Since we expected company on board the "Marguerite" in the evening—Mr. Wilkinson, a citizen of Milwaukee, who intended to make us acquainted with his wife, we went on shore immediately after dinner to view the city, so as to return in time to meet our visitors.
Manistee made the impression of a flourishing business town. The comparatively long trading thoroughfare is a broad street nicely laid out, and adorned with numerous stately buildings and spacious stores.
Not long after our departure from Manistee, which occurred early on the following morning, a sudden squall threatened us; and a few minutes later, a terrific flash and peal broke almost simultaneously upon us, followed by a violent shower. Fortunately, it lasted but a short time. The tempest gradually ceased; the irregular and blinding flashes became fewer and the thunder rolled less loudly. Gradually the scene changed to one of peaceful beauty so that the rose light of the radiant sun-ball appeared in the heavens; casting a new glory on the picturesque scenery of water and shore.
The surface of the lake had become calm; and speeding along, we enjoyed the lovely weather which was not destined to continue. For, toward midday a fresh breeze rippled the waters that by degrees were transformed into towering waves, shaking their foamy crests, and tossing us angrily from side to side; and we were not sorry when we reached the harbor of Muskegon, about six miles from Muskegon City, situated on the same-named river which here, four miles from its mouth, widens into Muskegon Lake. It is the best harbor on the east side of the great lake. The city has daily steamboat navigation with Chicago; and saws and ships enormous quantities of lumber. Its principal manufactories are a number of foundries, machine shops, and boiler works. The present population is estimated to comprise about 24,000.
While admiring the lovely scenery enhanced by an enchanting sunset, from the deck of the yacht, our attention was distracted by approaching footsteps. In the uncertain, fading daylight, we perceived a gentleman accompanied by a lady—curiously regarding us—whom we invited on board the "Marguerite."
Mrs. and Mr. Wickham were the names by which this fair couple was introduced. That they spent the evening in our company, was very acceptable to us—as we but rarely had visitors on our pilgrimage. They greatly admired our floating home, and as the moon arose to bathe us with his silvery light, they took their departure.
The young archer—morn—broke his arrows on the remote hills, walking golden-sandaled down the lake, when we continued our voyage.
The still waters were soon lashed into fury again by an unfavorable wind, increasing toward midday to such a degree that we were glad to take refuge in the harbor of South Haven, where we lingered until the dawn of another day.
Opposite the mooring-place of the "Marguerite" stood an edifice whose interior we all longed to view. Having so unexpectedly become acquainted with the Life-Saving Service on the occasion of our adventure near Thunder Bay, we were anxious to learn more about that noble institution. In the afternoon we set out for the South Haven Life-Saving Station whose captain, an obliging gentleman, gave us very satisfactory explanations. He first called our attention to the splendid qualities of the life-boat: such as its power to right itself if upset; the capability of immediate self-discharge when filled with water; its strength; resistance to overturning; speed against a heavy sea; buoyancy; and facility in launching and taking the shore.
We then inspected the diverse apparatuses utilized for rescuing the shipwrecked.
A very clever contrivance, especially appropriate for saving invalids, children, and aged persons is the metallic car, a small covered boat, which can hold three or four persons who, entering by a comparatively small aperture, are shut in and drawn ashore, safely protected from injury even though overturned by the surf.
For projecting a line over a stranded vessel a howitzer is used; and in this way a communication is secured to the shore. The cork life-belts worn by the men, are of the plan first designed by Admiral Ward.
It is safe to say that the United States Life-Saving Service is chief among the life-boat societies of other nations, both as regards the extent of coast embraced, and the amount of work done. The whole support of this service is provided for by annual grants from Congress. Besides its vast coast line, it guards the shores of its great lakes. Since the sea-bordering portions of America in many places are destitute of human habitations, the constant employment of surfmen is required for the express purpose of looking out for vessels in distress and manning the surf-boats. It also necessitates the erection of houses of refuge provisioned so as to afford shelter and food to shipwrecked sailors for a considerable time at places, where without such provisions those who escape the sea, would probably perish from hunger and exposure.
The shores of the United States lakes and sea comprise over 10,000 miles, embracing almost every variety of climate and formation of land. This great extent of sea-board is divided into twelve districts with in all 244 stations. Of these 182 are on the Atlantic, forty-nine on the lakes, and twelve on the Pacific. Many of the stations are closed during the fine months of the year; their crews being disbanded till the winter gales again summon them to their heroic and dangerous work. That they render noble service in this way, may be gathered from the annual reports.
The official statement of 1893 shows that the disasters to shipping in that year amounted to 427 cases; that on board of vessels thus endangered there were 3,565 persons of whom 3,542 were saved.
After we had thus enriched our knowledge referring to this humane institution with its present effective system, we proceeded to the neighboring shore of Lake Michigan, here forming a beautiful beach. The polished and print-less sand studded with small, shining pepples spread before us in vast expanse; and the magnificent waters of the lake glittered in the sun-beams as though they were sown with diamonds. When the surf came in, and the white fringe of the sliding wave shot up the beach, the light color of the sand was deepened to a silvery gray. As much as we marred and defaced its fine-grained, bright surface, it was ever beaten down anew by the advancing and retreating waves. We had hardly deserted this lovely spot, when our foot prints were washed away by the ever returning sea.
On Monday at an advanced hour in the evening we departed from South Haven. Since the glories of the sunset, with its witchery of rose and gold, promised a fine night, we decided to continue our voyage as far as Michigan City.
The panorama we witnessed during that nocturnal trip was as magnificent as can be imagined. The full-orbed moon on the wave was beautiful; and so was the landscape bathed in its light.
Toward 10 o'clock we arrived at our destination, a town in La Porte Co., Indiana.
Michigan City is the largest lumber-market in the State, and has numerous manufacturing establishments. As a lake-port, it is a place of considerable prosperity comprising a population of about 11,000.
It was in the early morning, Tuesday, August 22nd, that we left Michigan City. Having sailed along the coast of the lake for about three hours, we discerned in the misty distance the site of the "Queen of the West."
At twenty minutes to 9 o'clock, it became plainly cognizable. In transports of delight we glanced at a vast, verdant tract of land adorned with magnificent structures appearing to be of the purest marble; in their matchless beauty imparting to the mind some grand allegorical tableau, intending to convey the poet's idea of the New Jerusalem.
It was the famous White City, the site of the World's Columbian Exposition, that charmed our eyes and gratified our taste so much. No one can adequately describe that sight as seen from the clear waters of the lake.—I imagine that our illustrious Columbus must have been equally affected as he beheld Guanahani, that fruitful island in its wild luxuriance, on his first landing in the New World.
STAY IN CHICAGO AND VISIT TO THE WORLD'S FAIR.
Our arrival in Chicago put an end to our pleasurable voyage comprising the considerable length of 1,243 miles, during which
"The waves were our pillow, Our cradle the sea: When rough was the billow Not timid were we."
This westward trip afforded us every hour a revelation of the surprising growth of the nation that lives under the Stars and Stripes. My traveling companions were equally delighted with this course, notwithstanding their being preacquainted with that portion of the west, whose rapid development makes it practically a new and another west every ten years. In fact, America astonishes the world; and it is no common pleasure to study and note the progress of this great republic of which Chicago is the second city in commercial importance, as well as in population.
We were anxious to obtain an adequate conception of the site of a city that is the synonym of push and prosperity, and to which Congress had awarded the World's Columbian Exposition. Therefore, the yacht was moored inside the breakwater, near the mouth of the inlet, called the Chicago River, which runs from the lake nearly one mile westward; then separates into two branches, one flowing northwest, the other southwest; thus dividing Chicago into three divisions, connected by more than thirty-five bridges, and two tunnels laid under the bed of the river. This streamlet used to empty into Lake Michigan; but a remarkable piece of engineering caused it to change its course and so to speak, run "uphill." The Illinois and Michigan Canal, with which the main branch of the river is connected, was so deepened as to draw the water out from the lake, so that—through this channel emptying into the Illinois River—the water of Lake Michigan flows into the Gulf of Mexico by means of the Mississippi River. Had it been later in the season, we might have decided to follow this watercourse in order to view the fertile Mississippi River Valley, and to enjoy the beauties of the sunny south.
The largest vessels may be towed into the Chicago River, being supplied with docks and water-slips and affording a dockage capacity of nearly forty miles.—Originally named Chacaqua River, (the Indian word for thunder, after the Indian Thor or Thunder God), it is supposed to have given the city its name.
