First Plovdiv Sample Fair and the ‘Wonders’ of the Modern World
Following the nineteenth-century “fashion” of world and national fairs, in 1892 Bulgaria hosted its first National sample fair. Its aims were to introduce the home industry to the world and at the same time to show its citizens the international technical and industrial progress. The latter was presented in both the new built fairground and the displayed samples and showpieces. The main expositions’ halls were masterworks of some popular and gifted architects. They were situated in a nice green park with many gardens, lakes, fountains. The fairground was electrified and water-supplied. It represented on a small scale the “last trend” in fairs’ architecture and planning. For Bulgarian visitors this was the first “wonder” they could see entering the fair. Many other surprises waited “hidden” in the expositions’ halls –Tomas Edison’s phonograph, Thomas Holden’s puppet theater, small freight train and steel cannons of German company “Krupp”, sewing-machines of American company “Singer”, many engines and different types of agricultural and industrial machines. The electrical lamps, which shined as a small suns in the night, and the giant balloon of Eugene Godard were also ‘wonders’ of the modern world, which amazed the visitors. Most of these technical inventions and devices were completely new for the Bulgarian audience and had a great impact on it.