The United States government was one of the first to want to take part in the 1889 Exhibition. On 10 May 1888, it responded to the invitation of the French government by declaring that it would participate in the Exhibition. The Congress voted without opposition a subsidy of 1,250,000 francs and the government also paid for the transport of American products. Under these conditions, the work of the committee was not difficult: General Franklin was appointed Commissioner General by the government: each of the 38 States of the Union appointed a commissioner, and they set to work. The American industrialists wanted nothing better than to take part in the struggle, and a figure of 1,500 exhibitors were gathered together, occupying an area of 8,000 square metres in the various sections, including Fine Arts. The appearance of the industrial section is very simple: it is decorated with flags in the colours of the different States. In the centre of the section, around a pavilion containing gold, diamond and silver ores, the four most important industrial exhibitions have been grouped.
Firstly, Gorham and Company, the great New York silversmiths, who are exhibiting, among other things, what they call the centenary vase in solid silver, 1m28 high, weighing 60 kilos and worth 125,000 francs. Around this artistically crafted giant are enamels. Then Tiffany, the jeweller, whose shops are all made of solid rosewood, exhibits many diamonds, among them a necklace worth 2,000,000 francs. Then Meviden, who exhibits plated silver, and Collamore with his crystals and porcelain, some of which are of a rather curious pattern.
As we do not have to speak here of the products exhibited in the Galerie des Machines, we do not have to speak of Edison's main products. He exhibits in the Miscellaneous Industries gallery only the graphophone, typewriter and some phonographs similar to those he has in his large exhibition in the Machinery gallery.
But the electricity section is no less interesting. There is an exhibition of Bell telephones which shows, among other things, a telephone pole for 80 wires. Then there is the Western Electric Company's exhibition; specimens of New York's electric conduit; the Graz telotograph, with which one can write at a distance; Mr. Abdank's collection, comprising the complete publication of what has been written on electricity; and finally Professor Elie Thomson's exhibition, in which one will see a massive copper ring 15 centimetres in diameter, held in the air without suspension by the repulsive effects of invisible magnets.
Another very curious exhibition is that of petrified wood, coming from the territory of Avizola: a whole forest which was found transformed into jade, if one can express it in this way; a very beautiful, very curious and unique product in the world has resulted.
The government exhibits a model of post office which seems to be the perfection of the kind; the service of prophetic signals of the time and perfected firearms. Then all over the place and in a bit of a jumble, tobacco, furs, a chocolate Venus, a machine for sweeping carpets without making dust, a device for mending steamboat drive shafts, artificial limbs and typewriters.
In the education section, the photographs of universities and schools are particularly noteworthy.
The agriculture section, on the other hand, is very interesting and well developed. There is the corn palace, which is built entirely of corn and in which the public will be offered corn prepared in every way known and unknown in Europe. Then there are various steam-powered agricultural machines, crushers, corkscrew machines, and finally the government exhibition, which shows the evolution of the various articles, taking us through all the intermediary phases from the state of nature to the finished and saleable article.
From the foregoing it will be seen what a powerful interest the United States exhibition presents. There is perhaps none at the Champ de Mars that is more curious and instructive.
© Guide Bleu du Figaro et du Petit Journal 1889