MIT Libraries logo MIT Libraries

Massaschusetts Institute of Technology logo MIT Logo Search Contact

World’s Fair

T. Westcott. Centennial Portfolio: A Souvenir of the International Exhibition at Philadelphia, Comprising Lithographic Views of Fifty of its Principal Buildings, with Letter-Press Description, 1876

During George Edward Dering’s time, few events, if any, drew larger crowds than the world’s fairs and expositions that were held in major cities across Europe and the United States. These were gatherings where each nation’s newest technologies and inventions could be shown off to a newly-mobile international audience, which cut across class lines. The Vail Collection includes a large number of catalogs, award listings, albums, descriptions, and other books about world’s fairs. The expositions described range from the Great Exhibition (London, 1851) to the Exposition internationale de l’aéronautique (Paris, 1909), and seemingly every international gathering in between.

The British Section at the Vienna Universal Exhibition, 1873

International expositions always included subject matter that meshed nicely with Dering’s book-collecting topic areas such as engineering, telegraphy, and electricity. But it seems likely that the main reason Dering collected so much world’s fair material was because he exhibited his own inventions on numerous occasions. He appears in the second edition of Paris Universal Exhibition, 1867 : Complete Official Catalogue Including the British and All Other Sections,  where he exhibited connection systems for railroad permanent ways. At the London International Exhibition in 1862, Dering won the Jurors Award for Improvements of Permanent Way, and three years later he went on to win the Prize Medal at the Dublin International Exhibition of 1865.

Paris Universal Exhibition, 1867: Complete Official Catalogue Including the British and All Other Section, 1867s

Return to Popular Science