THE FINE ARTS.
M. Marius Vachon, in the newspaper La France, appreciated the exhibition of American artists as follows:
"Would the United States, which in all other branches of human knowledge hold such an honourable place, which has scholars, literary men and poets, be refractory to art? Their exhibition does not contain any original works of artistic temperament. Those, two or three in number, which are exceptions, are included in this section only because of the nationality of their authors and would belong more accurately to the exhibition in France, where these artists have made their choice of domicile after having followed the teachings of our masters. It is obvious that Mr. Bridgmann, whose paintings, the Funeral of a Mummy and Pharisees and Publicans, are very remarkable, has only a legal American origin. Can the same be said of the late M. Williet, a pupil of Couture, who rarely worked outside France and to whom Brittany provided the subjects of most of his genre paintings?
"Mr. Hovenden and Mr. Ward are pupils of Mr. Cabanel and belong to the artistic colony of Pont-Aven (Brittany), which they hardly ever leave except for Rome, Venice or Naples. The paintings of these artists distracted from the American section, there is very little left to mention, a portrait by Mr. Vinton, the Shearing of sheep in Bavaria, by Mr. Shirlaw, of a pleasant and well composed colour; a lady's portrait, by Mr. Porter; some American landscapes, by Messrs. Gifford, Wyantt; the Bridge of Grez, by Mr. Bloomer; a painting byM. Hamilton, the Great Show, by Mr. Brown, a picturesque composition, well drawn, whose colouring has great qualities. For the rest, these are studies which obviously show a great deal of goodwill and excellent intentions; but we find nothing to criticise or praise in them.
In our opinion, there are still works in this excessively limited exhibition, since it only includes 156 paintings and drawings, that deserve a mention.
The Funeral of a Mummy, which struck Mr. Marius Vachon, is in every way worthy of praise; the colouring is warm, it is indeed the fiery sky of the Orient; but the artist has managed to avoid those gaudy tones, those raw colours which shocked us in several paintings of the English exhibition.
Mr. Brown has painted a delightful little genre picture; standing on a pavement are four toddlers, giving signs of the greatest contentment. What are they looking at? A passing circus.
It was impossible to render the different shades of childish joy more truly.
Mr. Johnson's Corn Harvest is a very curious and studied work.
Under the title Solitude, Mr. Duna has rendered a very beautiful effect of the moon at sea.
Mr. Quartley's view of the Port of New York is very thoughtful.
The Daisy, by Mr. Sade, is a very charming genre painting; an incredible man is lying on the grass, next to him, in a graceful pose, a young girl is questioning the daisy.
It is cheerful, it is fresh, it is sentimental, it is charming, - and the painting is good.
EDUCATION, PRINTING, BOOKSELLING, PHOTOGRAPHY, MUSIC, GEOGRAPHY, ETC.
It is to the credit of the United States that in no other country is education the object of so much concern, so much intelligent solicitude.
The United States Collective Exhibition of Education has been prepared and organized by the Commissioner-General himself, Mr. Mac Cormick.
Born in New York in 1832, he had first been engaged in business. At the time of the Crimean War, he visited Europe and brought back a volume of correspondence which had a great impact on our continent. He is also the author of a work entitled: Saint-Paul à Sainte-Sophie, ou Impressions de voyage en Europe.
This liberal, elevated spirit, which personifies the spirit of American progress, is to be found at every step in the exposition of education. All the states are represented in this set, which includes both teachers and boarding school masters, and all the industrialists whose work relates to the needs of education.
The frontispiece of the room reserved for this exhibition reads: Public education is free in all the States of the Union.
As far as the book trade is concerned, the visitor can see in the American library the great progress made on the other side of the Atlantic since the Exhibition of 1867. No longer confining themselves, as formerly, to counterfeiting books published in England, the booksellers of New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and other cities of the Union publish original magazines, volumes, and newspapers, often illustrated with the greatest luxury of engravings made in America, and set up with the greatest typographical luxury. Messrs. Harper Brothers, Scribner, Armstrong, Lippincott, and Osgood in particular deserve the highest praise for their exhibition, tastefully arranged by Mr. Terquem, the Parisian agent of the American publishers.
