Sunday, May 1, 2011

another victorian google doodle

In February Google made a Doodle to commemorate the 183rd birthday of Victorian science fiction writer Jules Verne, which I wrote about in this post.  Now the Google team has come up with another animated Doodle to mark the 160th anniversary of the first World's Fair, which took place in May 1851 at The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London.

image source: Breaking News World
According to Wikipedia (I know, I cheated), the Great Exhibition, as this first World's Fair was called, was entitled "Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations" and focused on industrial inventions and manufactured products.  No wonder the steampunk movie Steamboy's climatic battle scene between steam-powered weapons and the mad scientists behind them took place at said Great Exhibition. 

The blog at Search Engine Watch gives more details about the significance behind the Doodle's details, such as the following:


Crystal Palace was filled with amazing fountains, but none more so than the Crystal Fountain. Standing at 27 feet tall, the large fountain was capable of shooting water 250 feet in the air, as part of a water system that pumped 120,000 gallons of water.

We take fountains for granted now but they were obviously a feat of engineering at the time, requiring engines and a "system of water works"...


The animated cogs over the diamond draw attention to the stone itself. It's the Koh-i-Noor, which was once the largest known diamond in the world. It is also said to be cursed, such that every man who has owned it has had misfortune befall on them or lost their kingdom.

However, the curse apparently has no effect on women which makes the history of the diamond and the presentation at the Great Exhibition even more noteworthy.

Fought over for centuries, the diamond was finally seized by the East India Company, the British Empire's merchant navy, and eventually became part of the British Crown Jewels to be worn by Queen Victoria. (Random Note: My boss is from Andhra Pradesh, the region from which the Koh-i-Noor originates.  He thinks the Brits should give "him" "his" damned diamond back.  You know, because an Indian businessman who now has an American citizenship and has no intention of moving back to India is a legitimate representative of the entire Andhra Pradesh region and deserves the diamond more than anyone else there.)

Travel & Photography

The musical notes coming out of the giant steam locomotive draw attention to that section of the doodle. According to the British Library every type of steam engine was on display, celebrating every invention of the era.

Also of interest in that section of the doodle is a man in blue taking a photo at the far left. That is Mathew Brady, a New Yorker, who was awarded a medal at the fair for his early work in daguerreotypes; the first successful photographic process (Note: Brady is also a famous photographer of the American Civil War who developed a faster method of capturing and developing photos due to the awkwardness of the process when he first started covering the war.  I wish I could elaborate, but my 8th grade research project on the topic has mostly faded from my memory.  A future blog post, perhaps?)
 Go Google for remembering the Victorians in such awesome ways in 2011!

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