Columbian Exposition - Electrical Building

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Columbian Exposition - Electrical Building

During the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, the Electrical Building was located here.  Inside were "the most novel and brilliant exhibits of the exposition," according to the fair's official guidebook.  The architectural firm Van Brunt & Howe designed the building in Spanish renaissance style.  When the 1893 exposition occurred there was a major shift from steam power to electric power, so electricity was a major attraction at the fair.  The Columbian Exposition had more electric light bulbs than the rest of the City of Chicago, according to "A City Comes Of Age: Chicago In The 1890s," by Susan Hirsch and Robert Golder.  George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla introduced alternating current to the public for the first time at the fair.  Neon lights debuted here too.  There were several electrical power plants on the fairgrounds, and 8,000 arc lamps and 130,000 incandescent lamps lit the buildings and walkways.  A huge statue of Benjamin Franklin flying his kite stood at the entrance of the building.  Inside, the General Electric Company displayed search lights, power generators, incandescent lamps, and railway motors.  An 82-foot "tower of light" made from 30,000 pieces of cut glass and shaped like Thomas Edison's incandescent map stood in the middle of General Electric's exhibit.

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Jackson Park
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Columbian Exposition
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