lake Superior), and next to it, a small cast iron medallion representing Franklin, the inventor of the lightning rod. The large carved oak sideboard decorated with paintings on wood is exhibited by M. Ringuet Leprince in New York and Paris. A small showcase next to it contains gold ores of crystallized gold and mercury sulphide (cinnabar). These crystallised gold ores are remarkable for their large size and the regularity of the crystals.
Next come the standards of weights and measures of North America, which were given by the Congress to the French Government, and which are of such accuracy that M. Silberman, curator of the Arts-et-Métiers, used one of these standards to adjust the platinum kilogram which was exhibited in 1851 at the London Exhibition. The scales of Mr. Kline, of New York, in a showcase, are also of superior workmanship and great sensitivity; for they measure half a milligram to 50 pounds.
The maps hanging on the side panel are the maps of winds and currents in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, drawn up by Lieutenant Maury, of the Washington Observatory. These charts are based on information from individual navigators; but the American government publishes them at its own expense and distributes them to navigators who oblige themselves to supply Lieutenant Maury with all the information and experience resulting from their voyages. On the tables, under the charts, we will see, next to the Californian gold, a model of a mobile spur and a breeching keel, of the invention of Mr. Maskell.
Further on we see samples of medals: and coins of the United States, models of vessels, principally that of the steamers Delaware and North-Carolina, and of a miniature steamer built by Mr. D. King, having a steam engine of 2,000 horse power and being only 6 feet in weight, with cargo, which enables her to sail the rivers. This ship contains 94 first class rooms, and 400 cabins, besides 500 steerage passengers. She has a capacity of 1,000 tons and can travel at 25 miles per hour, according to the exhibitor's statement. Samples of banknotes are displayed underneath.
The two middle pavilions are occupied by Mr. Goodyear's hard rubber goods. Rubber replaces wood, iron, copper and other hard materials: carved knife handles, theatrical binoculars, cases, surgical instruments, even small relief paintings imitating metal, and a book printed on rubber. - Behind the square we have just been looking at is a large square filled with other rubber objects of Mr. Goodyear, boots, clothes, musical instruments even, and even painted rubber hangings, one of which attracts the attention of our soldiers, who find in it scenes of the present war in the Crimea. The middle is occupied by a tent, canoes, buffers, etc., all made of rubber.
The square next to America's, on the south side of the nave, was also intended for the United States. But the consignments from America were so small that it was possible to give this square to a few late exhibitors, who filled it with beautiful furniture from Parisian factories, among which we may note a pretty little bookcase by M. Ribaillier, bought by the Emperor, a pretty piece of furniture in marquetry by M. Schindler, a beautiful jardinière, and armchairs and settees, in the middle. The western panel of this room is decorated with a monumental marble and bronze fireplace by M. Fourdinois, priced at 45,000 fr. An oval bas-relief which replaces the mirror represents a hunting subject; two figures in natural size, caressing dogs, are at the sides. The top is decorated with angels. All these ornaments are in bronze. Next to it is a pretty little piece of furniture made of Algerian wood, thuja and pistachio from the forests of the French government in Algeria, also exhibited by M. Fourdinois and bought by the Duke of Hamilton.
©Promenades dans l'exposition de 1855