Let us not leave books without mentioning Danner's swivel book rack. This rack has four sides, each with four tiers of shelves on which to place works of daily use. With a slight movement of the hand, you can turn the rack to suit your needs. This piece of furniture can therefore be placed next to the desk or work table, and is undeniably practical.
Photography is very widely represented, and is worthy of all praise.
As soon as one enters, one's eyes are drawn to a veritable abundance of photographs of all sizes, among which we note the photographs of Mr. Sarony, the enamelled photographs of Mr. J. Gurney, of New York, whose colours are unalterable to air and humidity, and portraits, notably those of President Hayes and Mrs. Hayes, of Mr. Landy, of Cincinnati; the graceful portraits of children of Mr. Joshua Smith, of Chicago, etc. Several of these exhibitors also show some well executed charcoal drawings and portraits.
The window of Mr. Gutekunst also contains a very fine photograph of President Lincoln.
Music is represented by excellent pianos from Meyer and Sons, of Philadelphia, and by parlor organs from Estey, of Brateleboro, and Mason and Hamlin, of New York.
The medical, hygienic, and geographical classes present nothing extraordinary; except, however, the splendid dentures of Mr. Samuel White, so natural as to remind one of the lion of the Scripture quærens quem devoret.
FURNITURE, CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES.
The furniture is rare, showing little artistic feeling, but a refined understanding of comfort. We shall only mention the articulated seats and beds, whose backs can be lowered, raised and bent at the will of the person who wishes to rest his body on them; a precious help for the sick who have aching kidneys to be spared.
Tapestry, ceramics, and crystalware will not stop us; cutlery displays before our eyes a host of small gold and silver objects of great workmanship; next to them are feathers and feather holders of the same material, small masterpieces of taste and convenience, brought by Messrs. Fairchild and Co. of New York, and by Messrs. Aiken, Lambert and Co.
Goldsmithing is best personified by the name of Tiffany and Company, of New York; but it is so personified as to give us a high idea of the progress of this industrial art in the New World. Jewellery, solid or ruolz silverware, jewellery, clocks and watches, art bronzes, setting and cutting of fine stones, this Tiffany exhibition includes a little of everything, and shows us in each genre some very remarkable specimens. It must be said all the more highly, that the articles exhibited are all taken from current manufacture, and not pieces purposely cured for the humbug effect to be produced in Europe.
We reproduce a drawing of Bryant's Vase, of which an electro-galvanic copy appears in this display case. It is known that this vase was given to the great journalist poet William Culten Bryant in honour of his eightieth year. J1 was the product of a subscription raised in all the States of the Union and the work of the Tiffany House. The designs symbolising the poet's life are executed in repoussé with admirable finesse and harmony.
No less remarkable is the reproduction of the Cypriot collection, ancient jewels found at Carium by General di Cesnola, and now in the possession of the Metropolitan Museum of New York. The imitation made by Messrs. Tiffany is a complete illusion.
We shall not astonish the reader by announcing the richness of the fabric class. Our French manufacturers, like those in England, have said loudly enough how threatening is the competition they are facing on our market from the cottons and silks of the United States. It is not we, the consumers, who will complain. The garments are interesting, but more for the strangeness of cut and shape. A showcase of illustrated paper patterns, executed like cloth suits, with such perfection that the eye can mistake them, excites the admiration of visitors. Designed with perfect taste by their author, Mrs. Demorest, they offer, we are told, great economy to women who want to make their own costumes.
One of the most curious American originalities is the Palmer parasol, which one does not have the trouble of carrying, which adapts to the waist, to the shoulders, and shades the head completely, which spares the pretty hands the weight, so light already, of the parasol or the en-tout-cas.
Do you like rescue devices? Here is David Kakwiler's, a kind of jacket with sleeves, which necessarily keeps your head above water. Another curiosity is the Warner Bros. corset, from New York, with straps; these straps may be a relief to the opulent, but they must be a hindrance to the pretty misses who want to be unclothed.
There is little to be said of travel goods; the American and the English have pushed the science of comfort very far; witness the trunks so ingeniously combined by Simon and Brothers, of Newark.
