If you love carnivals, use Aunt Jemima's Syrup, eat Shredded Wheat, enjoy an occasional box of Cracker Jacks (don't forget to look for the prize, hidden deep within) and a good burger, you can thank the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893.
They were all introduced at this fair.
The most famous first from the World Colombian Exhibition (not the Chicago World's Fair, 1933) was the arrival of the Ferris wheel, the exhibit's answer to the Eiffel Tower, which had been the shining star of Paris' 1889 exhibition.
The original Ferris wheel (built by bridge builder George Ferris) had a maximum height of 264 feet and had 36 wooden cars and could hold 60 people. It cost 50 cents to ride (as did many of the exhibits) and grossed more than $726,000Â (and reaped a profit of about $300,000) duringÂ the exhibition, which went from May to October of 1893.
Of all the exhibits at any world's fair, the Ferris wheel has had the most lasting influence and, today, is almost universally seen at town Carnivals and amusement parks.
The exhibition itself was enormously successful, bringing in more than 27 million attendees, and introducing a number of products and concepts into the world marketplace.
Famous firsts also include the first picture postcards from the US Postal Service and the first commemorative stamp set; the first set of commemorative coins from the US Mint; Pabst beer; diet soda; Cream of Wheat; Juicy Fruit gum; and the concept that has spawned more than a century of carnivals. So far.
The world's first elevated railway and the world's first moveable sidewalk were introduced here, as well.Â
It is most fitting that Chicago is home to the "El", the elevated subway system.
Thomas Edison invented the Kinetograph, which was a precursor to the movie projector, and there was Gray's Teleautograph, which was a device that somehow electrically reproduced handwriting, at a distance.
51 countries exhibited at the fair, with 16 of them having their own pavilion.Â
Some of the more well known exhibits from the fair include the Javanese, Lapland, Turkish, German and Austrian Villages; Algerian, Persian and Chinese Theatres; Blarney Castle, an Ice Railway, Libbey Glass Works, a miniature Eiffel Tower, Moorish Palace, Venice-Murano Exhibit, Bernese Alps and Kilauea Panoramas; South Sea Islanders, St. Peter's Model, Street in Cairo, and a Log Cabin exhibit.
Built after Chicago's great fire of 1871, which had destroyed much of Chicago, the city was desperate to rebuild itself and to proclaim its city as a city of beauty.Â
The World Columbian Exhibition was built on 633 acres in Jackson Park, and included an unprecedented collaboration of artists and architects,Â which greatly influenced architecture and the design of world's fairs for years to come.Â
The carnival concept was born at Midway Plaisance, the entertainment district in Jackson Park.Â The term itself "Midway Fair" was born at this exhibit.
One of the more famous attractions at Midway was the Street of Cairo exhibit, which featured a Snake Charmer, to the tune of (There's a place in Franceâ€¦")
There were several modes of transportation within the fair, including Venetian-style Gondolas, the elevated railway, the moveable sidewalk (and you thought People Movers were a recent invention, commonly seen in airports) electric boats, a steamship that traveled through parts of Lake Michigan, and Sedan Chairs, handled by guides from the Turkish Village.
Of all the early fairs and exhibitions, the World Columbian Exposition is regarded as the one that introduced more products and concepts to the world than any other.
No mean feat, that.