Agricultural History Series

Missouri State University

 1904 St. Louis Worlds Fair

 French Exhibit-Champagne Cask

When entering the Palace of Agriculture, just to the left from the north entrance was the French exhibit.  A huge cask, gigantic in size, caught visitors’ eyes.  When you talk about a cask, the size is often like that of 50 or 60-gallon barrel.   This cask had the capacity of 17,225 gallons, which was nearly enough to fill half a small standpipe.  Plus to everyone’s amazement the cask was filled with champagne. 

Champagne Cask on left.

The actual measurement of the cask was seventeen and one-half feet in diameter and a little over seventeen feet long.  One of the more interesting things connected with the exhibit was the construction of the great vacuum.  The staves were five inches thick, made of white oak.  The head was four inches thick, of Hungarian oak.  The front head of this great Ring of Barrels was ornamented with costly hand carvings from hardwood, life-size images of humans, symbolizing France treating America to a glass of champagne. 

The handiwork was done by Mr. Emile Galle of Nancy, France.  The casks were made in different sizes, from the size of a jug to the one described above who were made by Tonnellerie & Fruhinsholz, of Nancy, France.  The champagne distillers Veuve Pommery Fils & Co., of Reims, France bought almost the entire product of casks that were manufactured for the World Fair.  

Reference:  Farm Machinery.  Wonderful French Productions. June 21, 1904.

Photograph: Stereoview from Irwin Collection.

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