The first world fair, The Great Exhibition of 1851, was held in Hyde Park London under the auspices of Prince Albert. The Crystal Palace, in which the whole world displayed its achievements, was built for the fair. At later world fairs participating countries have built their own pavilions. Since 1928 Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), headquartered in Paris, coordinates holding of the fairs.
By today 156 countries have acceded to BIE. Numerous technological novelties of the period, such as the sewing machine (London 1862), the telephone (Philadelphia, 1876) the refrigerator (Paris, 1878) and the postage stamp dispenser (Seattle, 1909), to name a few, have become linked with earlier world fairs. Of buildings the Eiffel Tower erected for the Paris World Fair of 1887-89 is certainly known the best and despite initial criticism has become the symbol of Paris in the course of time. This year’s EXPO will take place from May 1 to October 31 in Shanghai in the People’s Republic of China. Estonia has so far taken part in ten world fairs. The stamp features the Estonian pavilion in Shanghai.