What I found really neat about this book was the number of things that we use today that came out of the world’s fair. One thing that really stood out to me was that the pledge of allegiance was created for the fair’s dedication day. The pledge of allegiance is such a massive symbol of national loyalty that I guess it never occurred to me that there was a time when it didn’t exist. It seems as though the fair not only helped improve the reputation of Chicago, but also contributed to America’s national pride and unity. Along with creating a sense of togetherness, the fair also produced many inventions and ideas that are used everyday in our current time. Shredded wheat, juicy fruit, Cracker Jack, spray paint, ferris wheels, zippers, and electric dishwashers were all either first seen at, or created for, the fair. The fair also gave an important boost to the use of alternating current, which now powers homes and businesses. The massive influence of the fair can also be seen in architecture. The classical style of the White City influenced (some might say corrupted) American architecture for many years to come. The White City itself is also considered to be instrumental in bringing about the City Beautiful movement. The list of the fair’s legacies goes on and on. It’s even sort of implied that Walt Disney may have been influenced by the majesty of the fair. I really like history, especially when it’s told as a narrative, and I just find it so cool to know the huge impact that something that happened 110 years ago has on the way I live now.
I have the same amount of amazement as Rachel when it comes to how many things came out of the fair! It is crazy how many things are still around today that came out of one event in history. Although there were many inventions that started in the fair do you think there were any other ways it affected America? I think it really opened up people eyes about what they can achieve, either for the better (Burnham) or for the worse (Holmes).
You are so right Rachel -- I am nodding my head in agreement as I read your post. After reading this book quite a few times, I am still amazed at all the inventions that stemmed from the fair. I think the part I find most amazing is that most of the inventions/discoveries are prevalent in our world, yet we know (or, knew) so very little about the fair that inspired those same innovations.
Like Rachel, I am astonished at the amount of impact the Chicago World's Fair had then and even now. Back in the 1890s, the Fair would've been giving a phoenix effect in a way - due to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. I understand that there's a 22 year gap between the two events but in a way it's true. The city was ashes after the fire and it slowly rose again - only to raise to glory during 1893 through the White City. I can't imagine the pride the people of the city would have felt! Chicago showed it was capable of being the top - it could be more magnificent than New York, Paris, St. Louis, etc. The fair changed Chicago by making it grander in its architecture and prouder through its accomplishments. In the larger picture, the Columbian Exposition made the rest of America change in the same ways,through Chicago, because the fair was an American accomplishment. In a way, the Americans of the 1890s had raised the bar for architecture and city organization. The people from around the nation and from other countries gathered in one location to be blown away by the beauty and magic that was the Chicago World's Fair. Surely, it is logical that many people felt the desire to construct or redesign their own cities to have some degree of the majestic environment they had experienced. The Columbian Exposition also changed Chicago, America, and the world through the inventions and ideas demonstrated there. Unfortunately I am unable to recall inventions that Rachel had already listed - "Shredded wheat, juicy fruit, Cracker Jack, spray paint, ferris wheels, zippers, and electric dishwashers". The fair did not produce alternating current (AC) electricity but it was the first large scale use of it. Nikola Tesla's work is a fascination I have, and I can't imagine how many things in the modern world run on AC electricity. It is also noteworthy to ponder about the possible impact Walt Disney had from the fair and how different things like the Magic Kingdom and the Land of Oz would be if the Exposition hadn't taken place.
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Though the fair was very stressful to construct and many things went wrong, it was still the greatest thing to come about in the 1800s. At the time, Chicago as well as the rest of America was suffering through an economic downfall. Major banks were failing left and right, businessmen were committing suicide. Things weren’t looking good. When the fair opened, it took Chicago and the rest of the world out of the dark Black City and into the light of the White City. Burnham’s White City made everything better. It was an escape from what was going on with the economy, and most people needed a break from turmoil. It made them believe again. It also did wonders to boost America’s confidence, because they had created a showcase of American beauty. America took great pride in the fact that they out did The Paris Exposition, and did so with flying colors. The rest of the world was very impressed with the fair. I feel like it gave the entire world a sense of unity, which is always a good thing. They could all be together under good circumstances. The fair was a good thing for everyone. Another good aspect of the fair was that it brought about many new ideas and products. So many things that were created or tested at the fair are things we still use or eat today. Things like cracker jacks and shredded wheat. One of the coolest things I liked reading about was the Ferris wheel. Almost everyone’s been on a Ferris wheel, they’re a very common attraction at most amusement parks and county or state fairs. Reading about how they came about and how it was constructed and tested was cool, and definitely something I’ll think about the next time I ride one, especially the one at Navy Pier in Chicago. The fair also inspired many people. The one that I thought was really cool was the fact that Walt Disney’s father worked on the White City, and may have gotten inspired by his Burnham’s beautiful fair. All in all, the fair was a good thing for Chicago, America, and the world.
I agree 100% with Amber about the fair being a bit of an escape mechanism for the people of the 1920's. The economy at this time was, for lack of a better word, crap. Not only did I learn this in APUS, but during the later parts of the book itself Larson highlighted the state of the economy. I think it wasn't even so much the fair itself that people loved, but more so the idea of it. It was a place to go where everything was good. It showed America's prowess over the other nations even when America was in unsure times. I think the fair provided hope for the nation when it needed it most.
