The World’s Columbian Exposition was held in Chicago in 1893, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival to the New World. The fair dazzled many observers, because the city was rebuilt after the Great Fire in just 20 years.

The exposition was designed by architects Daniel Burnham and Fredrick Law Olmsted and featured 200 new buildings. The new buildings covered over 600 acres and were inspired by classical architecture. Some structures of the exposition are still standing today, the Museum of Science and Industry was formerly known as the Palace of Fine Arts and the Art Institute was formerly known as the Exhibition Hall. Most interestingly, the fair inspired the architecture of Walt Disney’s World and Emerald City of L. Frank Baum’s Land of Oz.

Several inventions became known during the World’s Fair, here are a few notable advances.

  • Whitcomb Judson demonstrated the “clasp locker,”  forerunner to the zipper.
  • Phosphorescent lamps were used to light up the fair grounds
  • George Ferris showcased his Ferris Wheel, the wheel was 264 feet  high and had 36 cars, each of which could accommodate 60 people.
  • Josephine Cochrane showcases world’s automatic dishwasher and electrical kitchen.
  • Francis Davis Millet invent spray painting to increase painting process of the fair’s construction
  • Frank Haven Hall exhibits a device that prints books into a Braille