At midday we left our anchorage—on which the eye of heaven shone almost too hot—and undertook our first trip to the Fair Grounds. Seated on deck, we inhaled the invigorating, fresh breeze sweeping over the lake and modified by the burning rays of the sun that kissed the brilliant, blue waters beneath, with his golden face, gilding them with heavenly alchemy.
High ran our anticipations as we were approaching the renowned White City, to which representatives of all nations have made a pilgrimage.
At the expiration of about one-half hour, we reached the pier, destined for the halting-place of yachts; and welcomed by the supervisor of the harbor, we went on shore.
The first impression was bewildering. Americans have reason to be proud of what was to be viewed in Jackson Park; as such buildings no previous generations of men have seen, congregated in this manner; and the display of the achievements of science, art, and industries, exhibited in them, has undoubtedly eclipsed all other expositions in the world's annals of progress.
It seems impossible to give so adequate a pen-picture of the World's Fair as to impart to the reader an accurate idea of its true grandeur. Many minds have essayed already to reproduce what they have witnessed there; many pens have attempted to record exactly the incomparable impression the exposition effected upon its visitors, but, it is safe to say, without even faintly describing it; for, can language convey to a blind man what "color" means, or to a deaf person the meaning of music?—No more can the pen of the most gifted author adequately portray the World's Columbian Exposition. If one would give to each building a volume; a shelf to the Midway Plaisance; and to the exhibitions a whole library in way of description, yet half of its beauties and wonders would not be told.—
Leaving the "Marguerite" at the North Pier, our attention was called to a unique exhibit made by the U.S. Navy Department, a structure representing a faithful model of a modern coast-line battle-ship. This full-sized imitation man-of-war "Illinois" was completely equipped erected on piling on the lake front, and surrounded by water, so as to give the appearance of being moored to a wharf. Here the Government showed also a war baloon, a light-house, a life-saving station complete with apparatus, and a gun battery.
Proceeding a little westward, we viewed a building, delightfully located, bearing a strong resemblance to the National Museum at Washington. This imposing edifice classic in style, and adorned by a central octagonal dome was the United States Government Building; to the southward of which rose the largest of the Exposition structures, the Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building, notable for its gigantic but symmetrical proportions, covering an area of more than thirty-one acres.
Looking in a southern direction, we caught sight of the pier extending 1,000 feet into the lake, and affording a landing-place for steamers. It was bounded on the east by the beautiful facade of the Casino, which presented a decidedly Venetian aspect; its nine pavilions being in communication both by gondolas and bridges. At the west end of the pier stood thirteen stately columns emblematic of the Thirteen Original States of the Union.
Rising out of the lagoon, the colossal Statue of the Republic, the largest ever built in America, predominated over this charming scene.
Beyond it extended a broad basin from which grassy terraces and broad walks led on the southward to one of the most magnificent edifices raised for the exposition, the Agricultural Building. In style of architecture it pertained to the classic renaissance and was erected at a cost of about $1,000,000.
From the pier westward across the park, we walked through an avenue, several feet long; affording a view of almost unparalleled splendor. Encompassing a beautiful sheet of water, the majestic facades of imposing buildings attracted our eyes; above all, a superb guilded dome shimmering in the sun-light, and pertaining to the Administration Building, which was pronounced the gem and crown of the Exposition structures. In general design in the style of the French renaissance, it was built at an expense of about $550,000.
Located at the extreme south of the park rose the stately Machinery Hall, following classical models throughout, and being especially rich in architectural lines and details. Its construction required a sum of $1,000,000.
Facing the Grand Avenue, our eyes rested with delight upon two immense edifices on either side of the Administration Building, one for the Electrical and the other for the Mining Exhibit.
Turning to the northward, we viewed the Transportation Building, exquisitely refined and simple in architectural treatment, although very rich and costly in detail.
On our right we beheld one of the most notable spots in Jackson Park, (viz) Wooded Island, a gem of primitive nature, agreeably contrasting with the grand productions of human skill surrounding it. Close by was the Palace of Horticulture, the largest structure ever erected for such purpose, costing about $400,000.
Proceeding more northward, we reached the entrance to the Midway Plaisance, directly east of which stood, encompassed by luxuriant shrubs and beds of fragrant flowers, like a white silhouette against the background of old and stately oaks, the daintily designed Woman's Building.
On a well paved boulevard we entered the great "Highway through the Nations." Formerly a promenade belonging to the South Park System and connecting Jackson Park on the east and Washington Park on the west, it was styled by the seekers of plaisir "Midway Plaisance" signifying "Pleasure-Way." This name has been retained by the Administration of the World's Fair, whereas the country-lane of former times had undergone a complete metamorphosis. We were unable to realize the radical character of the transformation as we contemplated the enormous variety of attractions here presented, more numerous and unlike any others ever brought together. Therefore, it is a very difficult task to give the reader an exact idea of the impression the Midway Plaisance effected upon its visitors, because we generally derive our conception of a scene from the comparison it will bear with similar spectacles.
The "Highway through the Nations" constituted an attractive, novel, and instructive addition to the Exposition. For, besides enlightening ourselves in regard to the styles of structures—inhabited by the diverse nations on the earth,—forming a fine array of villages, castles, towers, pavilions, pagodas, mosques, and other displays of oriental and occidental architecture, we viewed the natives of the various countries. There were representatives of nearly all the races and tribes, constituting the human population on our planet which is estimated to amount to 1,500,000,000 men. We had a chance to study their features, manners, and customs; their way of dressing, as well as their language and special occupations. Such opportunities are only otherwise given to travelers around the globe.
The rays of the descending sun—casting rosy reflections on the beautiful panorama and the mammoth Ferris Wheel, with its gigantic form overtowering the structures of the Midway Plaisance—gave us the signal for abandoning this charming realm.
Thus, directing our steps toward the Exposition Grounds, we arrived at the northwestern portion of Jackson Park where we ascended the entrance to a station of the Columbian Intramural Railway, the first and only electric elevated railroad, operated by the Third Rail Trolley System.—Conveyed by the driving power of electricity, we had a delightful ride affording a fine view upon the northern part of the grounds. Scores of graceful structures constituting a veritable town of palaces, embodied the best conceptions of America's greatest architectural display.
A picturesque group of buildings erected by the States and Territories of the American Union, rose in a semicircle around the Fine Arts Galleries, a palace costing half a million. Grecian-ionic in style, this edifice represented a pure type of the most refined classic architecture. In the western portion of this group—facing the North Pond—stood the Illinois Building, adorned by a dome in the center, and a great porch looking southward.
Surrounded by lawns, walks, beds of flowers, and shrubs, the charming structures of Foreign Nations were ranged on wide, curved avenues— affording an interesting aspect.
Just south of the Foreign and State Buildings we observed a considerable expanse of the lagoon, with inlet to the lake, encompassing three islands. On the largest one stood—contrasting agreeably in appearance with the other edifices—the U.S. Fisheries Building, Spanish-Romanesque in style and flanked at each end by a curved arcade connecting it with two polygonal pavilions.
Leaving the Intramural Train at the North Loop, we arrived at the Government Building; thus having completed our round-trip on the Fair Grounds and Midway Plaisance.
When we returned to our floating home, we had the satisfaction of having obtained the best possible results of our first visit by properly utilizing every minute.
It will be obvious to the reader that the excursion just described, was equivalent to a trip around the world; wherefore I am entitled to the assertion that it even surpassed Nellie Bly's remarkable feat who needed seventy-two days, six hours, and eleven minutes for accomplishing her circumterraneous voyage.
This success was due to the management of Mr. James, who made his intelligence effectual, in unison with great experience, gained by having attended the grand international expositions held in the course of several decades in the different sections of the globe.
Since there did not exist accommodations for a safe anchorage for yachts along the piers of the White City, we were obliged to sail back to the Chicago Harbor. The ride on the billows of Lake Michigan, however, was very enjoyable after the heat of the day. Fanned by the cooling sea-breezes, which we inhaled in the fullness of delight, our eyes rested in perfect rapture on the glorious panorama of the grounds extending toward the lake shore. The superb structures rising vaguely and obscurely in a shadowy expanse under the gloom of the growing twilight, were later beautifully illuminated by uncountable electric lights; from the powerful arc-light of 8,000 candles to the delicate incandescent lamp of one-sixteenth candle power gleaming like tiny fire-flies in the distance. It filled us with amazement to cogitate, that human mind and manual skill could create a spot on earth looking so much like a conception of paradise.
