Everybody likes miniatures, right? Well, not the publishers of Scientific American in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They published several articles chastising miniaturists for wasting their time making models instead of the real thing. Some of these were directed at people hoping to exhibit at the World’s Fairs where models and miniatures were quite prominent and acceptable. Scientific American seemed to be missing the point that many ideas are worked out in miniature form before they enter the real world.

An example from Scientific American in 1876 about the Centennial exhibition:

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Here is the type of mini steam engine this article refers to. Someone came to the Centennial and did, in fact, place a mini steam engine next to the huge 40 foot high Corliss engine! Apparently many people across the country were trying to make the smallest engine.

 

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