Let us enter the weapons class. Here is the Remington showcase, a very fine collection of revolvers and pistols richly mounted in ivory, mother-of-pearl, silver or gold, engraved, nielloed, etc., and samples of the known rifle, The great advantage of this weapon is the ease with which, when the shot is fired, the base of the cartridge is removed and jumps a fair distance when the hammer is raised. This is the system already applied in our country to the Gras rifle. Next to it is the Owen Jones revolver, from Philadelphia, which automatically gets rid of burnt cartridges and of those alone, naturally.
IT IS THE ONLY WAY TO GET RID OF BURNT CARTRIDGES, AND THESE ALONE, OF COURSE.
It would be tedious to enter here into the details of the many objects included under this heading. It is well known to what degree of perfection the Americans have brought the manufacture of common metal instruments. Their locks and tiny keys are renowned; their files and pliers are no less so. The Granite iron ware company shows remarkable specimens of enamelled sheet metal kitchen and household utensils, of extraordinary lightness and unrivalled cleanliness.
The stoves, the kitchen stoves testify to a science of comfort more accomplished perhaps than that of the English.
Among the products of the forests, let us mention the sumac and an ash special to America, which give woods that are at once supple, elastic, light and strong, and precious for coachwork and wagon-making. We found nothing exceptional in furs and fur. Tobacco is very varied and numerous. The Virginia tobaccos seem to us to be superior to all the advertised and known tobaccos; in any case, they are perhaps better than the tobaccos of the Orient.
The wools are of fine quality; we urge the connoisseur to go through the long series of racks in the agricultural annex, where they are all methodically arranged and labelled; they will also find there the varieties of cotton and silk harvested in the Union.
The chemicals here, as everywhere, are cumbersome and noisy. Here are Tilden's bromo chloralum, Tilden's iodo bromide of calcinjm, Hotchkiss's pure mint oils, cosmolubric, an oil already much used and highly esteemed by the builders of machinery; it is now used to lubricate all the organs of those which operate at the Exhibition; then borax, castor oil, glycerine, and the whole long series of products used by pharmacy and industry.
In the class of hides and skins we find an esteemed extract, hemlock, from the house of Yung and Co.; it is said to be much used by American tanners, and that they owe to it the beauty of their leathers, a beauty obtained more economically.
MACHINES AND MECHANICAL CONSTRUCTIONS.
This part of the American Exposition, though not very well supplied, contained some extremely interesting apparatus, such as the coal perforator of the Lechner Mining machine Cie, the scales of Howe Scale, the electric nickel-plating apparatus of Weston, the gas machines of Mathews, the Friedmann injectors and ejectors of Nathan and Dreyfus, etc.
One of the attractions of this class is the machine of Clough and Williamson (Newark), which, with a wire, in one stroke, in less time than it takes to say it, makes you a light, elegant corkscrew, and so strong that it pierces a board.
Let us notice nearby an excellent dovetail-cutting machine, exhibited by Messrs. J. Fay and Company, of Cincinnati. Our drawing shows its space-saving and remarkably simple layout. The workmanship is perfect; it cuts a perfectly even dovetail on both sides and from the front, in the same operation, on a piece 3.177 centimetres thick and 29.48 centimetres wide. When it comes to narrow drawers, it makes two sides and two faces at the same time with precision and speed. The operation is accomplished by raising or lowering the lever with the hand.
Next to it is a machine that is one of the most successful curiosity machines. It is the press for stamping tinplate and sheet metal, and for making sardine cans, buckets and other vessels of similar use in one go. It is exhibited by Messrs. Blis and Williams, of Brooklyn. The speed with which the metal sheet is transformed, under the impact of the piston, into an absolutely regular can is astonishing. It is done with the rapidity of lightning.
Nor will you forget a charming little machine, a mechanical jewel, which fits on the edge of a table, railing, etc., and peels apples. It is only in America that one finds these inventions. It is hardly as big as this sheet of paper; your hand, taking the crank, makes the wheel turn, and the apple is peeled. The fruit falls at once, automatically pushed aside by the pusher, into a basket placed to receive it.
The moulding machine, for all kinds of metals, exhibited by Messrs. Aikin and Drummond, of Louisville, works by hand or by steam and weighs about 600 kilograms; it is an ingenious creation.
