(888) 667-4451 09:00 am - 05:00 pm (PST)
(888) 667-4451 09:00 am - 05:00 pm (PST)

Communication and Condiments: The First USA World’s Fair

World Expos are officially sanctioned by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) in Paris. The first official World’s Fair in the United States was the Centennial International Exhibition of 1876. It was held in Philadelphia to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The theme was Arts, Manufactures and Products of the Soiland Mine. From this seemingly disparate theme emerged two products we’d have a hard doing without today: the telephone, and ……ketchup.

Alexander Graham Bell filed a patent for his telephone prototype February 14, 1876. Elisha Gray started the patent process for his telephone on the same day. Because Alexander Graham Bell’s was the fifth entry of that day, while Elisha Gray was 39th, the U.S. Patent Office awarded the patent to Bell.   He demonstrated his telephone at the fair by setting up a receiver 20 feet away from the transmitter. Two years later, amid patent litigation, he won a Grand Prize for his invention at the Paris International Exposition. He shared the prize with Elisha Gray and Thomas Edison (who had helped him perfect his invention).

This was Bell’s first device that could transmit intelligible speech. Used with his Iron Box receiver, it was demonstrated in June 1876 at the Centennial Exposition.

Ketchup likely began its origins in Southeast Asia centuries ago, as a fish-based seasoning for cooking. Called “kecap” or, “ke-chiap”, 18th– century British Colonists first encountered it in Singapore. Legend has it that Henry John Heinz invented ketchup by adapting a Chinese recipe called Cat Sup.  Although not the first person to add tomatoes or otherwise tinker with the original fish seasoning, he was the first one to produce and market it on a large scale to the general public and is generally credited as its inventor. 

Exhibit in the Senator John Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Expo 2020 will feature the latest in communication technology, and more than 200 food and beverage outlets for every taste and budget. And yes, there will be ketchup!

Joan Thompson, Expo Sales Executive
Ya’lla Tours USA


Watch Expo 2020 Dubai Opening Ceremonies!
October 1, 2021
June 16, 2021
June 7, 2021
Pavilion Spotlight: Brazil
May 20, 2021
A Time For Reflection: Acknowledging Our Human Connection
April 1, 2020
Preparing to Welcome the World: Perseverance and Optimism Prevail
March 13, 2020
Mascots at World’s Fairs: A Touch of Whimsy
March 2, 2020
Public Transportation: Getting Around in Dubai
February 14, 2020
The Louvre Abu Dhabi: East Meets West
February 5, 2020
Visiting Dubai: A Western Woman’s Perspective
January 29, 2020
Fun in the Arabian Desert
January 9, 2020
Otis vs Otis: Elevators Past, Present, and Future
December 13, 2019
EXPO 2015 Milan: Food, Glorious Food
November 21, 2019
September 2019: The First Emirati in Space
November 4, 2019
Dawn of a New Day: Television at the 1939 World’s Fair
October 23, 2019
Liberty Enlightening the World – Part 2: Help from Two World’s Fairs
October 18, 2019
Liberty Enlightening the World – Part 1: The Egyptian Connection
October 14, 2019
Chicago 1893: George Ferris’ Big Wheel
October 9, 2019
1889 Paris International Exposition: The Iron Lady’s Debut
September 30, 2019
Lisbon and Dubai: Two of the Largest Aquariums in the World
September 24, 2019
A Space-Themed Expo for a Space Age World: Seattle 1962
September 17, 2019
My First EXPO
September 12, 2019
Abu Dhabi: from Sandy Village to Manhattan-Skyline in 40 Years
June 2, 2019
2 days in Dubai
June 2, 2019
June 2, 2019
Why Travel to EXPO Dubai 2020
June 2, 2019