Between research and propaganda: The Documentary of Italian Scientific and Technical Primacy

In 1932, Italy was invited to participate in the Chicago World Expo "A Century of Progress," organized to celebrate the American city's hundred years of life. At the center of the event was the idea of development, with the intention of showing how progress born of technological innovation can improve the daily life of citizens.

In reality, there were two requests for scientific material made by Chicago to Italy. The Rosenwald Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago requested a contribution for the establishment of its collections in the form of 36 objects to be chosen as examples of "Italy's contribution to the scientific achievements of humanity": machines from the Roman age, devices based on works by Leonardo da Vinci, replicas of works by Galileo and Torricelli, high-voltage cables by Pirelli, an Isotta-Fraschini aeronautical engine. The second request called for scientific equipment to be exhibited in the Hall of Science, the fulcrum of the entire World's Fair, where visitors could explore scientific and technological discoveries, from the beginnings to present day.