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Some descriptions of exhibits inside the Palace of Varied Industries. (More descriptions of other fair buildings and their exhibits to come.) Information below from Frank Morton Todd's 1921 "The Story of the Exposition."

The Singer Sewing Machine Company's exhibit was important. It was displayed partly in an enclosed pavilion with a dome, partly on the raised, balustraded terrace surrounding it. A pleasing feature consisted of the reproductions of pictures made on the sewing machines of this company, ranging in subject all the way from Venice to the Old Faithful geyser in the Yellowstone. Another fine display in this booth was the costume study, showing the costumes of all nations, and a nearly as possible the personal types in over a score of countries. Figures and costumes were prepared in the countries they represented, the dresses being made on Singer machines; which, by the same token, appeared to be sold over quite a large part of the world. Some of these dresses brought a little of the interest that attaches to foreign travel. There was one of Little Russia, one of Burmah, an Irish peasant costume, the dress of a Parsee lady in India, the costumes of Mohammedan, Scot, Pole, and Boyar.

Some new devices were to be seen in operation -- a machine for blind stitching, another operating four needles at once for stitching toe caps on shoes, a canvas-sewing machine that could make about 500 stitches a minute, a straw-braid machine that ran seven times as fast, and a sack-sewing equipment capable of almost human performance.

In no field of production has the practical nature of American mechanical genius appeared more distinctly than in the development of watch making by machinery... The Waltham Watch Company claimed to be the originator of this mode of producing pocket timepieces, and it exhibited in the Varied Industries Palace many of its machines, demonstrating their use by expert young women operatives from Massachusetts. It began to perfect the industry in the eighteen fifties, and by '62 had demonstrated what could be done. At the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia in 1876 it showed the first watch-making machinery and the first machine-made watch. The exhibit demonstrated a remarkable command of operations on a diminutive scale. At Seattle the company had exhibited a ladies' watch the size of a 25-cent piece. For San Francisco it had reduced the size until the works could be covered by a dime.

The Waltham Company showed in this booth a common thimble half full of screws so small that if the thimble had been full there would have been over 23,000 of them. They looked like grains of sand. But not much factory room was saved by it, for the visitor was told that a complete watch plant took about four miles of benches. The machine for making these screws was on display.

The Eaton, Crane & Pike Company, of Massachusetts, had a booth that drew large crowds, and deservedly, for it was an interesting working exhibit. This concern is engaged in the manufacture of fine stationery, and shoed the method of its preparation for the market. The setting was handsome -- a large corner, with a sort of back scene depicting in several panels the mills of the Company in the Berkshire hills, amid the streams that furnished its original waterpower. Operatives were brought from Pittsfield to demonstrate the processes. The paper-making exhibit included a display of the material used, with a miniature beating machine, press, and dryer. The raw materials were worked up into sheets and given out as souvenirs. "Life-size" machinery was put in for making the finished stationery. There was a cutting press for cutting envelopes and paper, by means of heavy steel cutting-dies. The blank envelopes were laid out on a flat board and gummed by hand, and then the board with the wet gummed blanks on it was slipped under the discharge pipe of a fan blower that took heated air from an electric heater. Once dry, the envelopes went through a folding machine that was no less than an object of fascination, so regularly, perfectly, and industriously did it do its work. Everybody likes to see work being done in large volume by somebody else, and so the crowds hung spellbound about this monotonous operation. There was an imprinting machine, and an outfit for gold initial embossing, and there was a table for packing the boxed paper. Some 600 boxes of Highland linen a day were turned out, merely as a small-scale demonstration.