Exhibition of 1862--the Eccentricities of genius.
The London Times gives an amusing account of the extraordinary demand made for space in next year's exhibition.
and the colonies alone have demanded more than live times the space of the entire building:
One of the earliest application for space was that of an inventor who, though he does not specify the nature of the articles he intends to exhibit, requires the space in every class of the industrial sections to the amount of 72,000 square feet!
It must be taken, we suppose, as a proof of the versatility of genius, that we always find the professions and trades of those intractable inventors have not the remotest connection with their valuable mechanical, chemical, and warlike discoveries.
Thus a clergyman may send breach-loaders and models of tremendously destructive shells, while the nurseryman and market gardener proffers improvements in surgical instruments
, and the doctor a contrivance for forwarding the ripening of fruits on walls.--One grocer demands space for the exhibition of a new axle applicable to all carriages, a new projectile for ordnance, and a new method of propelling ships.
An M. A. and F. R. G. S. has models of an invulnerable floating-battery, a breach-loading gun, and carriage converting all guns of old pattern into breach-loaders, a refuge buoy, a beacon, a cork poncho mattress, a life, limb and treasure preserver, an unfordable anchor, and some new screw propeller.
An accountant asks space for a model of self-acting water closet, with water metre and apparatus for regulating the flow of water all in one, the model of an improved theodolite, and omnitonic flute, all to be showed together.
A bookseller seems overflowing with invention.
He has a plan of interminable suspension applicable to bridges, aqueducts, &c., of great span or length, and by which means to do away with the costly supports hitherto used; a target-shooting protector, for the safety of those employed to note the score; a new paddle-wheel, by which to secure a greater amount of power than is attainable by any other arrangement; a self-acting railway signal for day and night, and bolts for gates at level crossings, whereby to prevent the gates from being opened while a train is within a quarter of a mile, or any convenient distance; a safety-spring mining-cage, to secure the safe lodging or prevent the falling of the cage in its ascent or descent, when conveying men or goods up or down the mine shaft, should the rope or chain break or become disarranged; a new window-sash fastening and door-bolt, by which to attain perfect security, from the impossibility of unfastening them from the outside.
A barrister wishes to exhibit two architectural designs; a pair of spring-heeled boots and drawing of a man equipped with ditto; diagrams of Coryton's system of fairway lighting off the coasts of Great Britain
; a type-composing machine and hand-stamp; models and drawings Illustrative of Coryton's vertical wave-line system of ship construction; Coryton's self-adjusting sails.
An insurance broker has specimens of wines and other fluids fined by a new and more effective process, and model for the apparatus used; electric telegraph cables and conductors; model of an improved ship, and of parts thereof, specimens of improved pavement in carriage roads; specimens of improvements in iron houses, &c.; specimens of building stone preserved by a new material; model of a machine for dressing stone; specimens of improved junctions of iron pipes to prevent breakage; specimens of a new description of embroidery; ditto of paper hangings; ditto of an improved floor-cloth.
These, likewise, are all to be shown together.
This list might be extended indefinitely.
Another class of applicants appear to wish to exhibit merely to say that they have exhibited.
Thus, a private secretary wishes to show specimens of grape, gooseberry, and rhubarb wines; and another a method of training vines.
One gentleman proposes to exhibit wines, a photographic view of an organ front, designed by himself, and six large views of his fig orchard.
A great many intending exhibitors, either from motives of secrecy or from not comprehending the term, ‘"Nature of the articles to be exhibited,"’ have either omitted descriptions altogether, or, what is worse, defined them very badly.
Thus, one declines to give any specification but the number of the class he wishes to exhibit in. One can only be got to admit that his inventions are Archimedean, whatever they may mean; another, that his ‘"objects are geological;"’ while a third baffle the commissioners with the general answer that his articles ‘"are various."’
Ideas of space are, of course, of the most indefinite kind.
People will do anything rather than adhere to the plain dimensions of length, breadth, and height.
An organ builder, after much correspondence, says he cannot tell how much space he will want.
Another requires a horizontal space of two hundred feet by one hundred feet, or twenty thousand square feet, for the exhibition of some photographs; another wants one hundred feet by one hundred, or ten thousand square feet, for carriages.
The agricultural implement makers, however, carry off the palm for exorbitancy.
They seem to think the building will be rather larger than Salisbury Plain
, for one eminent maker demands a space of one thousand five hundred feet by one thousand five hundred feet, or two thousand two hundred and fifty square feet nearly three times the whole exhibition space in the building.
Equally curious applications have been made in connection with the department of Fine Arts.
One gentleman desires to exhibit a Poem!
Another wants a stand for antique bricks.
A third claims space in the picture gallery for ‘"a model room for a working shoemaker, showing sanitary arrangement and economical furniture, cooking apparatus and bed."’