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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/132

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

fortunate few who Lave been able to devote months to its examination as a whole. And yet something will be lost when the days of universal exhibitions are past. There is a cross-fertilization of ingenuity illustrated only when displays of the utmost diversity are brought together. In Machinery Hall is the familiar festoon of perforated cards guiding the Jacquard loom; in the Federal Building is a new indexer for libraries identical in principle; in the Transportation Building is an extensive array of the maps whose marginal letters and figures indicate the particular square in a chess-board where a sought town or village may be found; in Machinery Hall the compositor is superseded by a machine which adopts the same principle in casting type from a manuscript reduced to perforated symbols.

In so far as there may be a science and an art in disposing a universal exhibition the Fair at Chicago evinces a distinct advance. Mr. G. Brown Goode, of the National Museum at Washington, defines an efficient educational museum as a collection of instructive labels, each illustrated by a well-selected specimen. Add to this the intelligent custodian to answer inquiry or to show a machine or an apparatus at work, and from museums are born an exhibition interesting and informing. Something else, however, is necessary—an exhibition must mainly, but should never wholly, depend upon the good will, the enterprise, or the generosity of individual exhibitors. Wherever needful, it should be made comprehensive by the board of management buying or hiring what they can not borrow. Because of the strike at Homestead last year there is at Chicago no adequate display of the iron and steel industry which has in America made so remarkable progress within recent years. In the Electricity Building there is no display of Edison's kinetograph, an instrument which nearly two years ago had been brought to the point of reproducing by instantaneous photography with remarkable fidelity the visual impressions of motion.

With abundant means, with trained skill and comprehensive purpose, much the best group of exhibits at Chicago is presented by the national departments, in the Federal Building. Within its appointed limits the displays in the Anthropological Building are as admirable in arrangement as those of the Federal Government; here the debt is mainly due to the devoted labors of the officer in charge, Prof. F. W. Putnam, of Harvard University. In the Agricultural Building the State experiment stations, which owe their origin to Prof. W. O. Atwater, in their systematic array of appliances and results show how much the farmer is profited by his new partnership with the man of research. Agriculture, it would seem, in certainty of results, is fast taking on the conditions of manufacture. Many of the industrial exhibits in excellence of arrangement vie with those formally scientific; as a type of these displays that of the Standard Oil Company deserves particular mention. In the same building, that of mining industry, the western gallery bears a small but capital exhibit of aluminium, from its ore, bauxite, through the processes of the electrical furnace until pure metal is derived: all the principal uses of the metal are illustrated; these are accompanied by specimens of its most valuable alloys. This exhibit is in striking contrast to others within the same walls—displays some of them as ill assorted as the contents of an auction room.

In designing several of the State buildings at the Fair they were contrived to pay a double debt: they illustrate noteworthy styles of architecture, or reproduce famous structures, as well as serve as show places and club houses. In much the same way it would have been easy for, let us say, the Shoe and Leather Building to have exemplified the slow-burning construction for factories which in the Eastern States has so much reduced the fire tax.