Paris World's Fair 1867

Exposition Universelle.

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Quick List Info

Paris World's Fair 1867

Dates Open - April 1 to November 3, 1867, 217 days, open Sundays.

Attendance - 8,706,037 total admission. There are a variety of reports on the attendance at the Paris fair in 1867, ranging from 6.8 million to 15 million. The figure above represents the figure quoted in the Official Report as Total Admissions, which may or may not have included staff or free admissions.

International Participants - 45 Nations and 33 Colonies.

Total Cost - 22,993,818 francs ($4,596,800).

Site Acreage - 171 acres.

Sanction and Type - Prior to the Bureau of International Exhibitions. Paris 1867 would be considered a medium scale registered event today, similar to the events now held on the 05 cycle of a decade.

Ticket Cost - Adult admission 40 cents, Per Capita admission 20.9 cents. Reports indicate that there were 400,000 free admissions.

Photo top center: Lithograph of the Paris 1867 exposition, 1867, Eugene Ciceri. Courtesy Library of Congress. Column Top: Exhibits inside the buildings at the Paris World's Fair, 1867. Courtesy Library of Congress.

London 1851 Machinery Department

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History of the Event

Paris 1867 Universelle Exposition

It was the second in the series of Exposition Universelles held in Paris on one hundred and seventy-one acres around the Champ de Mars. French manufactures, responding to the London fair of 1862, formed a holding company to raise funds for the fair, raising two million francs within two years. With the funds from the federal government and City, with Napolean III's blessing, it was decreed on June 22, 1863 and had a solid financial footing. National pavilions were included for the first time, and there were a variety of attractions, including a floating exhibit, lots of gardens and waterways, plus an American one room schoolhouse, a replica of the Palace of the King of Tunisia, and an English lighthouse. There were 52,200 exhibitors, of which 15,969 were French.

The fair had a number of unique exhibits, introducing aluminum, natural gas heat, ice cream soda, the department store, and a fifty ton steel cannon to the world stage. Exhibits were spread around that one large exhibit building, twenty national pavilions, ten commercial exhibitor buildings, and did have agricultural and livestock displays. In the national pavilions, domestic life of the various nationalities were shown by families that had been brought to the fair from around the globe. The amusement zone was also regarded by many as the first. It was located outside the main fair and featured double decker captive balloon rides, excursion boats on the Seine, theatres, and national restaurants. Therefore, it was the first exposition to realize that entertainment was important as well as exhibits.

On the first of June, Napoleon III held the last of his coronation ceremonies. Monarchies represented included the Czar of Russia, Prince of Wales, Kings of Prussia, Denmark, Sweden, and Portugal, the Sultan of Turkey, and the Khedive of Egypt.

Above photo. Image of Napolean III receiving guests at the Universlle Exposition, 1867. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons. Below: View of the exposition grounds. Courtesy Library of Congress.

View of Paris World's Fair 1867
Overall the total number of buildings around the Champ de Mars numbered around one hundred and one, including an aquarium. The main building was one thousand five hundred and fifty feet long and one thousand two hundred and fifty feet wide. The exposition cost double that of the Parisian fair of 1855.

The New York Times had a variety of opinions about the second fair, not all of them positive. They thought the main building was ordinary, looking like a big gasometer. They groused about the lack of chairs and the photograhic season passes, but they hailed the opening, at which Napolean III did not speak, as auspicious and that the grounds themselves were nice.

The second Paris fair was a success, although some, more than the New York Times, had more criticisms, stating that there's was a lack of seriousness reflected in its carnival style. It exceeded its increased cost, with receipts of 27,114,660 francs, giving a profit of 4,160,840 francs. The fair had intended to be hopeful, projecting society as a machine capable of assisting the poor, harnessing the world, and resolving conflicts. If that worked, at least for the moment in 1867, it did not last. The exhibition was actually one of the last moments of glory for the Second Empire of France with the Franco-Prussian War only three years ahead.

Perspective of Historians

Historian Margit Mogenson - "All these exhibitions were projects of the official France and as such born to provide "national pride" - for the emperor (1855 and 1867) and for the republic (1878). However it is more difficult to say to which extent the citizens and the public agreed or matched the official policy, especially early in the period (1855)."

Second Paris Expo

Japanese Delegation, Paris 1867

International Participants
Nations and Colonies

Germany (not yet country till 1870) - Grand Duchy of Baden, Bavaria, Grand Duche of Hesse, Prussia, Wurtemburg. Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Spain, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Pontifical States, Portugal, Romanian principalities, United Kingdom (Great Britain and Ireland), Russia, Sweden and Norway, Switzerland, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chili, Costa Rica, Equador, Haiti, Nicaragua, New Granada (Columbia), Paraguay, Peru, Salvador, Uruguay, Venezuela, United States, China (unofficial), Japan, Liou-Kiou Empire Ottoman (Turkey), Persia, Siam, Cambodia (PR), Annam (PR), Hawaii, Hungary, Mexico.

French Colonies - Cochin China, Tahiti, iles Marquises, New Caledonia, Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guyana, St. Pierre et Miquelon, Senegal, Cote d'Or et Gabon, Madagascar et Mayotte, Reunion, French India, Algeria. British Colonies - Barbadoes, Canada, Cape of Good Hope, Malta, Natal, Newfoundland, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, Nova Scotia, New South Wales, Indian Department, British Guiana, Guiana.

There may be some differences in the overall list here than were actually exhibiting at the exhibition. Some listed as having Imperial Commissions may not have technically exhibited.

Expo Tidbits
Receipts of theatres, concerts, etc. in Paris during the 1867 exhibition period were 16,533,365 francs, much greater than the corresponding period in 1866 when they were 9,640,216 francs.

159,950 persons crossed between Dover & Calais during the seven months of the exhibition.

184,405 was the largest attendance day, 1,602 was the smallest.

Cost of trip to Paris from London and back, including one week's living in Paris, 3 pounds, or $15.

'L'Histoire du Travail' was the first international thematic exhibit ever attempted. It covered the the history of work.


National pavilions, an amusement park, order and classification of exhibits would be copied at proceeding world's fairs.

Paris Horticultural Department 1867

Those in Charge

Sponsors of the fair were the French government and the City of Paris. There was an Imperial Commission and Frederic LePlay was Commissioner General. Prince Napolean was the overall controller.

Sources: Louisville Courier, London Times; New York Times; Ephemeral Vistas; Historical Dictionary of World's Fairs by Alfred Heller; History of Fairs and Expositions; Worlds Fairs from 1851-1893; Reports of the United States Commissioners to the Paris Exhibition of 1867; Bureau of International Exhibitions; Official Report; Histoire General de l'Exposition Universel de 1867; Les Fastes due Progress; Fairs! Fairs! Fairs! The U.S. Information Agency and U.S. Participation at World Fairs Since WWII by Martin J. Manning; History of Centennials, Expositions, and World Fairs.

Photo column top: Japanese delegation to Paris 1867, 1867, Le Monde Illustre. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons. Middle: Grotto in the Horticultural exhibit, 1867. Courtesy Library of Congress.

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