THE PALACE OF VARIED INDUSTRIES
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."
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.
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
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
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.
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