5.6 Miscellaneous events 1811-1850

© Bob Denton 2018
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5.6.1  1823, 1844, Stockholm, Industrial Exhibition

See also 1823 Stockholm Industrial Exhibition data sheet

Carl John, king of Sweden and Norway, was previously Jean Baptiste Bernadotte, born into a humble family in France. He served its army and rose to be appointed a Marshall of France by Napoléon. When Bonaparte appointed himself King of Italy he named Bernadotte as Prince of Pontecorvo, a short-lived principality in Italy; after Waterloo this was recovered by the Papal States. Bernadotte had left that principality by 1810 and was elected as the heir-presumptive to King Charles III of Sweden, when he changed his name to Carl John. He became regent of Sweden and later, as its king, founded a Bernadotte dynasty which ruled Norway until 1905 and is today’s Swedish royal family.

Arvsfurstens Palats, Stockholm

The sources for this 1823 exhibition prove quite thin, many sources do confirm that it was held in 1823 and one source suggested it attracted 62 exhibitors but had little other detail. The porcelain manufacturer, Rörstrand, confirms it exhibited at the 1823 event. Sweden had worked on improving its schoolhouses and this became something of a national success story. There had been national competitions from the late 1830s to 1854, the resulting designs were shown at the 1844 exhibition and then examples were displayed at London in 1862 and 1871, Paris in 1867, Vienna in 1873 and Philadelphia in 1876.

There is not much more data on the second Swedish event in 1844 though it is reported that it attracted 210 exhibitors that presented 1,336 products to some 5,000 visitors.

Swedish schoolhouse exhibited at Vienna 1873

5.6.2  1827, 1841, 1845, Madrid, Public Exhibition of Spanish Industry’

Luis Lopez Ballasteros served as Minister of Finance to King Ferdinand VII, creating the Madrid Stock Exchange, he developed a new commercial law code, appointed overseas consuls and promoted the notion of a first exhibition in Spain. He arranged for an 1826 royal decree to declare that a ‘Public Exhibition of Spanish Industry’ should be held annually, but his first event was never repeated.

One feature at the 1845 event was equipment that produced continuous paper with La Aurora of Girona making clear its machinery was like that shown in that year’s Paris exposition. Other Spanish operations demonstrated versions; these companies were based in Albacete, Guadalajara, Madrid, Salamanca and Tereul.

There was some attempt after the success of the British Great Exhibition to run a Great Spanish Exhibition of Industry and Arts in Madrid. It was first mooted in 1852 and the subject of further decrees in 1859, 1872 and 1881, but all came to nothing. However, regional events were held in Barcelona in 1860 and 1871 and in Zaragoza in 1868.

5.6.3  1844, 1849, Lisbon, Industrial Exhibition

These events routinely appear in chronology lists but no data has been uncovered.

Moscatel de Setúbal (named for the peninsula where it is made) was founded in 1834. It produces a wood-aged wine similar to port, that won gold medals at the 1849 event. Today it has a DOC classification. In 1849 the AEP, Associação Empresarial de Portugal – Câmara de Comércio e Indústria (Portuguese Business Association – Chamber of Commerce and Industry) was founded in 1849, but in Porto as the Associação Industrial Portuense (Porto Industrial Association) by José Vitorino Damásio and other businessmen from that region. But this seems to have been more involved in exhibitions in Porto in 1856 and 1865. AEP developed its own Crystal Palace for these international industrial expositions.

5.6.4  1845, Bern, Exposition

This is another event that is listed in all catalogues of early exhibitions, but data has proven elusive.

5.6.5   Russian events

5.6.5.1             1829, 1841, 1849, St Petersburg, Exhibition of Manufactured Products

The influence of France was felt here too. In 1812 in what Russians call the Patriotic War they defeated Bonaparte, and this led to a fervour for celebrating their national strengths. Count Yegor Kankrin, Russia’s Minister of Finance, proposed the first exhibition. The aim was a public display of the country’s industrial products to stimulate industrial development of the industry, its domestic and foreign trade. The Manufacturing Council set the parameters for the show in October 1828.

It was held in May 1829 (no data on number of days), it was held in the ‘Southern Warehouse’ of the Stock Exchange and in a temporary building. It was named the ‘Exhibition of Russian Manufactured Products’. It gathered 326 exhibitors from 33 Russian provinces though the majority came from the St Petersburg and Moscow areas; the exhibitors spanned fifteen industries. Participating in the exhibition bestowed the right to put the state emblem on the exhibitor’s wares, documents and advertising material; this was a major benefit of being an exhibitor.

A special exhibition catalogue was produced. The data that survives appears to suggest that exhibits were rather upmarket. Andrei Schreiber exhibited a clock case known as ‘Diana Hunting’, now on display in the Rundal Palace of Latvia. It portrays the mythological goddess Diana standing in her chariot drawn by four stags. It was awarded a gold medal.

An English banker, James Gardner, established the Gardner Factory in St Petersburg which emulated the Imperial Porcelain Factory designs that were themselves only permitted to supply to the royal court. At the 1829 event Gardner exhibited a large amphora bearing images of the Bolshoi Theatre and won awards.

Tula merchant Vasily Lomov showed samovars, which were rewarded with a silver medal. The catalogue lists deer and reindeer suede for mattresses and blankets. Yet, most of the prizes were awarded to companies offering technologically advanced textiles.

Around 60% of the exhibitors were factory owners operating in the textile, metalworking, machine-building and chemical industries (The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 1979).

The exhibition delighted the Tsar and as a result a pan-Russian Manufactured Products exhibition was proposed for 1833 in Moscow. The city’s Salt Storehouses were rebuilt to accommodate the industrial exhibition of 1870 (Saint Petersburg Encyclopaedia).

5.6.5.2 1833, 1839, 1849, Moscow, Exhibition of Manufactured Products

A French visitor commented on a high-pressure steam engine delivering 120hp, he praised the quality of leathers and skins, admired the gilt work on clocks and candelabra. He felt the furniture on display was ‘handsome’.

The same observer dismissed surgical equipment on show as ordinary and that its chemical dyes lacked ‘brilliancy and permanency’. He also felt that the imperial spinning works was too expensive to be competitive. He was also scathing about a silver vase which he felt ‘sinned against taste in its form’. He concluded the imperial porcelain was inferior to French porcelain ‘of second order’.

From 1839 industrial exhibitions were held every four years alternating between St Petersburg and Moscow. Other cities took their turn, including Warsaw in 1845 and 1865. After this they became less regular, but the 1896 event at Nizhny Novgorod proved to be the largest Russian industrial exhibition.

© Bob Denton 2018
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