30/11/2022

1906, Milan IT – Milan International

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1906 Milan

Name:Milan International
Dates:28 Apr – 11 Nov 1906
Days:198 days
Venue:Sempione Park and Piazza d’Armi
100 ha (247 acres)
Theme:Transport
Exhibitors:27,000 from 49 countries and 2 colonies
Awards:
Visitors:Sources range from 4,012,776 to10,000,000 – tickets 1 lira
Legacy:13m lira costs ($2.5m) with 2m lira losses

Milan has always presented itself as the northern industrial capital of Italy. This event’s full name was L’Esposizione Internazionale del Sempione, but it was also referred to as the ‘Great Expo at Work’ and also the ‘Nautical and Overland Transportation’ event.

1906 Milan site plan

Most significantly the event marked the opening of the 19km (12m) Simplon railway tunnel through the Alps from Milan into Switzerland, it was formally opened on 10 May 1906 by the Italian king, Victor Emmanuel II, and the Swiss president.

This event used Milan’s first fair ground, Sempione Park. The Parco Real housed the fine art displays (which included clothing, furniture, silks…) while the Piazza d’Armi hosted the industrial and engineering exhibits, and the foreign pavilions. An elevated railway linked these locations. The Piazza d’Armi site pavilions were linked by a petroleum-powered tramway, created by Fiat.

1906 Milan

In all some 120 purpose-built buildings were used for the event, including a Motor Car building, claimed as the first worldwide. On 3 Aug 1906 a fire destroyed the Decorative Arts and Architecture pavilion losing all its exhibits, however, a rebuilt pavilion was operating within a month.

1906 Milan buildings

There were over 27,000 exhibitors representing 49 countries and two colonies. Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Persia, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Salvador, Serbia (Montenegro), Siam, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Peru, Turkey, Uruguay, United States and Venezuela. Colonies were India (GB) and Tunisia (Fr).

Event attractions included Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, the Streets of Cairo feature, automobile parades, tethered balloon rides, Pope Pius IX’s railway carriage, embrodery featured heavily on all manner of products…

1905 Milan silver medal

The event had two main legacies. The International Commission on Occupational Health was founded at the event and the Milan Aquarium was built for the show. Both are extant, the aquarium now part of th Museum of Natural History, Milan.

Aquarium Brunetti

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