EGO Online: article about »World’s Fairs«As a communication medium, the world's fairs of the 19th century were the contemporary equivalent of the present-day world wide web. Given their enormous attendance figures, which far exceeded the reach of all other media, the historical significance of international exhibitions can hardly be overstated.
From the opening of the "Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations" in London in May 1851 onward, large expositions were held periodically in almost all major cities. The aim was to present to an international audience a miniature version of the world that was as true to scale as possible, present only for a limited time at a clearly defined site within the ever-changing host city. The EGO-article by Alexander C.T. Geppert gives an overview of the historical development of this 19th century mass- and meta-medium, describes its most significant forms, functions and effects, and discusses the extent to which world's fairs in Europe have decreased in impact since the beginning of the 20th century.
Alexander C.T. Geppert holds a joint appointment as Associate Professor of History and European Studies at NYU New York and NYU Shanghai.