Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New Orleans 1885: Exhibits in the United States Section.....

Typical of expositions of the period, exhibitors in the United States section designed many unique and original displays to catch the eye of the passing crowds. Every exhibitor sought to market their products to a new audience, and the New Orleans exposition offered an excellent opportunity to do this. Local, state, and national merchants, importers, and manufacturers all had displays in the vast United States section. Initially so many applications for space were received that numerous exhibitors had to be rejected, and only exhibits of higher caliber accepted. Approximately eight acres of displays covered the floor space allotted to the United States, and for judging purposes, exhibits were assigned to different classes according to the types of products being displayed. Upon entering the main entrance to the Main Building, visitors could turn either left or right to view the hundreds of exhibits, spread among the many avenues and aisles. At the south end of the United States section was located the He-No Tea Hong, a Chinese-style pavilion erected by Martin Gillet  & Co. The pavilion was constructed of bamboo, and featured a yellow roof with an enormous red papier-mache dragon on top. Many varieties of tea were on exhibit within the tastefully designed structure. A few aisles away from the He-No pavilion was located the Magnolia Ham exhibit, featuring two life-size artificial pigs. Mr. and Mrs. Pig were displayed dressed in their Sunday best and ready to sit down to a meal of ham, served with all the trimmings. In the northern portion of the United States section was located the Charter Oak Stoves exhibit, featuring numerous styles of cooking and heating apparatus. A short distance from the Charter Oak exhibit was located the display of John Gauche's Sons, whose company specialized in lamps and pottery of many types and styles. Farther to the north was located a large exhibit of salt, featuring a statue of the biblical Lot's Wife sculpted completely from pure rock salt, standing atop a lofty pedestal. One of the largest displays in the United States section was that of J. & P. Coats Company, whose factory produced spool-cotton thread in numerous colors. The main attraction of the spacious exhibit was a full-scale representation of the old stone mill at Newport, Rhode Island, composed of 80,264 multi-colored spools of thread. Among the hundreds of other United States displays were Keystone watch cases, Willimantic sewing machines, Ricksecker's perfumes, S. Hernsheim & Bros. cigars, and Mellin's Food products.

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