The Chicago World's Fair changed not just Chicago but the world, and the changes still impact the world today. Inventions such as the Ferris wheel, the midway, and shredded wheat made their first appearances at the fair and still survive today. Before reading this novel, I didn't know of the origins of these and many other random things that came about from the world's fair. It was very interesting and fun to learn about! But the fair left an impact way bigger that just new inventions. For Chicago, the fair established the city's prominence in the world. Before the fair Chicago was struggling to match the likes of Paris and other powerful cities. The fair was their way of rising to the top, especially after the great fire that destroyed most of the city. After the fair, the World recognized Chicago as much more important than it was previously. The fair also revealed many important people who made great impacts on the world. Burnham went on to design plans for other cities. Sol Bloom emerged from the fair extremely successful and went on to become one of the crafters of the charter that founded the United Nations. And of course, H.H. Holmes made a terrible but nonetheless unforgettable impact on the world by being the first known serial killer. The deeds of these people still impact people today.
I have said many, many times in response to previous prompts and study guide questions that one of my absolute favorite thing about the book is the crazy amount of impact the fair made on not only Chicago, but the country and world in general. The funny thing about all of this is that before this novel, I had never heard of the fair. Like Alyssa said, it was surprising to find what modern things exist because of the fair, yet many people have never even heard of it. My favorite invention from the fair was the Ferris wheel! Obviously ferris wheels have not always existed, but I had never considered where it came from or why such a contraption had been dreamed up. Many other inventions came about because of the fair--I see other posters have covered all of these that I can think of except the 'City Beautiful' movement. I don't think it really counts, but in my mind I see belly dancing as an invention to the American people. I don't think the dance style was invented because or at the fair, but it was new to American people. I think it says a lot about how important this time period was to our history because twenty years earlier, visitors of the fair would have been absolutely appalled (although some still were, particularly women.) It's evidence that people were coming to terms with the ideas of pleasure, fun, and leisure. Since Chicago hosted the fair, they got to take credit for all of these incredible inventions and ideas. This greatly increased Chicago's national ranking. Previously Chicago had been seen as a joke, especially in New York's eyes. It's a miracle Chicago got to prove themselves at all. In the beginning when the location of the fair was being picked, the country was very divided by the subject of the fair. However, once the location was decided, I think that the nation did a really good job at coming together and doing whatever they could to do a good job. This is obvious from the architects picked to construct the fair--they were from all over the country. Because the fair was such a success, it wasn't only Chicago that reaped the respect. The United States had achieved the ultimate goal of outdoing the world fair in Paris, which is what everyone was waiting to see. The Ferris wheel outdid the Eiffel tower by reaching new architectural milestones, and the highest attendance record was definitely surpassed at Chicago's fair. By managing to do all of these things, the World's Fair in Chicago largely impacted the world, even the world as we know it today.
It’s hard to believe that just roughly three hours away from Dubuque, that the World’s Fair took place. The World’s Fair shined a new light upon the city of Chicago. Lots of people attended the fair from all over, transforming Chicago into a tourist attraction. This still remains true today. The World’s Fair also changed Chicago economically. The introduction of many inventions occurred at the fair. This was one of the origins of the consumer-economy. Chicago’s economy benefited from the explosion of visitors in their city. The fair also changed Chicago in that it gave Chicago its nickname: The Windy City. In the bidding for the World’s Fair, this nickname was coined in reference to Chicago, and has been used ever since. The fair had a national impact on America in many ways as well. For one, we were able to out-Eiffel Eiffel. Which was probably a major confidence booster to our deep fried land o’ the free. As a whole, the fair was *fair*ly successful. America was able to prove its competence to the rest of the world in the art of fair organizing. Additionally, all the inventions that were created for the fair to be used or just to be promoted changed the general feel of America. America was becoming more advanced technologically, with the invention of the light bulbs and an automatic dishwasher. Even simple inventions like chewing gum and ready-mixed pancake batter were timeless inventions proposed at the World’s Fair. On a global scale,The World’s Fair didn't change too much. Although, it functioned as a gathering of all kinds of people for a common cause. The spectrum of attendees ranged from Archduke Franz Ferdinand to Walt Disney. The unity, as Amber mentioned, was definitely a valuable idea of the fair. The World's Fair was able to transform features on a local scale, a national scale, and an global scale. Anything with such an extensive effect leaves a legacy not to be forgotten.
I absolutely agree that the fair had more of an impact on the United States than the world as a whole. Chicago might not have the relevance it does today without the fair. But worldwide, it created the small sense of unity that you mentioned but made no significant lasting impact. Your point about the inventions was also very valid, some things that were created for the fair ended up sticking around and becoming quite important across the nation.
The world fair had a huge impact on the world and people today. A lot of the inventions I am amazed about and never would have known if I hadn't read this book. The ferris wheel is one of the main attractions at every fair, and it was invevted at the Chicago's World Fair. Not only that, everyday you wake up for school and put on a pair of pants, or put on a jacket and do you ever wonder how those clothes stay on your body? A zipper! Also, the dishwasher was invented. That's how people in society was dishes today. Also the biggest thing that stuck out to me was the pledge of allegiance that we as a nation say daily. Juicy fruit is one of the biggest gum brands in our society today and that was also invented at the world's fair. The spray tan was also invented at the World's Fair and today a lot of girls still get spray tans and are many times essential for big events. The inventions at the World's fair in many ways changed our society. The dishwasher introduces a new way of cleaning dishes, that back in the day was the mother of the household's job. Now everyone at home is putting there dishes in the dishwasher to clean. It is just amazing how those things made so long ago and one of the biggest events in the U.S. history is still being used in our culture and society today.