Gems of the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia 1876

by John Werry on June 1, 2009

ellin kitson Gems of the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia 1876

I recently ran across the 1877 publication, “Gems of the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia”, made available in its entirety below, from Google Books.  It is a sort of greatest hits of the 1876 exhibition which was an amazing global congregation of decorative arts from around the globe.

Works from the U.S. start around page 129 and includes plates depicting furniture from Pottier & Stymus, Kimbel & Cabus, Gottlieb Vollmer, Ellin and Kitson (shown above), Allen & Brother and more.

This post will foreshadow another post happening some time later next week and the “Gems” book will play an important part in it.  In the meantime, enjoy the exhibition …

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

zeke June 1, 2009 at 6:19 pm

John, That is super cool and an amazing glimpse into the Victorian world. I found an original copy of this book in Kutztown, PA at Renningers some months back. It’s stained and the covers are loose but it’s all there and binding is intact. For the $10 I paid it was well worth it. I tried to scan some for RV, but the small size of my scanner and the clumsiness of trying to even hold the old book open in the scanner prevented me from doing so. Now here it is in an easy to read format for all to enjoy! Can’t wait to hear how it ties in to your next post.

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RareVictorian June 1, 2009 at 7:33 pm

Zeke, I’d say $10 was definitely worth it. Nice find.

There will be a post or two in between, but sometime late next week I’ll tell you where the tie-in is.

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woodwright June 2, 2009 at 1:04 am

I posted this in the RV Forum about a year ago – but for those that haven’t seen it: There is a great website by the Philadelphia Free Library that shows over 1200 original albumen prints taken of the 1876 Centennial Exhibition (Philadelphia). Some amazing pictures here. Use the tabs in the top left corner to learn info about the Centennial Exhibit. There is also a search feature to search for whatever you are interested in. Here is a link using “Furniture” as a search: http://tinyurl.com/lcs7ua (use “Centennial Exhibit” as a search to bring up almost 1500 pictures). woodwright

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john hopper June 4, 2009 at 8:55 am

Thanks for the post. I have always been fascinated in these national and international exhibitions, especially the decorative arts side. Admittedly, they are often full of pieces that were ‘designed’ especially for the exhibitions and are sometimes very good examples of very bad design, but it’s still interesting to visit these slices of historical decorative celebration – and I love them!

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Darrin VonStein July 6, 2010 at 9:27 pm

The sideboard that you have posted was designed by Thomas Wisedell and made by the New York firm of Ellin & Kitson. Could anyone tell me if this sideboard still exists?

Thank you.

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