The next morning when corroborating our nerves by a hearty breakfast, Mr. James announced to us the programme of the day which set forth that we should witness in detail the attractions of the Midway Plaisance—a proposal that pleased us very much.
Having again disembarked at the pier of the Exposition Grounds, the Intramural Railway conveyed us rapidly—running with a velocity of twelve miles an hour—to the entrance of the International Highway.
We commenced with the attractions at the right hand side—and having passed the displays of the Diamond Match Company and the Workingmen's Home—the international Dress and Costume Exhibit, known as the Congress of Beauty, attracted our attention. Between forty and fifty pretty living representatives pertaining to the fair sex of different nationalities, races, and types were dressed in distinctive national or racial costumes.
The California Nursery and Citrus Tree Exhibit separated this Beauty Show from the Electric Scenic Theater, which may be regarded as a triumph of the modern progress in the electrical science. It depicted the changes of a beautiful Swiss Alpine scenery as such are gradually occurring from dawn till night—representing the magical and most wonderfully realistic effects ever produced by electric lamps.
Visiting the Libbey Glass Works, we obtained a very clear idea of the art of manufacturing glass—by following up the different processes of melting, blowing, cutting, spinning, weaving etc. all of which were in full operation in this exhibit.
In fact, the endeavor of this company to instruct the spectator in every detail of the work—was a complete success and exceedingly satisfactory. The ingenious construction of their magnificent building was especially adapted to enable the daily throngs—resorting to it—to have every opportunity for observation; and judging from what we saw, and the various comments we heard, we should be inclined to feel that the management had every reason to be satisfied with their splendid effort.
The artistic products manufactured solely by this company, and shown in the diverse departments—as well as those, decorating the Crystal Art Display Rooms—equal anything in the past and present, not excepting the celebrated Bohemian and Venetian manufactures of world-wide fame; and certainly the exhibition of cut glass made by the Libbey Company at this Exposition, has established the fact, that foreign manufactures can no longer claim to turn out the best artistic work; for truly, in that rich and unrivaled display, the summit of clear glass making and magical effects in cutting and polishing have been achieved.
Especially attractive were the tapestries and fabrics woven from spun glass. This was decidedly notable in the marvelous dress woven from one loom for the Spanish Princess Eulalia at a cost of $2,500. That these goods also serve as a canvas does for artistic work—was evidently proved by the sundry beautiful effects of this kind in the Crystal Art Room.—It would be impossible to enumerate the various articles produced in this wonderful and interesting display; but it is safe to say—the working exhibit of the Libbey Glass Company—in their palatial and costly structure was one of the chief features of the Midway Plaisance and the ever memorable Columbian Exposition.
A gateway—reminding us of mediaeval times—ushered the visitor into the Irish Village and Donegal Castle, a representative exhibit of Irish industry, art, and antiquity. The scenes there—were picturesque and uniquely Hibernian. In one of the cottages Irish lace-making could be noted; in another was shown by Hibernians the whole process of dyeing, carding, spinning and weaving home-spuns as well as various other branches of industrial developments in Ireland.
A few steps sufficed to transfer us from here—a representation of the extreme western portion of Europe to the most eastern country on the Eastern Hemisphere—Japan; which fact demonstrated the verity: Les extremes se touchent. Entering the Japanese bazaar, we observed Japanese ladies and gentlemen selling articles manufactured in—and imported from Nipon.
A highly interesting study of the natives of West Java (Dutch East Indies)—their occupations—and their bamboo huts—could be had in the Javanese Village exhibiting more than a hundred little men with bright and cheerful Malay faces, and thirty-six short women whose graceful movements were a source of attraction to thousands of visitors.
This scene of the tropical regions stood in striking contrast with a feature in immediate nearness—pertaining to a temperate clime—the German Village. Here, in the spacious concert-garden shaded by the dense foliage of numerous oak-trees, two German military bands, one of the infantry and one of the cavalry—seventy-four men in all—gave grand echt deutsche Militaerconcerte. The group of typical German peasant homes, the Black Forest House, the Westphalian Inn, the Upper Bavarian Home, and the Spreewald House, together with the Hessian Rural Town-hall, and the Castle were exact reproductions of mediaeval times. A portion of this stronghold from a remote date, was given up to the ethnographic museum; a collection chiefly of implements of war and of chase, illustrative of all periods beginning with the pre-historic and ending with the renaissance. An attractive group in wax constituted the figure of Germania, surrounded by German heroes from Arminius down to William I.
The Pompeii Panorama—near by—showed a very realistic representation of this city destroyed by the eruption of the Vesuvius in 79. This display was succeeded by the Persian Theater and the Model of the Eiffel Tower.
We left the crowded roadway, and entered the narrow Street in Cairo which made an imposing impression with its strange, oriental facades—the picturesque shops—and the quaint overhanging upper stories of the ancient Egyptian city. Natives of this African country—which is fertilized by the waters of the Nile—manufactured and had for sale Egyptian, Arabian, and Soudanese articles. Donkeys and camels were engaged in carrying visitors who chose to admire the busy thoroughfare seated on the backs of these animals. The native camel-drivers in their national costumes moved around and mingled with the strangers—which gave the populated street a peculiar charm to the eye, whereas the "Bum-Bum Candy" sold by Egyptian confectioners, afforded a strange sensation to the palate of the visitor.
Here, where the architecture, the surroundings, and the people were as far removed from anything American as could well be imagined, we really—for some minutes—were lost to all consciousness of being in that extremely modern city, called Chicago.
After having viewed the side attractions to which belonged the Egyptian temple—resembling the temple of Luxor—the tombs of the ancient kings, and fac-similes of mummies, we entered the Algerian and Tunisian Village. Besides a theater, it contained a great number of booths or bazaars in which a choice selection of goods of all kinds—peculiar to Algiers—was for sale.
Proceeding southward through the frequented avenue, we saw—in succession—the Kilauea Panorama, a vivid picture of the great volcano of Hawaii, with all the surrounding scenery—an American Indian Village, showing the remnants of some of the greatest North American Indian tribes, and their manner of living—and a Chinese Village including a theater, a joss house, and a bazaar.
The most southwestern portion of the Midway Plaisance was occupied by the "Wild East Show" where performances were given by Bedouin Arabs. With their short Turkish swords—the cimeters—they accomplished feats of such intrepidity and daring as to cause the spectators' blood to coagulate in their veins.
Bending our steps westward again, our attention was fixed upon the attractions on the north; id est on our right hand side.
Very striking to our eyes were two exhibits the comparison of which established the fact that they were as unlike each other as could be fancied. Not only that the two villages contrasted greatly by their external appearance; but the scenes and inhabitants that they encompassed, were in direct opposition. Reader, can you realize that here from the North Pole to the Equator there was but one step? Laplanders, from the Arctic region in Europe, the next-door neighbors of barbarians from the Torrid Zone in Africa? Although both low in the scale of humanity, the fierce and savage Natives of Dahomey with their repulsive habits exhibited the characteristics of the very undermost order of mankind.
But the mind was at once relieved from this sad picture of human debasement by the refined and attractive scenes in the Austrian Village, inclosing realistic reproductions of thirty-six buildings as they existed, more than a century ago, in old Vienna, deservedly eulogized in the song:
Es gibt nur a Kaiserstadt Es gibt nur a Wien; Da muss es praechtig sein, Da moecht' ich hin!
Having arrived at the center of the spacious promenade, we ascended one of the six northern platforms, communicating by turns with thirty-six aerial coaches, suspended by an iron axle to the periphery of the mammoth Ferris Wheel. A conductor invited us to step into a coach, as the appropriate moment had arrived, whereupon we entered a car having the seating capacity of forty persons, and almost the size of an ordinary Pullman Palace Car. Ere we were conscious of any movement, the monster wheel was slowly revolving in response to the powerful machinery by which it was operated—a trophy of the modern era of eminent progress. The total weight of the moving mass was 1,200 tons; and its construction involved the expenditure of $400,000. Reader, if you have not experienced the charm of this circular ride through a circumference of about 785 feet, you hardly can convey to your mind the conception of the fascination it afforded. Since the motion of the coaches was almost imperceptible, we could enjoy the trip—(viz)—two complete revolutions of the wheel—without the least excitement naturally aroused by rapid movement. Imagine the sensation of being carried up 250 feet on one side—and of being slowly lowered on the other; fancy the enjoyment and delight when gradually gaining a complete view of the Fair Grounds and the Midway Plaisance—a bird's eye-view of the whole of Chicago—and also a good portion of Lake Michigan. Dear reader, you will certainly acknowledge the fact that such a ride surpassed any similar brief journey ever taken. For, what other device for transportation can maintain the claim of enabling its passengers to look upon the whole world during twenty-five minutes!—
"When you get used to the motion Only delight you will feel: Gone is each terrified notion Once in the circle of steel. And you enjoy the commotion Clap and applaud with much zeal: For it surpasses old ocean To ride in the great 'Ferris Wheel.'"
