Whitworth stand of machine tools at the Great Exhibition, London, 1851.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Illustrated plate taken from Dickinsons' 'Comprehensive Pictures of The Great Exhibition' (1854). Prominent objects on display include tools for planing, slotting, drilling, and boring, a wrought iron crane and spinning machinery. The Crystal Palace was built to house the 'Great Exhibition of the Works of the Industry of all Nations', an idea conceived by Prince Albert (1819-1861). The building was the first large-scale prefabricated ferrovitreous (iron and glas) structure and was designed by the landscape designer Joseph Paxton (1801-1865). The prefabricated design made the construction, and later dismantling, easier and quicker.