The World’s Columbian Exposition took place in 1893 and at the time was one of the most overt applications of modern technology. The exposition was centered about recent advancements in electricity. Both Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla fought for the right to use their competing technologies (Direct Current by Edison and Alternating Current by Tesla) at the Exhibition with Tesla winning out by offering to install for half the price Edison proposed ($1 Million vs. $500,000.)
Jimmy Corrigan’s grandfather experiences the audacity of the exposition with his father on the opening day. Each of the frames depicting the exposition shows the lavish outsides and insides of the fair beautiful white eagles atop white pillars, technological marvels such as electricity etc. America’s defining moment of late 19th century technology. More subtle images at the fair include the peaches and horses, reoccurring themes throughout the book. No surprise that this section of the novel sits in the heart of Jimmy Corrigan, and for that reason it is obvious that Christopher Ware is making a statement with the placement and themes highlighted at the World’s Columbian Exposition. Ware is contrasting the beginning and end of the section showing the modern American image of the “Golden Arches” with the original modern American image that is the beauty of the World’s Columbian Exposition. One can argue that Ware’s statement here is as follows: American technology peaked in the early late 19th century and has since then been on a steady decline no longer is America known for great innovations in technology, instead America is known for fraud, corporate malpractice, and general forms of greed.