Sunday 31 August 2014

The Future at the Fair

Since 1879, a series of innovations have debuted at the Canadian National Exhibition, first called the Canadian Industrial Exhibition.  In 1883, an electric railway invention was on display at the fair.  In 1888, Thomas Edison's phonograph was demonstrated.  In 1890, the first wireless telephone was exhibited.  An early radio appeared in 1922.  The medium of television first appeared in 1939, displayed first at the New York World's Fair followed by the CNE.

Electronic television set with New York World's Fair on the screen circa 1939 courtesy

The first arcade game, called Bertie the Brain and measuring 4 metres high, was first played at the fair in 1950.  Plastics and synthetics debuted in the 1940's and 1950's.  In 1992, virtual reality was first demonstrated at the Ex.

Many of the new inventions were put on display in a magnificent building called the Electrical Engineering Building which was erected in 1928.  The structure had eight "Statues of Industry" perched on its roof. Everything from radios and refrigerators to cars and clocks to stoves and stereos could be found within its walls.  Sadly, the Electrical Engineering Building was torn down in 1972.  At least one of the statues, however, was preserved in the National Trade Centre's Heritage Court.

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