The sun—being almost too liberal in the expenditure of heat—made us long for a refreshing breeze. Therefore we decided to ride in the Ice-Railway. Here we had opportunity to feel the excitement caused by velocity of motion. For a seventy mile-an-hour locomotive would have been monotonous and tiresome in comparison with a dash around the ice-railway track, containing 850 feet, and covering an elliptic space whose surface had a coat of ice nearly an inch thick. Over this smooth and glistening substance the bobsleigh was gliding with the speed of a toboggan and the ease of a coaster to the merry jingle of sleigh bells.
This exhibit—whose cost amounted to $100,000—gave an example of inventive genius, and also of the successful application—in a novel manner—of the principles of refrigeration.
The beautiful building next to the Ice Railway environed an excellent imitation en miniature of the magnificent Cathedral of St. Peter in Rome, its size being one-sixteenth of the original. When viewing this model, the elaborate papal throne, and the Vatican Guards in the exact uniform of the pope's attendants, one might imagine to have been conveyed into la bella Italia by the agency of a magic wand.
Promenading more eastward, we found ourselves vis-a-vis the Moorish Palace, a fine reproduction of Saracenic architecture, the famous Alhambra in Granada, Spain.
The attractions exhibited in the interior of this structure could, indeed, bear a comparison with those offered in a realm of enchantment. The optical illusions, produced by ingeniously arranged mirrors, were a pleasing surprise to the visitor. Luxuriant palms decorating the labyrinthian garden appeared to be endless in number—casting their shade over hundreds of life-like figures in gaudy costumes. Each of these groups in wax, was multiplied again and again in the perspective of mirrors. Entering the palace, the visitor was unable to shake off the feeling of perplexity caused by the extraordinary spectacles to be witnessed within its walls. The most startling surprises were the bottomless well, the cave, the monster kaleidoscope, and the panopticon. A touching scene, produced in wax, represented the execution of the unfortunate Queen Marie Antoinette. So realistic was its effect that many tender-hearted mortals could not refrain from shedding tears of sympathy for the ill-fated consort of Louis XVI of France.
A personage of special interest in the Turkish Village was "Far-a-way Moses"—the celebrated guide and counselor of Americans, visiting the shores of the Bosporus—who has been immortalized by Mark Twain. With a pleasant smile his popular face, he gave a cordial greeting to every visitor.
The various scenes constituted a true reproduction of Ottoman life. The decorations in the Turkish theater were in purely oriental style; and the representations on the stage showed the manners and customs of the countries embracing the Turkish Empire. The Bedouin Camp, north of the grand bazaar, displayed the peculiarities of a nomadic life of those Arabian tribes.
Adjacent to a Turkish cafe, the Panorama of the Bernese Alps was on exhibition. A beautiful painting showed the grand scenery of Grindelwald, the Wetterhorn, the Jungfrau, Schreckhorn, Jura, the village of Lauterbrunnen, and the little town of Thun.
Ushered by a gate into the Johore Village, we viewed the habitations, weapons, apparels, and curiosities of that Malay tribe. The performance given by one of the natives stood in striking contrast with what we understand by the art of dancing. In fact, it was more a series of graceful poses with slow rythmic movements of hands and feet. This peculiar dance effected a strange impression upon us; but seemed to amuse our Baby Virginia beyond measure, who, on the arms of her faithful nurse, attempted to produce movements similar to those she had just witnessed.
The South Sea Islanders' Village exhibited Malays from Sumatra, Borneo, Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand, and other islands belonging to Oceanica. The huts and their occupants had a strong resemblance with those of the Javanese village whose inhabitants, however, were more agreeable-looking people.
Paying a visit to Hagenbeck's Zoological Arena, we first admired his famous menagerie, which comprised rare varieties of quadrupeds, and a fine collection of birds.
In a circus modeled on the plan of the Coliseum of Rome, we witnessed performances that evinced the wonderful docility Mr. Hagenbeck's animals possess, and manifested the complete control their trainers have over them.
We had already seen innumerable circus feats; but those performed on this occasion, surpassed them all. For, such a perfection in training ferocious animals is extremely rare. Vraiment, the five Nubian giant lions afforded an imposing aspect; and their performances were simply marvelous, indicating that—while human ingenuity and skill subdued the great forces of nature to the use of mankind—also the fierce, majestic king of beasts is made submissive to man's will by his master power over all.
Industrial, Mining, Diving, and Horticultural Exhibits occupied the remaining space of this eastern portion, whose extremity was taken up by Lady Aberdeen's Irish Village. Here the displays were similar to those inclosed in Mrs. Hart's Irish Village, already described; but the novel feature of Blarney Castle was the renowned Magic Stone, supposed to possess extraordinary virtues.
Thus, the unique Highway through the Nations afforded a prolific source for sight-seeing, and furthermore, was a sore trial to our organs of hearing. Musical and unmusical instruments of every description were in operation—from the Javanese salendon and pelog to the tuneful instruments, masterly handled by the excellent German bands.
This visit to the Midway Plaisance established the fact, that the theories—admitted by the study of geography—could not be brought into consideration. How should space and time be in existence when a few steps sufficed to convey us from the land of perpetual snow to the zone of exotic plants and tropical fruit!
"Who can all the tribes and nations name That to Plaisance from every climate came?"
The Chinese and Turk, German and Cingalese, Esquimaux and Javanese, Irishman and Polynesian, Bedouin and Laplander, Austrian and Soudanese, Syrian, Nubian, and Japanese—all had a temporary home within the limits of a tract of land covering eighty acres.
The sinking sun which crimsoned the structures of the Midway Plaisance, exhorted us to abandon this place of international rendez-vous—and to return on board the "Marguerite;" since she was to convey us back to the Chicago Harbor.
Gliding along on the crystalline lake,
"We breathed the airs, not ruffling its face. Until we came to a quiet place."
The latter we chose for our nightly abode; again casting anchor in the so-called Basin near the Chicago Breakwater.
The approaching night fully deserved its title—the season of silence and repose. The atmosphere was unusually mild. In the eastern portion of the sky the light of Luna grew brighter and brighter. Her large, white circle silvered the tranquil waters and the environing scenes. In front of us at the airy distance, we viewed the beautiful White City rising from out the wave as from the stroke of the enchanter's wand; being brilliantly illumined. Around us lights of many colors flashed from vessels of every description that lay moored in our vicinity. The scenic beauty of the surroundings, the balmy air, the charming quietude on the lake—all this fascinated us in such a manner as to make us reluctant to seek the repose, to which we were entitled by the long day's extraordinary experiences.
On arriving at the Exposition Grounds the following morning, we observed that—in spite of the early hour—the promenades were unusually frequented. This fact was due to the celebration of the Illinois Day which had attracted a multitude of citizens from Chicago and environs. In accordance with our unanimous desire—to first view the interior of the largest edifice, we entered one of its four great entrances designed in the manner of triumphal arches. The MANUFACTURES BUILDING was erected for the purpose of accommodating all classes of leading industries—the products of modern machinery and man's skillful handiwork—which, in this epoch of constant progress, have attained a high stage of perfection. And comparing the achievements of the present age with those recorded in the annals of history, proves that opinion.
Having stepped into the central aisle at the northern end of the mammoth structure, we found ourselves in a broad street, called Columbia Avenue. Glancing around, we were dazzled by the resplendent glory of an aspect almost overpowering. The fine display included those exhibits which exemplified most advantageously the modern industrial progress made by the various nations on the globe. Artistic pavilions, oriental pagodas, and quaint kiosks had been provided for most of the exhibits. The United States section—covering the entire range of manufactures, and extending from the extreme northwestern corner to the avenue east and west—evinced the high rank of the Union in the industrial world in consequence of its uncommon wealth, and the inventive genius of Americans in the production of labor-saving devices and improved machinery.
All the great firms were represented, commending the abnormal variety of domestic industries. It was, indeed, a matter of difficulty to decide which of them was paramount. Tiffany's costly exhibits in jewels, especially diamonds, housed in a beautiful pavilion, attracted the visitor's eyes.
