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Held in Philadelphia from May 10 through October 10, the Centennial Exhibition celebrated the th anniversary of American independence. Philadelphia hosted 37 nations in five main buildings and additional structures on acres of land. The celebration looked backward to commemorate the progress made over the year period, and it announced to the world that American invention and innovation was on a par with that of our foreign counterparts.

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Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. See Article History. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. Adhesives, welding and other joining processes were unheard of. Industries that form the backbone of today's economy, such as aerospace, automotive and electronics, were unimaginable in All assembly work was done entirely by hand with manual tools.

Building Babel: The 1876 International Exhibition at the Philadelphia Centennial

The most sophisticated automated manufacturing equipment at the time was used for applications in the textile industry, such as braiding machines. The 1,horsepower Corliss steam engine powered all the exhibits in the Machinery Hall through 5 miles of overhead line belts, shafts and pulleys. Hartford, CT. Other companies, such as William H. The latter company boasted that new machines allowed it to produce , bolts and screws per day, compared to only 8, by using traditional methods.

Between the saving in cost price and in cost of time in using, the introduction of machine-made bolts and nuts has done much toward cheapening the construction of heavy iron work, and has so reduced the time necessary for their erection as to build iron products than wooden ones. He ensured that the world's fair would include state-of-the-art equipment for manufacturers.

Providence, RI. The device allowed manufacturers to first harden articles and then grind them with precise accuracy.

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An early application for the machine was to grind needle bars for sewing machines. According to the patent application, the universal grinder was "a machine on which straight, tapering, curved and irregular work, either inside or outside, can be ground with great accuracy.

Pa.) Centennial exhibition (1876 : Philadelphia

Brown, died suddenly in , so his innovative machine was patented posthumously in Air-powered tools were another new technology on display in Philadelphia. James Clayton's Pump Works Brooklyn, NY showcased a line of air compressors and pumps that featured dual horizontal air and steam cylinders. Annandale, NJ. In , company founder Simon Ingersoll displayed a steam-powered rock drill that he had patented a few years earlier.

What happened to the buildings from the Centennial in Fairmount Park?

Another product that made its public debut at the Centennial Exposition is still making headlines today, albeit for a different reason. Contemporary reports marveled at a revolutionary new material called "asbestos.

Asbestos was touted for its unique fire-proof qualities. After widespread use in building materials, floor tiles, brakes, boilers, pipes, tubes and industrial equipment, asbestos is now the center of controversy and the subject of multimillion dollar lawsuits stemming from asbestosis disease.

The highlight of the Machinery Hall was a huge, 1,horsepower steam engine that powered all the exhibits in the building through 5 miles of overhead line belts, shafts and pulleys. It was built by the George H. Corliss Co. The foot tall machine weighed more than tons and was the largest steam engine ever built.

It had two inch diameter cylinders, with a foot stroke, connected with two large walking beams to a spur gear between the cylinders. The gear was the heaviest cut wheel ever made.