Centennial Exposition Philadelphia 1876

Centenary of American Independence and the Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776

May 10, 1876 - November 10, 1876


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Shoes and Leather

Shoes and Leather at the Exhibition Expo Philadelphia 1876

Architect(s) : Alexander B. Bary

Shoes and Leather at the Exhibition Expo Philadelphia 1876

Architect(s) : Alexander B. Bary

Many special industries which might have been accommodated by an exhibition of their products in the main exhibition building, or of the apparatus used in the preparation of goods in the engine room, could not, in the opinion of those interested in such activities, be so accommodated also. illustrated in buildings intended for general exhibition as they would be in special enclosures which could serve all the purposes of large workshops, showing all the processes of manufacture, from the incipient handling of the raw material to the finished work.

The shoe and boot manufacturers were convinced that a special building for their own accommodation would be preferable, and with this idea in mind they united and raised funds to erect the structure known as the Shoe and Leather Building. It is of a general character and is similar to the engine house, which it adjoins on the south, and of which it is considered an annex.

The structure is 314 feet long and 160 feet wide, and though not ornamented with architecture, is pleasant in style. The interior contains leathers of all kinds: sole leather tanned with oak bark and hemlock, cultured union leather tanned with both substances, and also for the upper leathers kip, calf, fine morocco, curaçoa, kid, lamb and sheep.

The process of making leather after tanning, including bevelling, splitting, stripping, edging and browning, is illustrated.

The art of making shoes and boots is shown, including all varieties, from the coarse brogan and plough to the most delicate woman's gaiter or slipper. The manufacture of leather goods, from wallets to Saratoga trunks, is illustrated, as is saddlery from horse and pigskin.

A large steam engine in the centre provides the power to run the machine. The manufacture of shoes and boots by these means is so sharply contrasted with the methods of the old shoemaker, who hammered his lapstone and tightened his wax spikes, that all who visit this building are extremely pleased.

The room is well lit. The main aisle Î9 15 feet wide, two parallel aisles of 10 feet each, running east to west; they are crossed by other aisles, making 8 main exhibition spaces. Stairs lead to the second floor, which is divided into rooms at each end, and into galleries on the north and south, 8 feet wide by 112 feet long.

The roof construction is divided on the cross sections into an 80-foot circular truss and 16- and 24-foot sections, triangular in shape.

The architect was Alexander B. Bary of Philadelphia; builders, J. H. Coffrode & Co.

Cost, $31,000.

©Centennial portfolio: a souvenir of the international exhibition at Philadelphia - 1876