Opposite this structure, Germany had a stately building. Gobelin tapestries and handsome furniture adorned its interior. The elegant rooms were modeled after the reception salon of the Imperial Palace in Berlin, and that of King Louis of Bavaria. All the various products of industrial pursuits—inclosed in this pavilion—manifested the intelligence and dexterity of the German nation.
Austria had a rich display, principally in jewelry and ornamental decorations, in an adjoining edifice. A splendid collection, including everything in the line of manufactures, was shown in the English Pavilion, which rose south of the German exhibits. Facing the former, France occupied a structure whose walls were adorned with costly tapestries, and whose ceramic, furniture, and household decorations were worthy of the highest admiration. Next to the Belgian section a sumptuous pavilion housed an enormous outlay of diverse Russian manufactures.
At the southern end of Columbia Avenue a magnificent building formed the gateway to a rich collection of Italian art ware and industries. The handsome Spanish Pavilion was succeeded by typically Persian exhibits consisting prominently of carpets, curtains, silk needlework, and tapestries. Mexico, the land of manana and poco tiempo was represented by costly decorations and art feather-work. The facade of the Siamese structure—close by—covered with gold leaf, was imposing and attractive. Displays of manufactured goods had been made by scores of other countries, all of which to enumerate would be an impossibility.
As we reached the northwestern portion of the gigantic building, we were delighted with the sight of the Japanese Pavilion, one of the most valuable structures. Upon its construction the Japanese government had expended a great amount of money. The superb exhibits in works of art, bric-a-brac, and other exquisite manufactures brought to view by this nation, evinced an eminent talent and great ingenuity.
The Mikado—to whom is due the rapid progress civilization has made in his country within the last ten years—was the first of the foreign monarchs to demonstrate an active interest in the exposition.
The melodious chimes resounding from the belfry of a clock-tower in the center of Columbia Avenue, caused us to take notice of the rapidly elapsing time. To our surprise, the immense time-piece indicated an advanced hour in the afternoon.
We could not abandon the superb temple, so amply filled with the products of human industry, embracing that which was regally magnificent, as well as that most applicable to our daily needs—without an enthusiastic thrill. If man is weak in many things, he is also grand in much; and every thoughtful observer must have paused upon this threshold to pay a tribute to that untiring energy which must make the world better for its existence and progress.
We entered the next great structure to the northwest. Here, the GOVERNMENT of the UNITED STATES from its Executive Departments, the Smithsonian Institution, the U.S. Fish Commission, and the National Museum, exhibited such articles and materials as illustrate the function and administrative faculty of the government in time of piece, as well as its resources as a war power.
Taking the south-entrance, our attention was first turned to the collection of the Smithsonian exhibits. They showed the results of scientific investigations during the forty-seven years of its existence, and the scope of its work.
The contributions from the National Museum represented the natural resources of the United States: Rare specimens of the American fauna; illustrations showing the geological variations within the limits of the United States and the utilization of nature's rich gifts bestowed upon this country. This department gave us occasion to obtain an entire idea of the enormous melioration, arts and industries have experienced in modern times—by means of exhibits demonstrating the history and development of ceramics, graphic arts, musical instruments; as well as many important trades from the most primitive stages to the present day. Here also were interesting studies in ethnology, prehistoric anthropology, archeology, religious ceremonials, zoology, mineralogy, and geology.
The Treasury Department—more westward—contained models, pictures, charts, and diagrams elucidating the Marine Hospital Service, Coast and Geodetic Survey, the Mint of the United States, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the U.S. Lighthouse Establishment, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Register's Office, and the Bureau of Statistics.
In the adjoining division assigned to the Postoffice, we could trace the subject of transportation which plays so prominent a part in the history of civilization—by means of models, drawings, and pictures from the most incipient stages to the modern uses of steam and electricity.
The northwestern portion of this interesting building was given up to the Department of the Interior; embracing the Patent Office, the Bureau of Education, the Census Office, and the U.S. Geological Survey.
In the rotunda we viewed the "Big Tree," a section thirty feet in length, cut from Sequoia Gigantea, a tree 300 feet high whose diameter at the base covered a space of twenty-six feet. It grew in the Sequoia National Park in the charming clime of California. Under the central dome were also shown 138 colonial exhibits—relics of historic value from days long gone by.
The War Department was well represented in all its branches; regarding uniforms and equipage, means of transportation, military engineering, shooting apparatuses, ammunition, etc.
Having visited the State and Justice Departments, we repaired to the division in which the government displayed (in the Department of Agriculture) a very complete and comprehensively arranged collection of grains obtained in this and other countries.
Very interesting were the adjacent exhibits, presenting to view the topics of food adulteration, entomology, pomology, botany, ornithology, and mammalogy; together with experiments in fibre investigation.
Betaking ourselves to the northern division, we were instructed—by various illustrations—of the methods employed by the scientific branch of the Fish Commission in determining the habits, peculiar to denizens of water. Models and apparatuses showed the results of Fish Culture.
The displays in this unique building covering almost all the branches of modern science and arts, bore testimony to the fact that the United States now rank with the most powerful nations on the globe; and to this attainment only a little more than one century of development was requisite. This says everything for American enterprise and genius—and a country so young in a very old world.
The circumstance of its being a calm evening—with the prospect of a pyrotechnic display later—permitted us to remain on the Fair Grounds longer than we usually did; hence we determined to visit still another structure.
By crossing a bridge over the lagoon, we arrived at the Fisheries Building. In the main edifice we first saw fishing-tackles, nets, and other apparatuses used by fishermen, and shown by the American Net and Twine Co. The contiguous space to the right was given up to the exhibits of several States in the Union, especially noted for fisheries, and of various foreign countries as Japan, the Netherlands, Canada, France, Great Britain, Russia, and Norway. Walking through a curved arcade, we beheld on either side aquaria of an enormous capacity, inclosing both denizens of fresh and salt water. It is safe to say the display of aquatic life made here, could rival the greatest permanent aquaria in existence; not only as to their voluminousness, but the immense variety of their specimens. Especially striking to the eye was a magnificent group of gold fishes. The huge bull-cat fish and the gigantic turtle were conspicuous by their monstrousness. We removed to the eastern extremity of the Fisheries Building, forming a spacious circular pavilion. In the rotunda a basin, twenty-six feet wide, presented a beautiful scenic effect. Over rocks picturesquely arranged, the silver meshes of a brook wound their way, forming here and there white gushes of waterfall which contrasted agreeably with the moss covered stones, and the semi-aquatic plants. The latter adorned the pool below, in which golden-hued fishes moved lightly to and fro. The inspection of the angling pavilion at the extreme western side of the Fisheries Building completed our visit in this fine structure, whose exhibits demonstrated largely the fishery wealth of the United States.
Taking advantage of the extraordinary calmness of the atmosphere, our mindful commodore resolved to moor the yacht in vicinity of the Exposition Grounds. For, he wished to give us opportunity to witness the display of pyrotechnics announced for the latter part of the evening, in solemnization of the Illinois Day. Therefore, the "Marguerite" conveyed us to a place which proved exceedingly favorable for our design. Here, our floating home was anchored. Enjoying a full vista of the White City, we found a prolific source of admiration in the grand electric spectacles. The illumination of the Columbia fountain in front of the Administration Building, and the display of two electric fountains in the western extremity of the South Pond, were magical in effectiveness. Wonderful flash-lights blazed from the tops of the tallest towers, surmounting the larger structures. Whenever the operator threw the search-light investigably over the yacht, we shut our eyes spontaneously at its dazzling brilliancy.
As the gathering shadows of night wrapped land and water in darkness, the hour arrived in which the visitors on the Fair Grounds—who seemed to be almost as numerous as the sands on the shore—expected to view the scenic effects produced by means of fire.
We sat on the deck of the yacht as comfortably as in our boudoirs at home. Nevertheless, we were able to enjoy ad libitum the same sight that so many others in the White City could only see with difficulty, on account of the unusual throngs. When we reflected on this circumstance—so much in our favor—our hearts were filled with gratitude toward our commodore, who had selected this excellent locality. From here we admired the exceedingly fine pyrotechnic displays. Girandoles pierced the sky in all directions, with rushing lines of fire. Sky-rockets exhibiting rich hues of purple, red, and green ascended through the air; and when reaching the highest point of their blazing paths, they discharged beautiful garnitures of floating stars, sparks, crackers, serpents, gold and silver rain. Tourbillions mounting and rotating through the atmosphere, formed brilliant spiral curves of fire. Splendid effects of changing color were brought to view by revolving fire-wheels. An appropriate finale constituted the burning of the American flag, which bore a sublime character in the brightness of fire.
