Main Street, U.S.A., France

 Main Street, U.S.A., France

Where else would you expect to find a turn-of-the-20th-century old town hometown Main Street, U.S.A., than outside Paris, France? The quaint setting is located, of course, at Disneyland Park. As at Disneyland Park in California and other Magic Kingdom counterparts, Main Street, U.S.A., is the entrance to the Park. By walking into this homage to Walt Disney’s childhood hometown of Marceline, Missouri, Guests get acquainted with the man behind the mouse and what inspired him.

At the Disneyland Paris version of Main Street, U.S.A. visitors find familiar Victorian storefronts, early 20th century transportation, and the Disneyland Railroad station. But if you’ll venture in and veer to the right, you’ll find the place that intrigues me—the Discovery Arcade. It’s just a walk-through exhibit, but you should take your time when strolling through, and pay attention to what’s displayed.

Discovery+Arcade+2 Main Street, U.S.A., France
Photo via DLRPMagic.com

The Industrial Revolution of the late 19th century sent creative minds scrambling to invent new and better ways of doing things, of producing goods, of transporting goods and people, of entertaining, etc. Between 1790 and 1880, the United States Patent office required applicants to submit a working model of their inventions, usually no larger than 12 square inches, along with their paperwork. When the agency ran out of room to store the 200,000+ models—or those that remained after two fires damaged the warehouse and its contents—some 40,000 units were sold to a private collector in 1925. That collection, reduced over time to about 4,000 pieces, was sold to enthusiast Alan Rothschild in the early 1990s. Portions of Rothschild’s collection are currently displayed in only two locations, several at the Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia, and 52 prototypes at Discovery Arcade in Disneyland Paris.

Today’s Takeaway:

 Main Street, U.S.A., France
Photo via DLRPMagic.com
 Main Street, U.S.A., France
Photo via DLRPMagic.com

Take a look at these photos from DLRPMagic.com (click to enlarge), and you may be surprised to see early versions of some appliances we take for granted today in the 21st century! I spy a sewing machine, a washing machine, an ironing board, a pencil sharpener, a hang glider, and an elevated train, just to name a few. Choose one item to further research. Trace its development from proposed patent to modern household item. Consider the convenience it brings to everyday life. How has the invention you chose improved daily living. Has it simplified a task? Has it increased productivity? How has that invention changed the way we live? Is there still room for improvement? Write a three page paper discussing these topics.

SCHOOL SUBJECT: History/Composition
SKILL LEVEL: Middle Grades

 


 Main Street, U.S.A., France

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