Opposite the Palace of Education and across the Grand Basin sat the Palace of Electricity. Designed by Walker and Kimball of Boston and Omaha, the 525 x 750 foot structure cost 412,948 dollars to build. Surrounded by the lagoon, The Palace was reached by six bridges that connected it with the main avenues. The broken line of eaves produced a lightning effect when the building was illuminated by electricity. Atop of the 9.1 acre structure, six pyramidic towers topped by a four foot star... were adorned by copies of the sculpture of `Light Overcomes darkness and below them sculptures with a lightning and aurora theme all created by Bela Pratt.
Most of the Palace of Electricity was composed of machines that generated or used electricity. Run on tracks from a western bay, a massive powerful traveling crane was used to install and move machinery to and fro.
Machinery including motor-generators, transformers, rotary converters, rheostats and
regulators of every type demonstrated their various functions. Outside the Palace,
there was a 1400 foot long street railway double testing
track, which displayed and tested speed, acceleration and braking.
The Edison Incandescent Globe Museum, presented by one of the most popular and
recognizable men in the United States- Thomas Alva Edison, showcased every type
of lamp devised by the great inventor, including his first incandescent lamp from 1878.
Quite popular to fairgoers was Edison's Kinetoscope. Created byWilliam Kennedy
Laurie Dickson of Edison labs, this was an early motion picture exhibition device.
The Edison exhibit also included the first electronic train (patented by he inventor
in 1880), and a 500 pound steel-nickel storage battery for automobiles. Edison visited
the Fair often to be sure that the exhibit was properly presented.
One of the most popular and amazing exhibits to the fairgoers at this period in time were
the wireless telegraph and telephone exhibits. Invented by Guglielmo Marconi in 1895,
the fair housed the largest wireless telegraph station ever constructed (located east of
the Model City). Visitors could send messages by the wireless system between different
stations in the fairgrounds, and to other cities having the same stations.The Radiophone
exhibit, showcased the transmission of sound over a beam of light. There was also
practical demonstrations of electro-therapeutics, electro-magnetism, electro-chemistry,
electric lighting, heating and cooking.
Germany showed the development of chemistry in the past 250 years.
The Holophane Glass Company displayed reflectors and prismatic equipment.
Westinghouse showed the first moving pictures showing their factory plant
A machine consisted of 40,000 mirrors to harness the sun's energy
created 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures. The solar furnace,
created by St. Louis inventor- Knute C. Wideen was obviously shown
General Electric, a new mercury arc reflector that transformed
alternating current to direct current.
AT&T displayed a switchboard that could handle up to 9,600 lines. The
company also provided free working telephones throughout the Fair for
visitors to use (a marvel as most households did not have one).
As a joint project, AT&T and general Electric demonstrated a `radiophone.'
The De Forest Company, showcased their wireless telegraph automobiles
in the palace of electricity as well as the Palace of Transportation. They
were successful in sending stock quotations from the New York Stock
Exchange to the brokers' offices nearby.
In the palace, lamps of every kind, and incandescent lights of every size
and color were shown. Nernst and Cooper-Hewitt vapor arc lamps
were featured in the Palace of Electricity. These lamps emit an intense white light. Every building and many of the fountains, and fountains were dramatically lit with light globes. Fairgoers, the majority still using oil, gas or candles in their households, were awe-stuck at the spectacular evening illumination of this still-new marvel- electricity.