"Flag of the free heart's hope and home, By angel hands to valor given: Thy stars have lit the welkin dome, And all thy hues were born in heaven"
As the first faint smile of the morning peeped over the eastern wave, I rose—greatly refreshed by a sound sleep. Coming on deck, I found that the sun's unclouded orb already poured its rays of light upon the earth.
Our eyes rested with delight on the White City throned on its numerous isles, looking like a sea Cybele—ascending from the lake with her tiara of proud towers.
At our arrival on the Fair Grounds, Mr. James thoughtfully provided us with guides and rolling-chairs—vehicles which reminded us of the Japanese Jin-riki-sha.
The main entrance of the AGRICULTURAL BUILDING—adorned on either side by mammoth Corinthian pillars—ushered us into a vestibule, richly ornamented with appropriate statuary. From here, we reached a rotunda surmounted by a gigantic glass dome. When looking about on the main floor, we fancied ourselves to be in a city of pavilions. For, the States of the Union as well as the foreign nations had environed their displays with magnificent little temples and pagodas. To a great extent, they formed exhibits themselves, because in most cases the chief products of the respective country had been utilized for their construction. Nebraska, for example, had employed sweet corn for the erection of its pavilion.
Every state and territory was represented by its productions; the Northern States with Indian corn, wheat, oats, barley, rye, and other cereals; the South with cotton, rice, sugar, etc. Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee evinced their noted superiority in the culture of the nicotian plant, which is in such great favor with the consumers of tobacco.
Agricultural and other food displays were shown in great varieties by the foreign countries. In the German section the gigantic Chocolate Tower (built of several hundred tons of chocolate by the famous firm "Gebrueder Stollwerck" in Cologne) compelled admiration. The Liebig exhibit of canned and preserved meat was a prominent feature of this division. Great Britain showed specimens of grain from the English experimental grounds, representing the effects of artificial fertilization on the various seeds. The contributions made by Canada embraced grain, seeds, and roots; and its eleven ton cheese constituted one of the unique exhibits in this edifice. As in all great departmental structures, Japan was well represented. It had a fine display of its chief exports—tea, rice, and raw silk. Russia's showing covered a space of 32,000 feet. New South Wales, France, Mexico, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, and numerous other foreign countries demonstrated, likewise, the variety and wealth of their natural resources.
Besides the farm products of the world in all their diversity and perfection, agricultural machinery was exhibited: Devices of every description from the most primitive implements to the highly improved machines as they are in use at the present day. The ingenious arrangement of this display enabled the visitor to perceive at a glance the enormous progress made in that branch of industry. Thus, we viewed in the annex of the main floor one of the most perfected plows—the "Queen"—a trophy of modern inventiveness. And beside it stood an implement, which reminded us by its simplicity and unwieldiness of an apparatus, described in mythology as used by Ceres dea agriculturae—when teaching to mankind this important occupation.
The south-western portion of the first floor was covered with instructive contributions of American agricultural colleges and experiment stations. They embraced the entire field of scientific research in all branches of husbandry; illustrating the most improved methods of cultivation, and explaining how the best results may be secured.
The great galleries contained a fine wool exhibit, an interesting apiary display, dairy implements, and a vast collection of manufactured food products.
The multitudinous objects brought to view in this building, proved beyond doubt, that the standard of excellence in that ancient occupation has been achieved mainly with the assistance of scientific researches.
A colonnade formed the connecting link between the Palace of Agriculture and the Machinery Hall. In its center, from an archway—leading to the live-stock exhibit—we enjoyed a fine view down the lagoon—extending nearly a mile in length.
As adjuncts to the agricultural department, may be regarded the displays in the Dairy and Forestry Buildings.
On entering the PALACE OF MECHANICAL ARTS, three elevated traveling cranes running from end to end of the structure, attracted our attention. They had been utilized in the work of construction, as well as in moving the machines presented to view. The platforms erected upon them, gave us occasion to look upon the entire machinery exhibition. The driving power used in the main building and annex was steam; excepting two small sections driven by electric motors. Adjoining the south side of the edifice extended the enormous power plant. It supplied the Machinery Hall with a total steam power of about 3,000 horses generated by twelve engines. The entire plant, comprising over sixty steam-engines, and operating 127 dynamos, represented a most stupendous display of mechanical energy hitherto unequaled. Its total capacity was equivalent to 20,000 H.P.
The domestic exhibits located in the western portion of the main building—but mostly in the annex, revealed the marvelous progress made during the last decades in this wonderfully prospering country. Shown by great firms from almost every state and territory were devices of various forms: Motors and apparatuses for the generation and transmission of power—fire-engines and other appliances for extinguishing a conflagration—machine tools and devices for working metals—machinery for the manufacture of textile fabrics and clothing, for cutting wood, for typesetting, printing, embossing, book making and paper working, lithography, and photo-mechanical process, for working-stone, clay, and other minerals. In short, there were machines of every description employed in all industrial pursuits imaginable; yea, even appliances for facilitating the housekeepers' daily duties as laundry- and dish-washing machines.
In fact, it must require a considerable effort to excogitate novel labor-saving devices. Nevertheless, man's ever active ingenuity constantly increases the number of meliorated contrivances.
The pump exhibit was grouped around a tank of water, comprising an area of 7,500 feet. Here at the junction of the main hall and annex, scores of modern pumps were in active operation.
Of the foreign countries we found Germany best represented, quantitatively as well as qualitatively. The other prominent displays were made by France, Great Britain, Canada, Belgium, Russia, Spain, Italy, Mexico, New South Wales, Austria, and Switzerland.
Here, the mechanical engineer was enabled to make studies of incalculable profit for his professional career; and even the lay mind received a vast amount of information.
We abandoned the Machinery Hall at its northern extremity, and repaired to the most magnificent structure on the Exposition Grounds. The exterior of the ADMINISTRATION BUILDING, so rich in architectural treatment, had compelled our admiration, to be sure; but the interior features even exceeded it in splendor. The four mammoth entrances were beautifully adorned by statuaries of emblematic character. There exist but few edifices of similar character, whose ornamentations rival those of its interior dome, which rose 200 feet from the floor.
The four corner pavilions, four stories high, contained offices for the various departments of the Administration; Board and Committee rooms; the Postoffice; a Bank, etc.
An exhibit, manifesting the unrivaled wealth of the republic, and placed in the center of the rotunda on the first floor was an excellent reproduction of the Capitol in Washington in miniature, erected of silver coins: indeed a master-piece. I shall leave it to the reader to find out how many of the half dollar-pieces were needed for the construction of this unique building, contributed by the U.S. Government. To our regret Mr. George R. Davis, Director-General of the Columbian exposition, whom we intended to call upon, was absent. So we determined to have the ELECTRICITY BUILDING next in our programme.
The sundry appliances of electricity dispersed in all parts of the grounds, gave us already a conception of the incomparable rapidity with which it has developed—both as an industry and science. The intramural railway demonstrated the latest application of electric motor power to elevated railroads.
The illumination of the grounds and buildings showed the marvelous progress achieved in electric lighting, and the expertness in obtaining brilliant spectacular effects. The electric launches on the lagoons manifested the usage of electricity for water-transportation.
All these practical exhibits represented purely commercial features, whereas the displays in the building—we just had entered—offered a field of relevations as regards the extraordinary accomplishments in the electrical science. They embraced all the improvements from the earlier inventions to the latest marvels.
In the southern portion of the main floor, the United States showed various devices for creating the three economic commodities—light, heat, and power.
With great interest we inspected the numerous apparatuses illustrating the phenomena and laws of electricity—the instruments for electrical measurements—the electric batteries—and the machines for producing electrical currents by mechanical power. How transmission and regulation of these currents are effected, could be studied by a vast number of devices.
A very interesting group constituted the electric motors and their manifold applications as to street and other railways; to mining, to elevators, pumps, printing presses, and domestic appliances.
The creation of light by electricity was beautifully elucidated by the weird illumination of the Edison Light Tower in the center of the building, and the Egyptian Temple in its south-eastern portion. Countless incandescent lamps were glowing in all the colors of the rainbow. The luminary effect gave us the impression as if a fiery serpent was meandering along these iridescent glass-tubes with inimitable velocity.
Among the inventions of later date may be reckoned the use of electricity in heating; especially for industrial operations as electric forging, welding, brazing, tempering, etc.
