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In 1904, St. Louis hosted a World's Fair to celebrate the centennial of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. Initially slated to take place a year earlier, the exposition was delayed until April 30, 1904, to allow for full-scale participation by more states and foreign countries.In addition to celebrating the centennial, the fair also introduced droves of spectators to some exciting new inventions such as private automobiles, outdoor electric lighting, wireless telephones, the telautograph (the precursor to the fax machine) and the X-ray machine. After a little drama and thinly veiled threats, the fair also played host to the 1904 Summer Olympic Games -- the first Olympics held in the United States. The exposition ran for 7 months and was attended by almost 20 million people including a number of notable guests such as Thomas Edison, Helen Keller, Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Grover Cleveland, Apache chief Geronimo, poet T.S. Eliot, and even American distiller, Jack Daniel.
Immediately upon the fair's closure on Dec. 1, 1904, all of its wondrous buildings and pavilions were demolished (including the AMAZING clown-faced Temple of Mirth building -- look it up!) leaving only a few footprints, ponds and canals in Forest Park. While the physical structures may be long gone, this darling ring remains as a sweet memento from this turn-of-the-century international exposition.
Fashioned in a rolled gold plated brass, this souvenir ring features an entwined lover's knot center with a dangling heart charm. One one side of the heart it reads "World's Fair 1904 St. Louis" in raised lettering. On the other side of the heart is The Lord's Prayer in teeny tiny raised lettering that is only legible with magnification.
It does not look like this ring was worn much if at all. It looks brand new. It's most likely that this was purchased as a souvenir and then left in a box in a drawer for the last 117 years. It's quite remarkable.
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