When, starting from the main hall, one follows the gallery devoted to machines, which runs along the Avenue de La Bourdonnaye, one finds oneself in the presence of a strange exhibition. One sees large copper tubes pointed in all directions like telescopes; then in the middle, on a high support, an enormous copper sphere; below and all around immense copper basins, etc.; all this arranged in such an ingenious way that the attention of the visitors is inevitably solicited.
What is the purpose of this big ball? And those big pipes?
That is the question everyone asks. We ourselves were quite intrigued, and it is probable that, without the kindness of the authors of this curious exhibition, Messrs J.-J. Laveissière et fils, we would still be asking ourselves:
- What is the point of this?
We will say nothing about Messrs Laveissière and their industry; everyone knows the importance of this company for the manufacture of metals. An advertisement would be useless for it; so we do not want to make one.
These large tubes are seamless copper pipes. It is, it seems, a real tour de force, as much for the execution as for the dimensions that we have managed to give them. They are very useful in shipbuilding. How are they made? We would be very embarrassed to say, and we confess that we have not thought of inquiring into this.
As for the sphere, representing a terrestrial globe, which surmounts the pretty column composed of a bundle of brass tubes which serves as its support, it is formed of two pieces, two enormous domes which exceed, in size, anything that has been made up to now, but which have, it seems, their use in the establishment of apparatus intended for the manufacture of sugar.
Finally, all the various types of copper which complete this exhibition are nothing more than reproductions of parts of difficult execution and practical models used for locomotive fireplaces, the navy and, in a word, for all industries which require the use of copper.
Since we do not have to make a technical examination, we limit ourselves to noting that from this exhibition, composed only of objects manufactured in the broadest way, but strictly industrial, Messrs Laveissière have managed to make something attractive and pleasing to the eye. It must be admitted that this was not an easy task, for the metal industry is very dull and serious; it does not offer great resources for artistic combinations.
©L'Exposition Universelle 1878