Exposition Universelle (1900)
The Exposition Universelle of 1900 was a world's fair held in Paris, France, from April 15 to November 12, 1900, to celebrate the achievements of the past century and to accelerate development into the next. The style that was universally present in the Exposition was Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau is an international philosophy and style of art, architecture and applied art—especially the decorative arts—that were most popular during 1890–1910. The name "Art Nouveau" is French for "new art"...



The Exposition Universelle was where talking films and escalator
An escalator is a moving staircase – a conveyor transport device for carrying people between floors of a building. The device consists of a motor-driven chain of individual, linked steps that move up or down on tracks, allowing the step treads to remain horizontal.Escalators are used around the...

s were first publicized, and where Campbell's Soup
Campbell Soup Company
Campbell Soup Company , also known as Campbell's, is an American producer of canned soups and related products. Campbell's products are sold in 120 countries around the world. It is headquartered in Camden, New Jersey...

 was awarded a gold medal (an image of which still appears on its label). At the Exposition Rudolf Diesel
Rudolf Diesel
Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel was a German inventor and mechanical engineer, famous for the invention of the diesel engine.-Early life:Diesel was born in Paris, France in 1858 the second of three children of Theodor and Elise Diesel. His parents were Bavarian immigrants living in Paris. Theodor...

 exhibited his diesel engine
Diesel engine
A diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel, which is injected into the combustion chamber...

, running on peanut oil
Vegetable oil used as fuel
Vegetable oil is an alternative fuel for diesel engines and for heating oil burners. For engines designed to burn diesel fuel, the viscosity of vegetable oil must be lowered to allow for proper atomization of the fuel, otherwise incomplete combustion and carbon build up will ultimately damage the...

. Brief films of excerpts from opera and ballet are apparently the first films exhibited publicly with projection of both image and recorded sound. The Exposition also featured many panoramic painting
Panoramic painting
Panoramic paintings are massive artworks that reveal a wide, all-encompassing view of a particular subject, often a landscape, military battle, or historical event. They became especially popular in the 19th Century in Europe and the United States, inciting opposition from writers of Romantic poetry...

s and extensions of the panorama technique, such as the Cinéorama
Cinéorama was an early film experiment and amusement ride at the 1900 Paris Exposition devised by Raoul Grimoin-Sanson, that simulated a ride in a hot air balloon over Paris...

, Mareorama
The Mareorama was an entertainment attraction at the 1900 Paris Exposition. It was created by Hugo d'Alesi, a painter of advertising posters, and was a combination of moving panoramic paintings and a large motion platform...

, and Trans-Siberian Railway Panorama
Trans-Siberian Railway Panorama
The Trans-Siberian Railway Panorama was a simulated train ride, using a moving panorama, first exhibited at the 1900 Paris Exposition. The panorama itself is also known as The Great Siberian Route: the Main Trans-Siberian Railway....


The centrepiece of the Palais de l'Optique was the 1.25 metres (49.2 in) "Great Exposition Refractor"
Great Paris Exhibition Telescope of 1900
The Great Paris Exhibition Telescope of 1900, with an objective lens of 1.25 m in diameter, was the largest refracting telescope ever constructed. It was built as the centerpiece of the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1900. Its construction was instigated in 1892 by François Deloncle , a member of...

. This telescope was the largest refracting telescope
Refracting telescope
A refracting or refractor telescope is a type of optical telescope that uses a lens as its objective to form an image . The refracting telescope design was originally used in spy glasses and astronomical telescopes but is also used for long focus camera lenses...

 at that time. The optical tube assembly was 60 meters long and 1.5 meters in diameter and was fixed in place due to its mass. Light from the sky was sent into the tube by a movable 2-meter mirror.

The Paris Expo included a "Negro exposition" (Exposition nègre), during which photos by Frances Benjamin Johnston
Frances Benjamin Johnston
Frances "Fannie" Benjamin Johnston was one of the earliest American female photographers and photojournalists.- Life :...

, a friend of Booker T. Washington
Booker T. Washington
Booker Taliaferro Washington was an American educator, author, orator, and political leader. He was the dominant figure in the African-American community in the United States from 1890 to 1915...

, of his black students of the Hampton Institute were presented. Partly organized by Booker Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois
W.E.B. Du Bois
William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was an American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, and editor. Born in Massachusetts, Du Bois attended Harvard, where he was the first African American to earn a doctorate...

, this exhibition aimed at showing Afro-Americans' positive contributions to American society. Additionally, at a time when lynchings in the US were peaking, a Human Zoo
Human zoo
Human zoos were 19th- and 20th-century public exhibits of humans, usually in a so-called natural or primitive state. The displays often emphasized the cultural differences between Europeans of Western civilisation and non-European peoples...

 diorama was also present at the exposition, entitled 'Living in Madagascar'.

The Finnish
Grand Duchy of Finland
The Grand Duchy of Finland was the predecessor state of modern Finland. It existed 1809–1917 as part of the Russian Empire and was ruled by the Russian czar as Grand Prince.- History :...

 Pavilion at the Exposition was designed by the architectural firm of Gesellius, Lindgren, and Saarinen
Gesellius, Lindgren, and Saarinen
Gesellius, Lindgren, and Saarinen was a Finnish architecture firm in Helsinki. The firm was formed in 1896 and consisted of Herman Gesellius, Armas Lindgren, and Eliel Saarinen. In 1905 Lindgren became head of the architecture school at Helsinki University of Technology and withdrew from the firm...

. It was published in Dekorative Kunst 3 (1900): 457-63 and in L'Architecture à l'Exposition Universelle de 1900, p. 65, Pl. X. Paris: Librairies-Imprimeries Réunies, 1900.

A special committee, led by Gustave Eiffel
Gustave Eiffel
Alexandre Gustave Eiffel was a French structural engineer from the École Centrale Paris, an architect, an entrepreneur and a specialist of metallic structures...

, awarded a gold medal to Lavr Proskuryakov
Lavr Proskuryakov
Lavr Dmitrievich Proskuryakov was a leading bridge builder of Imperial Russia.Proskuryakov was responsible for many bridges constructed along the Trans-Siberian Railway, including the one crossing the Kotorosl River in Yaroslavl , another spanning the Yenisey near Krasnoyarsk and the Khabarovsk...

's project for the Yenisei Bridge in Krasnoyarsk.

Russian sparkling wine defeated all the French entries to claim the internationally coveted 'Grand Prix de Champagne'.


  • Alexander C. T. Geppert: Fleeting Cities. Imperial Expositions in Fin-de-Siècle Europe, Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

External links

  • Exposition Universelle 1900 in Paris Photographs
  • Paris exposition of 1900 A set of photographs by William Henry Goodyear (1846–1923) from the Brooklyn Museum.
  • Collyon's dedicated site/English (French version) 1 minute film pan shot from Champ-de-Mars (needs Flash) 1 minute 39 seconds film pan shot from Place de la Concorde
    Place de la Concorde
    The Place de la Concorde in area, it is the largest square in the French capital. It is located in the city's eighth arrondissement, at the eastern end of the Champs-Élysées.- History :...

     (needs Flash) 2 minute film pan shot from Esplanade des Invalides
    Les Invalides
    Les Invalides , officially known as L'Hôtel national des Invalides , is a complex of buildings in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, France, containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building's...

     and 10 seconds of Chateau d'Eau from Tour Eiffel (needs Flash)
  • Paris Exposition of 1900 (Flickr Photos)
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