” A large international exposition with exhibitions of arts, crafts, industrial and agricultural products, scientific achievement etc”, is the definition of Worlds Fair provided  by the the website Dictionary.com.

The Great Industrial Exhibition of 1853 and The Negro Historical and Industrial Exhibitions are two quality examples of Worlds fairs. Each encompassed all the aspirations of the original Worlds Fair but were marred or over shadowed in someway, ironically lost to what they hoped to influence, progress.

Great Industrial Exhibition 1853

William Dargan, builder of the Irish Railway, fully funded the Worlds Fair of Dublin, Ireland. Known as the Great Industrial Exhibition it followed in the footsteps of the first ever Worlds Fair called the Great Exhibition. Unfortunately, being in the footsteps also doomed the exhibition to it’s shadow. The exhibition boosted a Crystal Palace and many technical feats but Ireland was not as cosmopolitan as London and far behind in the industrial revolution. The fair lost money and Dargan was forced to charge exorbitant amounts for train tickets to the fair that happen to include a ticket to the exhibition. Below are examples of the fair grounds and things displayed.


John Benson, the architect, was granted knighthood May 12, 1853, opening day of the exhibition.


Interior of the Centre Hall


The Wolf and The Lamb

The Wolf and The Lamb by William Mulready

Catalogue of The Great industrial Exhibition; link to entire catalogue in red below

1853 Catalogue

Great Industrial Exhibition Catalogue

Negro Historical and Industrial Exposition Richmond Virginia 1915

The people of Virginia hoped to showcase and celebrate the advances of the negro community over the past fifty years providing a possible spring board to equality. Giles B Jackson, a prominent lawyer, was elected President and was put in charge of finding funding and the fair opened July 5, 1915. Many schools exhibited at the exposition including schools which taught various skills such as canning and sewing to the deaf and blind negro community. The fair also featured poems on picture postcards, household furniture, farm tools, and other forms of artistic endeavors.  Though a success in attendance and praise, it suffered financially and was considered a failure and reported as such by the Broadax paper of Chicago.

Giles B Jackson

Giles B Jackson


Exhibit of the “Henrico Method” of Colored School Industrial Education


The Virginia Miscellaneous Exhibit


Exhibit of Shaw University

Exhibit of Women's Work

Exhibit of Women’s Work

News Paper Article Screen shot 2014-01-21 at 10.33.01 AM

History has long forgotten these fairs which promised progress through goods. Goods that could have brought Ireland out of its rural shell and blacks equality through industry. Irish and Negro communities have long been the poorest in the pocket of humanity. The idea of the Worlds Fair and Industry is to advance making society and community better. These two expositions are reminders that industry only creates things, it is society and community that establishes worth.


“1853 Great Industrial Exhibition, Dublin”. http://archiseek.com/2010/1853-great-industrial-exhibition-dublin/#.Ut790yj0BuV, Archiseek, accessed January 19, 2014

Jones, Plummer, “The Negro Exposition at Richmond”, Review of Reviews and World’s Work, Volume 52(Review of Reviews Corporation, 1915) Albert Shaw, trans., January 15, 2009 185-188

“William Dargan”, accessed January 19,2014.http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~irlcar2/dargan.htm