Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/741

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THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY.

 

OCTOBER, 1893.


 

ELECTRICITY AT THE WORLD'S FAIR.
By CHARLES M. LUNGREN.
I.

A PERIOD of but seventeen years separates the first great American exhibition from the second, yet what a vast difference between the two in the display of electrical appliances! The Centennial was not indeed without its electrical wonders, but these were unobtrusive and formed but isolated examples in an industrial domain which yet remained to be cultivated. Electricity had not then been brought home to the attention and interest of the thousands by multiplied daily use. It made no appeal to the imagination, and the immediate future that was to open for it was hardly dreamed of even by those in the vanguard of electrical discovery. The telephone here made its début; the quadruplex telegraph, but recently put into commercial service, was here shown for the first time; and the dynamos and arc lamps of Wallace were on exhibition. The Gramme machine, which was shortly to play such an important part in the commercial development of the electric light, and to prove such a stimulus to the inventors of electric apparatus, was also to be seen here, but beyond these electricity was very little in evidence at the earlier exposition. At the Columbian it is omnipresent. It is called upon to do the lighting of the great buildings and grounds, to the exclusion of all other means of illumination; to drive the trains of the intramural railway which winds through the exposition inclosure; to propel the graceful launches which glide through its waterways; to furnish the power distributed throughout the various buildings, and to make itself known in innumerable decorative effects. Grown too large to have a place merely, along with other