The lay mind is almost incapable of estimating the utilarian capacity of this great property. Even many branches of modern sciences have received eminent advancement by its utilization; such as surgery, dentistry, therapeutics, metallurgy, chemistry, etc.
Germany and France made the most commendable foreign display. Great Britain, Brazil, Austria, Italy, Japan, and Canada had contributed in accordance with the development of this novel industry within their territory.
The gallery was devoted to the wire exhibit and lighter scientific apparatuses. Here were placed all the recent improvements applied to telephony and telegraphy.
Professor Elisha Gray's sensational invention—the telautograph—in active operation, attracted many spectators. It is a very ingenious contrivance, of which I have given a detailed description in my pamphlet on electricity—recently published in Cincinnati, O., by the Burgheim Publishing Co.
The great number of exhibits demonstrated the achievements in the economic usage of electricity during an amazingly short period. In fact, the electrician has obtained unequaled results in his profession. To him is due—to a great extent—the high stage of perfection in sciences, arts, and industries at the present day.
Nevertheless, the field of electrical scientific researches is by no means exhausted. However, an entirely new era will have dawned, when the ever-increasing knowledge reveals to an ingenious inventor a method to apply the electric current to every-day-usage as easily and inexpensively as we utilize water at present.
Then the epoch has appeared which may be properly styled the "Happy" or "Golden Age." For, many cares and sorrows will be removed at once.
The conscientious housekeeper, for instance, whose domestic duties often exhaust her bodily strength, will find her burdens greatly lightened. She has no more to suffer from the intolerable heat of her cooking-stove, while furnishing repasts on oppressive summer days. The electric current will cause the water to boil—the meat to broil—and the potatoes to fry. Yea, her dinner will be cooked ere she is conscious of that fact.
In like manner the electric flat-iron will smoothen her linen without fatiguing her. But not only the lady of the house will rejoice; also the poor, hen-pecked husband will be in transports of delight, as it will make his path easier in many ways. The constant complaints he was hitherto obliged to endure, will grow mute for ever, and the curtain lecture will be no more.
Furthermore, should circumstances compel the active business man to part with his wife for a long time, the marvelous inventions enable their mutual intercourse during the separation as if time and space were unknown factors. The lady need not suffer long from inquietude concerning her husband's safe arrival; for the receiving instrument of her telautograph reproduces instantaneously his own handwriting. A parcel, sent to her by express, contains a cylinder to the improved phonograph. When bringing it in proper contact with this wonderful instrument, she hears her consort's voice, just as if he was by her side, and a thousand leagues were but a few inches. Moreover, Edison's kimetograph portrays the beloved features of her absent spouse. She is now perfectly consoled; for the radiant expression of his countenance manifests health and happiness.
Having left the imposing Electricity Building, we repaired to a structure in close proximity dedicated to exhibits of the mineral kingdom. Never before, the records of international expositions gave account of a similar fact; namely, that the display made of MINES AND MINING was so capacious as to require the erection of a special edifice. Its size and architectural beauties rivaled those of the great structures in Jackson Park. The magnificent arched entrance of the north front was richly embellished with sculptural decorations emblematic of mining and its allied industries. This spacious gateway led us to the main floor, which presented a spectacle so weird that its impression cannot be easily effaced. In temples and pavilions of ineffable gorgeousness were exhibits of gems and precious metals of dazzling beauty. Useful ores and their products, building stones, soils, salt, petroleum—indeed, everything that man furthers from the dark entrails of the earth, was offered to inspection.
Besides the mineral resources of the world in their original state, the displays embraced many devices of mining machinery; such as pumps and engines used in mining, moving, and delivering ores; apparatuses for breaking out ore and coal; for crushing and pulverizing; for reducing metals, for instance the extraction of gold and silver by milling, lixiviation, and fire; furthermore, boring and drilling tools; grinding and polishing substances, etc.
The galleries containing especially the metallurgical collection, had the appearance of the scientific department of a museum combined with the laboratory and library of a university.
Moreover, there were offered to view many interesting and instructive working models, various unique exhibits, and thousands of geological specimens.
Germany, France, and New South Wales were the leading foreign countries in this building. Great Britain and her numerous colonies occupied the largest collective space. The brilliant outlay of the Cape Colony included 40,000 rough diamonds, and illustrated the method of polishing them. Canada's mineral showing was so ponderous as to exceed the weight of 125 tons. It comprised every known species of mineral, marble, and granite in that country. In this enormous collection we discovered a block of pure nickel weighing 4,600 pounds as well as very large nuggets of native gold and silver. Mexico made its most extensive contributions to this departmental structure. Brazil, the Argentine Republic, Russia, Spain, Greece, Italy, Japan, Belgium, Austria, Ecuador, and other foreign nations were likewise well represented.
The most prominent exhibits were grouped in the eastern section of the ground floor. They proved the unexcelled mineral wealth of the United States, particularly in iron, the annual production exceeding 10,000,000 tons.
Pennsylvania took the leading place being pre-eminent in her iron and steel industries. Her supremacy in the production of "black diamonds" was manifested by a rich display; one trophy from her immense coal-mines was a shaft of coal sixty-two feet high, and ten feet square. Colorado's fine exhibit of precious metals had, as an appropriate frame, a beautiful pavilion erected entirely from her local products. The abundance of gold in this important mining state is evinced by the fact that twenty-one of her thirty-three counties are producing that most desirable and malleable of all metals.
California—nicknamed the "Golden State"—showed among her vast resources gold, silver, platinum, quicksilver, copper, lead, zinc, iron, tin, graphite, crystal, alabaster, corundum, chrysolites, tourmalines, garnets, diamonds, and other gems. Montana had most largely contributed to this departmental structure, and inclosed her display of precious metals in a temple adorned by the famous statue of Justice. Cast from pure silver valuing $315,000, and modeled after the celebrated actress—Mademoiselle Rehan—it was set upon a pedestal of gold, forming altogether a work of art of rare magnificence.
Michigan illustrated attractively her great copper industry; the deposits of this metal among the primary rocks of her northern section being the richest in the world.
Of special interest were the mining products of New Jersey. This state furnished minerals not found anywhere else; for instance the franklinite—a compound of iron, zinc, and manganese—named from Dr. Franklin.
Missouri, the first state in the Union to place exhibits in the Mines Building, environed the same with a beautiful pavilion built from local products.
The curiosities included in the various State and Territorial displays, were too numerous to give an account of them all.
Special features were—a miniature coal-mine shown by Iowa; a section of the world-renowned Mammoth Cave in Kentucky; a statue of rock salt representing Lot's wife, a contribution from Louisiana; a tunnel containing a double tramway for the carrying of ore displayed by Pennsylvania; a model of the largest lead-reducing works in the world from Missouri; and a miner's cabin built of mineral specimens from the different counties in the territory of New Mexico.
All the mining exhibits—in their selectness and profusion—gave evidence of the inexhaustible wealth yet stored up for man's future uses notwithstanding the geological fact, that the earth's crust has no great profundity compared with its diameter.
The "Golden Door" an immense archway enriched to an extraordinary degree with carvings, paintings, and overlaid with gold leaf, ushered us into the TRANSPORTATION BUILDING. It was dedicated to present the origin, growth, and development of the various methods of abridging distance used in all parts of the inhabited globe—from remote antiquity up to the present day.
We were charmed with a striking vista of richly ornamented colonnades which added considerably to the impressive effect of the exhibits. The latter comprised three general divisions: the railway—marine—and ordinary road vehicle transportation.
To the first mentioned—as most important—a space of over eight acres had been devoted. About one-eighth of this area was covered with the "Railways of the World," an exhibit of the Baltimore and Ohio Railway Co., showing the development of locomotives and cars from the earliest days to the modern time. One of the unique features in the American Railroad Section was the operation of air brakes on a train of a hundred cars, the longest ever witnessed in a single series.
In the center aisle of the annex, we inspected the chief display of the Pullman Company, a complete train sumptuously equipped. It embraced specially built Pullman Cars of the most luxurious character. The representation of the New York & Chicago Limited Express was, without doubt, the finest railway train ever constructed.
We received a very adequate idea of the wonderful achievements—evincing the genius of the age in which we live—in railway conveyance, by the out-of-door exhibit of the N.Y. Central & Hudson R.R. Co., at the southern extremity of the annex. Here, the contrast between past and present was most sharply drawn: The first train, ever used for traffic in this country, and running between Schenectady and Albany, N.Y.—the opening of this road was celebrated on the 24th of September, 1831—with its simple De Witt Clinton engine, was beside a locomotive of gigantic proportions, the fastest in the world. This stupendous piece of machinery constituted a portion of the Vanderbilt enterprise.