We cannot pass over in silence the typewriter called Type Writer; it is still one of the astonishments of this American section so fertile in surprises. A young girl, seated in front of a sort of piano, moves her finger across a keyboard, each key of which bears a letter, or a number, or a punctuation mark: this movement is enough to make the character appear typographically on the paper. This machine lends itself to all needs and should be of great help to all those who have to write quickly and a lot. The result is remarkable: the writing thus produced is a kind of printing in capital letters, very clear, very legible, infinitely easier and quicker to decipher than the most careful manuscript.
Nothing is less complicated than the mechanism and the operation; 44 keys are arranged in four rows, forming a keyboard that can be played with both hands. The letter it is to mark is very clearly engraved on each key; there is no room for misunderstanding. The fingering is both easier and quicker than that of the piano; moreover, it takes only three or four days' practice to write 40 to 50 words per minute. There are hardly any pens that can do this, even if they are very alert.
What seems to us to be the superior advantage of this machine, already very perfected after much practice, is that it spares the writer all fatigue. Those who have a nervous hand, and there are many of them, will agree with us. Let us add that there is no ink to be poured here or to dry up; neither the fingers nor the clothes get dirty; finally, the trepidation of a wagon or a ship does not prevent it from writing, whereas it makes the use of the pen impossible.
This machine is in use in many administrations, newspapers and private homes. All the owners seem equally delighted with it. In Paris, it can be seen in operation and purchased from Messrs. Williams et Cie, 1, rue Caumartin.
The Type Writer Company is represented at the Exhibition by Messrs. John, G. Rollins and Co., American traders in London, who are the European agents for the leading manufacturers of agricultural machinery, tools and the like in the United States.
Among these tools are the American Batcheller forks, which became so rapidly popular, as soon as their extreme lightness, combined with astonishing elasticity and strength, was appreciated. Their handles are made of that American ash of which we have just mentioned the precious qualities of strength and lightness. The steel forming the tines of these forks is of a very special hardness, in the secret of which we must seek the reason for their extraordinary elasticity. Mr. Pilter, the dealer in the Rue Alibert, Paris, throws real quantities of them daily into circulation, where they are received with increasing and justified favour.
Messrs. Rollins have also installed a vast collection of scales and balances of all sizes, Fairbanks system, from the one that weighs a few grams of groceries, to the gigantic bridge scales that hold 200,000 kilograms. The distinguishing quality of these weighing machines is their high accuracy. Add to this an extreme solidity, originality of form, a very great elegance of appearance, a lot of brilliance, a very great ease of handling, and you will have an idea of this brilliant exhibition, which moreover won the highest awards wherever it wanted to compete.
Among the imports of the Rollins company, let us also mention original table-chairs, of an ingenious system, for children; then children's carriages with bonnets, very graceful and very light; locks, hand saws, pumps which make it possible to send water to the farms at surprising distances and heights; Forage presses, the lawn mower known as "the Archimedean", seeders, horse rakes, ploughs and cultivators, spades and rippers, root cutters, etc. , In short, the entire arsenal of agricultural operations.
Then come the general mechanical devices and machine tools; the weaving looms, then the sewing machines. Among these, we should note the princess embroiderer, completely made of steel and of imperishable use. In addition to ordinary sewing cotton, it requires only one thread of the necessary size and colour to operate. It thus makes the braid and the fixed in one and the same operation.
The exhibition of railway equipment is a real eye-catcher. It is wide, airy, smooth-running; one moves from one end of the train to the other; the upholstered benches, on which one sits during the day, become beds when the evening comes; one meets in a lounge car, where one can chat, write, read, in a word, live on the journey almost as in one's own home.
The phonograph consists, like the telephone, of a receiver and a transmitter, between which is the recording device, the soul of the instrument. The receiving apparatus," says one of our most eminent colleagues, Mr. A. Vernier, "is a curved tube, at the end of which there is a funnel into which one speaks. At the end of the receiver there is an opening about two inches in diameter closed by an extremely thin metal diaphragm or disc, which vibrates with great ease.
"In the centre of this diaphragm is fixed a steel needle which moves at the same time and in the same manner as the centre of the diaphragm. The apparatus is placed on a table just in front of the recorder. This second apparatus is a bronze cylinder, the surface of which is grooved in the form of a helix; the total length of this groove is 42 feet; if it were extended in a continuous horizontal line, that is about the distance it would cover.
