The Virtual Corkscrew Museum's Weekly Newspaper

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Number 491

Click for free subscription

News Archive

1889 Exposition Universelle

by Don Bull

This souvenir of the Paris, France exposition shows the Eiffel Tower dominating the 1889 fair. Paris hosted a number of "World's Fairs" or Exhibitions prior to the 1889 fair. In the 18th Century they held fairs in 1798. A third exposition took place in 1802. Then in 1844 came the French Industrial Exposition followed by Exposition Universelle (1855, 1867, and 1878). A later Exposition Universelle took place in 1900,

On April 15, 1876 Jacques Perille applied for a patent for a corkscrew. The application showed a variety of designs including a frame with triple wing nut. French Patent No. 112,465 was granted on June 16, 1876.

Pictured above are two examples of Perille's flynut corkscrew designs. On the handle of the corkscrew on the left is "Souvenir of Paris" on one side and the Eiffel Tower on the other. It is quite likely that this corkscrew was produced as a souvenir of the 1889 Paris Exposition.

The handle of the corkscrew on the right above is marked EXPOSITION on one side and J PERILLE Bte S.G.D.G. PARIS on the other. This one can be attributed to the 1878, 1889, or 1900 Expositions.

As mentioned in last week's issue, the first Ferris Wheel was built for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The goal of the architects on the Chicago fair was to best the remarkable Paris exhibition of 1889 with its 984 foot tower designed by Eiffel. They first considered building a tower 500 feet higher but ultimately decided building something unique would attract more interest. When George Ferris came up with his Ferris wheel, the designers knew they would top the Paris exhibition. However, the Eiffel Tower still stands and the Ferris wheel is long gone. The wheel was dismantled during the summer of 1895. The wheel was rebuilt at a new site but the public had lost interest and it was closed.

The 1893 Chicago Ferris Wheel

In 1903 the wheel was sold for $1800 to a junk dealer with the cost of dismantling estimated at $30,000. The, in a surprise move, the wheel headed for St. Louis, Missouri and was erected for the St. Louis World's Fair (AKA Louisiana Purchase Exposition) in 1904. The Ferris Wheel got a new life.

1904 St. Louis World's Fair Souvenir Knife

The Ferris Wheel was not as popular at this fair and after the close of the fair, it was neglected and was viewed as an eyesore by the citizens of St. Louis. An attempt to sell it to Coney Island failed and it was unceremoniously blown up by 200 pounds of dynamite in 1906!

St. Louis 1904 Exposition Souvenir

William Rockwell Clough exhibited at the St. Louis Exposition where he added to his list of medals received by participating in fairs such as Philadelphia 1876, Paris 1878, 1889, and 1900; Atlanta 1895; and Chicago 1893*.

One of the thousands of participants in the 1904 St. Louis fair was the Samuel F. Myerson Printing Company of St. Louis, the company that printed an illustrated guide entitled The Greatest of Expositions.

The 288 page Guide published in 1904

Although Champagne knives in the same shape turn up quite frequently with the Adolphus Busch signature, the Myerson knife is rarely seen. Anheuser-Busch was a prominent exhibitor and promoter at the St. Louis Exposition.

*In Ron MacLean's bookWilliam Rockwell Clough: Inventor and Manufacturer of over a Billion Corkscrews , souvenir corkscrews are shown from several other fairs: 1893 Chicago, 1894 Nantasket Beach; 1894 Midwinter Fair (California), and 1895 Atlanta Cotton States & International Exposition.

Readers can find more on the Anheuser-Busch knives in the February 21, 2004 issue of The Weekly Screw.

Another important exhibitor at the fair was the C. F. Blanke Tea and Coffee Company of St. Louis. Champagne knives can also be found advertising Blanke Coffee.

The Boer War

At the 1904 St. Louis Exposition, a 12 acre site was dedicated to the reproduction of the battles and scenes of the Anglo-Boer war. Six hundred British and Boer veterans participated in the action. The Boer War was fought in South Africa (1899-1902) between the British and South African Dutch settlers.

Could it be that this knife commemorating the Boer War was a souvenir of the St. Louis Exposition? The age of the knife would certainly fit the period. One side of the knife shows the figures Kruger and De Wet. Kruger was Commandant-General of the South African Republic (Transvaal). General Christiaan de Wet was the war hero of the Boers. On the other side is "Eendrach Maakt Macht" (Unity is Strength).

Exposition Internationale de Tourcoing

Postcard from the collection of Milt Becker

In 1906 an Exposition was held in Tourcoing, France. One of the attractions at the fair was "Le Tire Bouchon" - a corkscrew slide. The emphasis of the exhibits at the fair was on textiles.

News Index

©2007 Don Bull, Editor


The Virtual Corkscrew Museum