In the German Section, two locomotives and seven kinds of Eisenbahnwagen, enabled us to decide upon the relative advantages of this foreign system and the American method of railway transportation. Great Britain contributed a complete train and locomotive, also a model of one of the original Stephenson locomotives—the "Rocket." The Railway Division of France comprised exceedingly interesting French locomotives, a car, and many models. In the Canadian exhibit, a complete transcontinental train compelled admiration. Its cars built of solid mahogany, and lighted by electricity, were constructed and equipped by the Canadian Pacific Railroad Company. Other foreign nations made their contributions to the railway division by models or illustrations of different kinds; prominently Austria, Belgium, Mexico, New South Wales, Sweden, and Norway.
The means of water transportation were so diversified that their multiplicity can distinctly be conceived by those only who have viewed them in persona.
There were represented: the birch-bark canoe from Alaska—a Norwegian steamship in miniature—the bimba or log canoe from Africa—the Bohemian propeller—corials from British Guiana—the Japanese pleasure-boat "Hoomaru"—the padda boats from Ceylon—the caique from Turkey; furthermore, models of Spanish war-vessels—Malay boats—Swedish ice-yachts—folding boats from Canada—Chinese war-ships—barges from Burmah—French torpedo boats—characteristic coast-vessels from India— Venetian gondolas—Dutch coast sailing boats—the caravels, Santa Maria, Nina and Pinta, exhibited by Genoa—Siamese boats—life-boats—naptha launches—and a great number of small craft shown by the United States.
Of historic interest was the old bateau employed by early French traders from Quebec, and a model of a boat showing the style used on the Sea of Galilee in the time of Christ.
The artistic reproductions in miniature of various American, British, and German ocean steamers played an attractive part in this division. Among the models of war vessels was the representation of the ill-fated English cruiser "Victoria," considered to be the finest marine model ever constructed.
A section from the center of a modern Transatlantic liner reached to the top line of the gallery; exhibiting a complete interior of an American steamer.
The development of wheeled vehicles from the first inceptive idea of the wheel to the present appreciable methods of its use was comprehensively illustrated. The exhibits were so arranged that the different stages of improvement could be readily noticed.
The methods employed for conveyance on common roads were shown by hand-barrows—carts—trucks—drays—farm wagons—sprinkling carts—freight wagons—breaks, barges, wagonettes for pleasure parties—omnibuses—cabs— hansoms—pleasure carriages, coaches for four or six horses, Victorias, broughams, dog-carts, buggies, phaetons, etc.; besides sleighs—snow shoes—steam and electric carriages—ambulances for the sick and injured—hearses; furthermore, bicycles and tricycles—rolling chairs for invalids—baby carriages; in short, vehicles of every possible description.
Almost all the nations on the globe had made their contributions to the department of vehicle transportation. This rare collection embraced the palanquin of Africa—the mandarin chair of China—the bullock cart of Ceylon—the sedan chair of Colombia (South America)—the Sicilian cart of Palermo—the heavy lumbering cart of India—the queer traveling kroba of Turkey—the volante of Spain—the tarantass of Russia—the hackney coach of France—and the dog-cart of England.
Among the relics of special interest to Americans because of their association with historical personages, we beheld the well preserved carriages of Daniel Webster and James Knox Polk.
A conspicuous feature in the central court was a model of the largest steam hammer in the world, utilized in the manufacture of armor plate for vessels.
On entering the PALACE OF HORTICULTURE north of the Transportation Building, our organs of sight and olfactory nerves were equally affected by the dazzling and odoriferous display of exuberant flowers and fruitage. Had it been admissible, we would have been glad to put our organs of tasting in active operation, likewise. For, we longed to try the relish of some of the exquisite pomological exhibits, whose multiformity was too immense to be portrayed in a pen-picture. Fruits of every form and description, sent from all zones, climes, and countries were represented here. Many of the exhibits were maintained at a high standard by being constantly replenished with fresh fruits at great expense, particularly the Californian citrus pyramid, comprising 31,150 oranges.
The richly decorated court planted with ornamental shrubs and flowers, led to the center pavilion which was roofed by a huge crystal dome. This translucent cover transmitted the light and sunshine necessary for the floricultural display beneath. Stately palms, tall tree ferns in great variety, and gorgeous specimens from the flora of almost every section, formed an immense pyramid of shrubbery. The luxuriously growing vines entwined their tendrils around the iron-work of the building, adding greatly to the beauty of the panorama. This superb spectacle recalled to memory Horace Smith's "Hymn to the Flowers." In one of its fifteen stanzas, the poet exclaims:
"Not useless are ye, flowers, though made for pleasure, Blooming over field and wave, by day and night: From every source your sanction bids me treasure Harmless Delight."
We descended a cavern, extending underneath this magnificent flower exhibit. Our scrutinizing eyes met with quite novel features. We observed that the grotto was lined with glistening crystals from the mammoth cave of South Dakota. Emerging again to broad daylight, we bent our steps southward to that portion of the building, where the silver model of the Horticultural Hall and the miniature Capitol of the Country compelled the admiration of the beholder.
The south pavilion encompassed the displays of viticulture. Representations of actual scenes in the vicinity of California vine-yards— wine cellars—cool grottos—and a highly ornamental fountain throwing sprays of wine, constituted the most attractive domestic scenes.
A picturesque panorama of the vine-clad banks of the Rhine with its romantically situated castles—reminiscences of feudal times—formed a portion of the German wine cellar exhibit; also comprising an excellent display of Rhein- und Moselweine.
Of the foreign wine-growing countries, the most attractive contributions were made by Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Chili, New South Wales, and Canada.
We abandoned the building in order to view the floricultural out-of-door exhibits, which covered the large spaces on the lawns adjoining it and the Wooded Island.
Glancing at the beautiful orchids, roses, carnations, sweet peas, dianthus, asters, phlox, gladiolus, zinnias, and many other fragrant flowers, we experienced infinitely more subtle modulations of delight than can be easily described. The features of the horticultural displays were so striking that their memory is immortalized:—
"For this picture in my brain Only fades to come again."
In fact, we had witnessed multifarious sublime spectacles during that day's sojourn in the White City.
Returning to the pier where the "Marguerite" lay moored, we were greatly amazed as we caught sight of Lake Michigan—to find its waters lashed into fury by a northeast gale, of which we had felt nothing while in the pleasantly tempered Horticultural Building.
Since it was impossible to stay where we were, on account of the exposed situation, there was no help for it—but to put out for our usual anchorage, inside the breakwater at Chicago. For my own part, I decided to remain on deck. Perhaps, had I realized more fully what we had to encounter, I should have sought my stateroom, with the rest. But I can truly say: for three-quarters of an hour, my whole energies were employed to keep my place.
During our entire journey from Schenectady, N.Y., to the White City, we had not experienced anything like it. Everything of a movable character had to be secured; and it was an intense relief to all, when after an extraordinary upheaval—the last effort of the uncontrolled waves upon our stanch craft—she passed into the peaceful waters behind the breakwater; completely sheltered from the raging elements, which broke with ceaseless roar upon the concrete mass.
The following morning as the rest of the party decided to remain in Chicago for the purpose of viewing the renowned play "America" in the Auditorium, I visited Jackson Park alone, spending many hours in the Liberal Arts Building, which inclosed (besides multitudinous magnificent displays illustrating the department of Liberal Arts) the object of my special interest, viz. the educational exhibits. They comprised not only contributions from every State in the Union but also from Germany, Great Britain, France, Mexico, Canada, Russia, New South Wales, Spain, Belgium, and Japan.
The general character of them was represented by models and appliances for teaching, text-books, diagrams, examples, specimens of the school work on the various scientific subjects, and illustrations of the methods employed in instruction by the teachers of the different States and Nations.
By means of the ingenious arrangement of these displays, manifesting the great achievements made in the development of pedagogy, I augmented my professional learning during the hours of that day to such an extent as would otherwise require months of careful study. The means of obtaining these results of so great interest and profit to me as a teacher, were much facilitated by my knowledge of several of the languages spoken by the nations represented there. For, I readily understood the reports, statistics, and text-books sent from the educational institutions of the leading countries. Furthermore, the commissioners of the respective sections, whom I addressed in their native tongue, complaisantly gave me all the additional information I desired.