Innovation for the Marketplace: The Back Story on the World’s Fairs

by Cathy on April 15, 2012 · 0 comments

in Style,Travel

Long before the Internet, TED Conferences, and South by Southwest, new ideas and innovations were introduced at the World’s Fairs. Countries, companies and individuals participated in order to learn from one another, fan the flame of customer demand and move the needle of progress forward. The World’s Fairs exhibit at the Kansas City Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art provides the back story on these events, which shaped the modern world.

The inspiration provided by the World's Fairs challenged manufacturers to create jewelry from new metals, such as aluminum.

Innovation in science and technology: Innovative manufacturing technologies and materials, such as plastic, synthetic rubber, poloyester and Plexiglas were showcased at the World’s Fairs.

British porcelain manufacturers were inspired by Indian textiles presented in World's Fair displays.

Cross-cultural influences: As one example of this, Prince Albert pushed for London to host the 1851 World’s Fair because he wanted to raise the level of design in his country by exposing artisans to the work of other countries. For example, British manufacturers were inspired by Indian metal work and textiles, which is reflected in this vase.

National pride: Finland was trying to break away from Russia at the turn of the century so the pieces the country entered in the 1902 World’s Fair in Turin features Finnish motifs.

Style: Japanese style was first introduced to the rest of the world at the World’s Fair in 1855. Prior to that, much of the world had no exposure to this mysterious country. The Z Clock, which debuted and the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago, introduced sleek modern style that used less materials and lowered production costs.

History: Many objects presented at the World’s Fairs used the modern manufacturing techniques of the time paired with classical designs of another era.

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