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World's Columbian Exposition
 in Chicago 1893 Opening Ceremony

The Columbian Exposition was one of the greatest events in American history

"Among monuments marking the progress of civilization throughtout the ages, the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 will ever stand conspicuous.

A gathering like this of men and things from ever quarter, each country contributing of its best, must promote intellectual activity and physical energy, and accelerate progress in all its departments

The Chicago Exposition, dedicated in October, 1892, to the great navigator who four centuries ago set foot on New World shores, opening the way to the founding in this western hemisphere of many nations and governments"
- The Book Of The Fair by Howe Bancroft, Volume One

By Dr. Ljubo Vujovic and Marko Vujovic

The World Columbian Exposition was the World's Fair commemorating 400 years since Christopher Columbus set foot in the New World.  Located on Lake Michigan to facilitate access by sea, road and rail.  It was a gathering of ideas, men and technologies from every quarter of the globe, with each country contributing its best of their industrial, cultural, commercial and educational enterprises.  The Renaissance style of the exposition buildings was unsurpassed by its architecture beauty.  The Exposition itself was a work of art.  The Exposition was a brilliant spectacle of science, art and industry.  All the world has its pilgrimage to Columbian Exposition in 1893.  Westinghouse became dedicated to promoting the polyphase alternating current system and felt that his best chance to introduce it to the public at large would be at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.  The exposition was the greatest event in America and in the world at that time.  Ever the ingenious promoter Westinghouse outbid Edison for the contract to power the expositions lighting and electrical systems.  Over Two Hundred thousand electric light bulbs were illuminated by Tesla's polyphase alternating current system.  The Westinghouse display was a historic collection of machines, all powered with Tesla/Westinghouse alternating current.  It was a spectacular display of lights and energy, which illuminated the exposition.

Pictures of this great event where taken from the following excellent books:

  • The Book Of The Fair by Howe Bancroft, Volume One

  • The Dream City: A Portfolio of Photographic Views by Prof. Halsey C. Ives

The Columbian Exposition of 1893
introduced electricity to the public

This was the final great victory of Tesla/Westinghouse's Polyphase Alternating Current system electricity over Edison's Direct Current (DC)

Above:  George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla.  Seeking to make long distance electric power transmission a reality, they combined their skills, their genius and their belief in a new technology ... alternating current.  Together they started a revolution that electrified the world.  A Perfect Partnership.

Above: The Tesla/Westinghouse display at Electricity Hall.
Tesla Polyphase Alternating Current Sign on Display, Westinghouse Exhibition.

Above: The Tesla/Westinghouse display at Electricity Hall.
Tesla Polyphase Alternating Current System.

Above: Nikola Tesla's personal exhibit at the World Fair in Chicago, 1893.  The Egg of Columbus centered in this photograph.

Above: The Court of Honor and its buildings



Above: Columbian Coins


Columbian Exposition Opening Ceremony

Above: President Cleveland delivered the Opening Address for the Columbian Exposition in Chicago.  He concluded with the following words: "Let us hold fast to the meaning which underlies this ceremony, and let us not lose the impressiveness of this moment.  As by a touch the machinery that gives life to this vast Exposition is now set in motion, so at the same instant let our hopes and aspirations awaken forces which in all time to come shall influence the welfare the dignity, and the freedom of mankind."
Then with a press of a button, all the ponderous machinery of the Fair was set in motion.

Above: Crowd at Cleveland's Address during the Columbian Exposition Opening Ceremony.

Above: Decoration, Chicago Street during the celebration.

Above: Procession of Parade, Michigan Avenue, Chicago.


Above: Columbian Coins


Dedication to the Opening - The Naval Review

As part of the ceremonies connected with the Columbian Exposition, a naval review took place in New York Harbor on April 27, 1893.  Here were assembled, as one international fleet, thirty -five vessels of war.  Never before had the squadrons of England, France, Russia and Germany, of Italy and Spain, in line with those of other empires and monarchies, passed parade before a president of the United States.

On board the thirty-five vessels of the Columbian fleet there were more than 10,000 officers, seamen and marine.

Above: Naval Review in New York Harbor - a part of the Columbian Exposition Celebration.

On the 19th of October anniversary was celebrated in the schools, not only in Chicago but all over the United States.  There were essays, addresses, readings, declamations and patriotic songs.

In some other cities the anniversary was celebrated with parades, exercises, or other demonstration, each city and town selecting for itself the kind of celebration that suited its taste.

Above: Naval Parade in New York - a part of the Columbian Exposition Celebration.


Above: Columbian Coins

The Chicago World's Fair of 1893

Above and Below: Entrance to the Administration Building which reads : "Columbus after discovering the new world made three other voyages of exploration and died at Valladolid, Spain, May 21, 1506."



Above: Liberty Bell was brought from Philadelphia to Chicago for the Columbian Exposition.

Above: Administration Building, East Front.

Above: An electric fountain in action.

Above:  Entrance into the Machinery Building at the Exposition

Above: Westinghouse Engine in the Machinery Hall Exhibit

Above: Celebration of Chicago Day at the Administration Plaza.