Top 10 Inventions from World Fairs and Harris Tweed bags in Dubai

Dubai Ferris Wheel

Having recently returned from a trip to Dubai on a trade mission where we were presenting our Harris Tweed bags and accessories to various Distributors and retail outlets, it was hard to miss the hype that the Expo 2020 is bringing to the state.

The UAE is bidding to host the World Expo 2020 in Dubai under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. Every five years and for a period of six months, World Expos attract millions of visitors.

If the UAE is successful it is projected that the expo will bring in excess of an additional 20 million tourists to the region over the 6 months, considering a mere 10 million visited the state last year.

As we see the UAE and Dubai as a great place to distribute our Harris Tweed bags and accessories, it certainly looks like the right time to be entering the market.

From London in 1851 to Shanghai in 2010, heritage and legacy have underpinned the World Expo concept, and the tradition for invention, innovation and the creation of enduring technological, architectural and cultural footprints continues today.

This made us think, what are the top 10 best and most interesting inventions to come out of world’s fairs (according to us). Much like the x factor the results below are in no particular order, we do note however there are no Harris Tweed bags yet…..

1. The telephone, 1876.

Bell had just patented the device and in 1876 at the first ever American world expo he launched the telephone. It took a man with a beard and a couple of horns to change the world, impressive.

2. Speech Synthesis, 1939.

AT&T displayed the world’s first artificial speech synthesizer, the Voder, in their pavilion. Operated by a combination of keys and foot pedals, this device was ‘played’ by a skilled operator.

3. Touchscreens, 1982

Companies had been researching infrared touchpanels since the 1940s, but the technology was finally presented to the public at the 1982 World’s fair in Knoxville, Tennessee.

4. Icecream Cones, 1904

Ice Cream cones were invented at the fair and gained marketability with the name “World’s Fair Conrnucopias.” The ice cream salesman used waffles from the waffle salesman as cones because they ran out of bowls to carry the ice cream. Hence, the name “Ice Cream Cones”

5.  Application of electricity 1892

The application of electricity was shown off to visitors and, years later, this knowledge was put to use for the debut of the recorder, video camera and television at the 1939 World Fair in New York.

6. Wrigleys Spearment Gum, 1893

The gum was actually created when Mr Wrigley decided to use gum as an extra little gift for people to buy their baking powder. That one’s for you Fergy.

 7. The Eiffel Tower, 1889.

Personally my favourite, the Eiffel Tower was built as the entrance arch to the world fair in Paris. Interestingly, a conman named Lustig ‘sold’ the Eiffel Tower to a scrap metal dealer in Paris in 1925. Needless to say the guy never got his tower.

 8. Singer Sewing Machine, 1901.

Where would we be without the sewing machine, the Singer sewing machine was launched in 1901 at the Pan-American expo in Buffalo.

 9. Videoconferencing, 1964.

More commonly known as facetime, videoconferencing was launched in New York. Once again it was AT&T  who installed videophone terminals in Grand Central Station.

 10.  The Ferris Wheel, 1893.

George Ferris decided to get one up on the Eiffel Tower at the following fair in Chicago and designed the Ferris Tower. Relating nicely back to Dubai, it is said that a Ferris Wheel is planned for Dubai which will be 1.5 times the size of the London Eye and is to be built on yet another fake island.