"The cylinder covered with these grooves, in the form of a screw, is mounted on a horizontal axis, and the needle of the receiving apparatus, placed as we have said in the centre of the vibrating diaphragm, rests lightly on it. The cylinder is thus arranged so that the needle fits into the groove and the cylinder can be animated, by a clockwork movement, by a rotational movement, at the same time as by a horizontal translation movement, so that the needle always remains engaged in the groove of the recorder.
"In order to record the vibrations of the needle, it is necessary that the bottom of the groove, the various parts of which pass successively in front of the vibrating needle, receives the imprint of the vibration, that the sound waves are drawn there, that they trace a curve formed of successively ascending and descending parts. To do this, we arrange for the needle, while vibrating, to exert a slight pressure on a thin sheet of tin: this sheet, which envelops the whole cylinder, is inelastic, it receives a kind of impression, each oscillation of the needle produces a hollow in it, a kind of small valley.
"When the cylinder has completed its course, all the words spoken in the receiver have been printed in the long helical groove; this has made a sort of natural engraving, and the slightest inflections of this engraving have their importance, since they are the permanent trace of a sound wave. If the sounds were loud, the marks will be deep; if they were light, they will be lighter; the little linear wave traced by the needle in the tin will be the faithful image of the sound waves.
"This is a true, lasting and unchanging impression of all that may seem most difficult to fix, of the voice. The reproduction of the sounds that have formed this impression is done in the third apparatus, in the transmitter.
"You must imagine a conical metal drum with the large end open and the small end, two inches in diameter, covered with paper. In front of this paper diaphragm is a light vertical steel spring terminated by a needle which resembles the diaphragm of the receiver. The spring is brought into connection with the paper diaphragm of the transmitter by means of a suitably tensioned silk thread.
"This apparatus is placed in front of the receiver cylinder. Things are arranged in such a way that the needle of the transmitter device starts exactly the same course as the needle of the receiver diaphragm. The steel point will follow the wavy point which is unrolled in front of it; it will vibrate and repeat in the same order all the movements which have been impressed on the trace marked on it.
"Vibrations will be communicated to the paper diaphragm, and a series of sound waves will result, quite similar to those printed on the sheet of tin. One will hear," a marvellous thing, words coming out of the conical drum, altered however and imprinted with a metallic tone. If the cylinder moves the second time more slowly than the first, the voice will gain in gravity; if it moves faster, it will become more acute.
"Such is exactly the apparatus of M. Edison. It must be constructed with the precision of a watch; the marriage between the vibratory movement of the needles of either the receiver or the transmitter with the helical groove of the cylinder must be made with admirable precision; The needle which prints the voice must have a movement as smooth as easy; the needle which collects it, if I may use this word, must press, but as lightly as possible, on the small corrugated surface which imparts to it the vibration which is transformed into sound vibrations. .. "
Another of Mr. Edison's inventions is the electric pen, which consists of a small electro-magnetic device enclosed in a metal casing and fixed to the top of a tube which ends in a point at its lower end. If the nib is passed over a sheet of paper resting on blotting paper, it can be written on as with the ordinary nib.
The characters drawn in this way are made up of a series of innumerable holes, which constitute a perfect cliché; one only has to treat the latter as an ordinary cliché to obtain an autograph that is irreproachable in terms of the sharpness and purity of the lines.
The driving force that drives the pen needle is borrowed from a Bunsen battery of two elements.
The view of our engravings will sufficiently explain the operation of this apparatus; its usefulness and efficiency have been noted by many establishments. We believe this invention has a future.
It is essential to stop before the beautiful agricultural machines of America.
The names of Wood, Osborne, Collins, Mac-Cormick, Springfield, etc., are well known in the agricultural world.
The vast exploitations of the immense Yankee territories obliged their owners early on to replace the hand of man by the faster and more powerful action of machines. The steam engine soon played its part in ploughing and threshing; horses came to pull mowers, tedders, rakes, harvesters, binders, etc. Man limited himself to the work of ploughing and threshing. Man limited himself to directing them. We shall not compare all these machines with each other, but we shall draw attention to the exhibition of Johnston Harvester and Company, of Brockport, New York.
The Johnston reaper won first prize in 1874 at the Mettray competition; the combined reaper and harvester, known as the Merveilleuse, received the grand prize of honour and a gold medal of 1,500 francs. These special visitors remembered it and wanted to know what new improvements had been added to this machine.
