History of Innovation

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1851: Crystal Palace – London, England

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Images: [2],[3]

Building:  Crystal Palace
Location: London, England
Construction: 1851
Architect: Joseph Paxton
Engineer: Charles Fox

The Crystal Palace was a huge glass and iron structure in London built to house the Great Exhibition of 1851.  This was the first World’s Fair and was used to showcase products from countries all around the world.  Joseph Paxton, the architect of the building, had worked as the head gardener at Chatsworth House and experimented with cast plate glass and iron supports in the construction of greenhouses. Knowing the strength, durability, simplicity, and speed of construction associated with the combination of these two materials, he planned to use them in the building for the Great Exhibition.  The Crystal Palace was the largest building ever built using cast iron and glass at the time. It was comprised of 3300 iron columns, 2150 iron girders, 250 miles of sash bar and 293,635 panes of glass. Even more impressive was how long the entire process took. One week of detailed drawing and only six months for construction and the Crystal Palace was completed.  The building was the first thorough example of prefabricated architecture. The Crystal Palace pioneered glass and iron architecture and eventually paved the way for steel-frame buildings in the 20th century.  `

Articles: [1],[2]


Written by Michael Hammontree

October 7, 1851 at 11:29 pm

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