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Faces Of The Foundry

In 1900, the organizers of “l’Exposition universelle internationale de Paris” had to pull out all the stops. It was already a big challenge to surpass their great success in 1889, the anniversary of the French Revolution. In a world defined by the competing grasp of colonial empires, they still saw themselves competing with Britain’s world’s fairs. And now, at a number of fairs over the past ten years, the United States had shown its emerging trade, industrial and cultural might.
A kaleidoscope of buildings and marvels greeted visitors to Paris that spring. William Fleury, Herbert’s 35-year old brother and partner, was one of the entranced visitors. Whetted by cricket team excursions overseas, Billie, as he was called, had already developed a taste for world travel.
J. Fleury’s Sons had sold implements in France since the 1870s and, despite the distance and cost involved, a display in Paris was an opportunity to bolster the international reputation of the Foundry in the select company of a few other Canadian manufacturers.
In typical French fashion, the report of the jury’s findings on agricultural implements (“les machines agricoles”) categorized each class and type of machine and its features. Displays were assessed on a scale from 1 to 25. While many countries presented agricultural machinery, the larger displays were organized by Great-Britain, including Canada (40 companies and 223 implements), followed by the United States (26 companies and 111 implements). France outdid all others: 338 companies displayed 2,214 implements. In Paris, a range of prizes
(“récompenses”) were offered, including: a grand prize, gold, silver, bronze, and honourable mention. All prizes took the form of a diploma.
J. Fleury’s Sons presented a relatively small display of plows and grinders and were awarded a silver medal.
A map printed in light pink, purple, blue and yellow of the grounds of the 1900 Paris Exhibition.
Agricultural implements were exhibited in the Parc de Vincennes as well as on the Camps de Mars. Exhibition Plan, 1900, Image Courtesy of Bibliothèque nationale de France.
A black and white photograph of the Eiffel Tower beside a globe-shaped structure, and in front of a river with boats traversing.
The Eiffel tower presided illustriously over l’Exposition universelle.  Clustered around the tower, the planners had constructed an entire city within a city.  Image Courtesy of Bibliothèque nationale de France.
A black and white photograph of an ornate exhibition building across a large river.
A black and white photograph taken from underneath the Eiffel Tower.
A black and white photograph of a covered boat moving down a river, timber framed buildings line the banks.
Pont Alexandre III, Champ de Mars and Vieux Paris. All photographs taken by William Fleury during his visit to l’Exposition universelle.  Image Courtesy of Bibliothèque nationale de France.
a black and white aerial photograph of the ground surrounding the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
The view from the Trocadero overlooking the main site of the Exposition grounds. Image Courtesy of Bibliothèque nationale de France.

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On The Worlds Stage : World’s Columbian Exposition

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Faces Of The Foundry

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