After San Francisco's devastating earthquake of 1906—and the fires which followed, which were worse—the city was in need of a jump-start. The "San Francisco Panama-Pacific International Exhibition" of 1915 was the kind of celebration and promotion that brought the world to The City by the Bay. In truth, this world's fair was intended to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal the previous year. However, civic and business leaders also knew that such an event could be a wonderful showcase for San Francisco, encouraging industry and tourism for the city.
A square mile of land—inconceivable today—was used to build-out the fair. A telephone line was run from New York City which allowed New Yorkers to hear the Pacific live. The Liberty Bell was brought-in from Philadelphia. And the Smithsonian mounted an exhibition for fairgoers.
Organizers made an attempt—perhaps now viewed as inept—to shine a spotlight at the world's fair on the cultures and accomplishments of Native Americans and American women. James Earle Fraser unveiled his famous sculpture The End of the Trail at this fair. And panels and exhibitions promoted the "New American Woman"—modern, progressive and, of course, beautiful.
Artists and manufacturers displayed their best works, including the Mantle Lamp Company of Chicago. They brought their "Aladdin" table lamp, an oil-burning light fixture which won the Gold Medal—making it "the best in the world." An example of this lamp, shown above, has been electrified. It includes a handsome milk glass shade. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248