Today in history: May 1, 1851
The Great Exhibition (of the Works of Industry of all Continents) opens at the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London. The Great Exposition was a special manifestation of the Industrial Revolution. It was conceived as a way to advertise to the world the strides Great Britain had made in manufacturing and engineering, but it became a showcase for products from all over the world and was inspiration for subsequent expositions. More than 14,000 exhibitors from around the world gathered in the Palace’s 990,000 square feet of exhibition space.
The Crystal Palace was conceived by Sir Joseph Paxton, and was completed within 17 weeks of actual construction time. It was a cast-iron and glass building 1,851 feet long, with an interior height of 108 feet.