Expositions (1838-1875)


The report of the First Annual Fair of the Ohio Mechanics Institute includes reports of items exhibited with notes on their merit.

Items exhibited in 1838 included drawings, painting and statuary, maps of Hamilton County (Ohio), marbled paper, book binding, books and paper, printing inks and bank-note engraving in addition to stoves, mathematical instruments, edge tools and plains, castings and pipe, bank doors, lathes and implements of husbandry.


The first Cincinnati Industrial Exposition was held in 1870.   Through 1875 the events were held in Saengerfest Hall, built by the North American Saengerbund on Elm Street, between Washington Park and the Miami & Erie Canal -- now Central Parkway -- the present location of Music Hall.

The earliest exposition poster in the OMI Collection is that for 1871.   It includes an illustration of Saengerfest Hall.

Medals from the Cincinnati Industrial Exposition (1871)

Medals from the Cincinnati Industrial Exposition (1871)

The report for this exposition includes a diagram of the exhibition spaces and an image of one of the medals awarded for excellence among the exhibitors.


The 1872 poster shows additions to Saengerfest Hall, made to accomodate the growing expositions. The Exposition Poster portrays the Saengerfest hall expanded to five buildings, covering seven acres on both sides of a footbridge over the Miami Canal. This lithographic image was completed by Ehrgott & Krebs Steam Lith. Printers, Cincinnati.

1873 & 1874

The expositions of 1873 and 1874 continued the pattern of growth with acreage of exhibit space -- especially for machinery -- increasing dramatically.   A new attraction was a music pavillion within the main exposition hall.

Alfred T. Goshorn, director of the first three expositions, was tapped to serve again in 1873, but instead was summoned to Philadelphia to serve as Director-General of the United States Centennial Exposition.


Besides exhibiting wonderful detail in the image of the exterior, the poster for the sixth exposition in 1875 includes vignette images of the major halls, offering a panorama of the wonders on display.   The Art Hall display is particularly extensive.

In May 1875, Reuben Springer announced that he would contribute $125,000 toward the construction of a new music hall, if the citizens of Cincinnati would raise a matching amount.

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