They learned of the evolution that had begun in agricultural mechanics by the substitution of wrought iron for cast iron, which gives a stronger and lighter tool; this is the secret of the success achieved by the Johnston harvester, which took the initiative in this evolution.
One need only look at our design to get an easy idea of the qualities that have made the Merveilleuse so popular and useful. Its power, a dominant quality, and its solidity are shown by the mere appearance of the strong and large driving wheels of the frame and of the traction or effort parts, all of wrought iron: unbreakable connecting rod, transmission organs covered and protected from earth, stones, straw, and other accidents; easy pulling for two horses in the most exuberant harvests, on wet or rough fields; slow or fast movement at will; silent running, such are the particularities which distinguish this machine and justify its name. Moreover, there is not a buyer who has not spontaneously expressed his satisfaction with the services of this instrument to the sellers, Messrs Deeker and Mot (168, boulevard de la Villette, Paris).
The Merveilleuse mows 4 hectares of meadow per day and harvests 6 hectares of grain. At the last competition of the present Exhibition, at Mormant, the Johnston revealed a new aptitude: fate had assigned her the worst of the 35 lots intended for the 35 competitors; it was a field whose crop was poured, rolled, tangled to the point that its owner declared it unassailable. The Johnston harvested it completely, not without effort. The Minister of Agriculture expressed his satisfaction, which was shared by the jury.
America is one of the most favoured countries from the point of view of the productions of the earth; it would be difficult to find elsewhere so great a variety, so considerable a choice between products generally of a quite superior quality.
The cereals are represented by very fine wheat, corn and flour of all kinds. In the form of dry pasta and biscuits, Messrs. E. J. Larrabee and Company, of Albany, exhibit products that could not be more appetizing.
A very curious exhibit, of interest to all housewives, is that of the Fairbanks house, whose lard is so well known?
From Chicago, where the company has its factory, and where innumerable orders arrive every day, the lard arrives at Le Havre, the only place of deposit for the whole of Europe.
Messrs. Fairbanks had an ingenious idea which made them blessed by all the babies; they had small tin vases of various modules distributed, representing the containers in which they enclose their products.
Now comes the Queen's lobster, an excellent preserve exhibited by Mr. Burnham and Mr. Morrik, of Portland, Maine; it is much sought after by gourmets, and with it lobster lovers can at all seasons satisfy their favourite taste.
Next to it is the coming meat; this is the galantine of St. Louis, which has the same taste as ham, with more nutritious qualities.
It consists of meat cooked in its own juice, boned and seasoned, so that, as delivered, it can be eaten on any occasion, like cold cuts.
Another similar product is St. Louis ham, which is particularly popular for sandwiches.
Now let us greet maizena; it is a corn meal, contained in, elegant little boxes, analogous to our ordinary packets of chicory. The Glen Cove Manufacture Company, of New York, is acclimatising this useful substance among us.
The maizena has for it a fine, exquisite taste, a great nutritive force, and because of the fatty substances contained in the corn, it saves considerably the butter in the kitchen. It is also dazzlingly white.
It is also from Chicago that Mr. Vilson's cans of preserved meat, cooked in closed containers in the oven, come. This company takes great care in the preparation of beef, tongues, veal, and ham, which they enclose in their own branded cans. The meat keeps indefinitely, without alteration, and when it is taken out of its wrapping, it is pink, of pleasant appearance, and its emanations would flatter the most rebellious sense of smell.
Let us leave it to the connoisseurs to examine the numerous samples of wine, beer and whiskey; let us move on to a curiosity of another kind, the last, which we were about to forget.
A chocolate merchant has exhibited a giant book which is only open from 2 to 4 o'clock and which contains 2,000 kinds of sweets and chocolates made in New York.
The cover of this book, bound in solid wood with a copper clasp, reads:
Voyage dans l'ile des plaisirs Tome XXXI (1878) by Henry Maillard.
This exhibitor has had the Medici vase made in chocolate.
This vase is very well made, only its base seemed furiously dented; the reason is quite simple, it is just at the height of the young mouths; now, how to resist the pleasure of giving a blow of tooth in passing?
©Les Merveilles de l'Exposition de 1878