Progress, a study in contrasts — Constitution Commemorative Silver Dollar Coin

Today, the Constitution Commemorative Silver Dollar Coin remembers when Philadelphia began its centennial celebration on September 15, 1887.

From the Official Programme of the Centennial Celebration of the Framing of the Constitution of the United States by the Constitutional Centennial Commission:


Civic and Industrial Day — Thursday, September 15, 1887

Industrial and Civic Procession will form on East and West Streets, near Broad Street, North of Dauphin Street.

Route — Down Broad Street to Moore Street, countermarching up Broad Street.

The one striking feature that Col. A. Loudon Snowden, Chairman of the Committee and Marshal of the display, has endeavored to impress upon it, is the progress we have made in a hundred years under government of the Constitution.

This thought will be seen to permeate every feature of the display.

It will open with a cordon of mounted Police; following this, will be the Marshal, Col. A. Loudon Snowden, followed by his Chief of Staff, General J. Wm. Hofmann, and the Aids following.

Next will be the United States Marine Band, followed by a handsomely decorated float, drawn by six (6) horses, each horse to be led by a man in livery.

Upon this float will be carried a magnificent banner, representing Columbia pointing with one hand to the past, illustrated by the implements and conditions of a hundred years ago, and with the other to the present, with railroads, telegraphs, steamships and other evidences of the progress which we have made in the last century.

This banner fittingly leads the demonstration and typifies its character.

An Aid to the Marshal will be especially detailed to accompany the banner. Following this, will be the Carpenters’ Company, organized in 1745, followed by a float, supporting a facsimile of the temple, drawn in the procession of July 4, 1788, by the same Company.

Following this, will be a temple of 38 columns, indicating the number of States.

The design and execution of this temple is highly creditable. Next there will be Tableaux.

1. Skirmish of Lexington.
2. Declaration of Independence.
3. Valley Forge.
4. Surrender at Yorktown, followed by General Washington and Officers of the Revolutionary Army mounted, followed by 60 Continental Soldiers.

Following this, will be a float with the arch of the Union.

Following this, will be a tableaux of “Uncle Sam,” all under the charge of the Patriotic Order Sons of America, properly uniformed.

The other tableaux of the demonstration will be a large float carrying representatives, dressed in the costumes of the different nations of the earth, which compose our American population, with flags indicating the different nationalities.

Also a large eagle, in which will be 13 children from the Public School of Philadelphia, typifying the 13 States; followed by a beautiful temple handsomely decorated, with 38 ladies, representing the 38 States of the Union.

THE AGRICULTURAL DEPARTMENT will consist of the presentation of the old implements contrasted with all the modern machinery; with this will be associated mill machinery old and new.

The Millbourne Mill Company will illustrate the old mill of 150 years ago, with its appliances, in contrast with the modern mill. Capacity given of each period.

PACKERS, BAKERS, New Brunswick Household specialties will enter, accompanied by the Retail Grocers’ Association, with other kindred manufactures.

THE TEXTILE INDUSTRY will be represented by its leading representatives. Flax, hemp, woolens, worsteds, carpets, cotton, and mixed cotton prints, silks, textile machinery, old and new, properly contrasted, with capacity given. This interest will be fully represented.

THE BUILDING TRADES OF PHILADELPHIA, following the Lumbermen’s and the Master Builders’ Exchanges, will make a splendid exhibit, commencing with the trees and logs, with the pit saw, band saw, manufactured lumber, wood bench, &c., followed by machinery, &c. The mill work in the old style and the old-style carpenter shop. New mode of making sash and doors contrasted with the old.

BRICKLAYERS, TERRA COTTA, old style tempering by hand, new style tempering by steam, practically illustrated. Present mode of making brick by hand and steam, artificial drying press, old style press, new steam press in running order, old style brick kiln with wood, new, with coal. Fire brick and clay retort, improved products, machines, &c. Exhibit of irons and materials which enter into the construction of houses will be illustrated. Sheet metal finials over 20 feet high, &c. Old style of roofing, and roof showing new metal shingles, iron railing, ornamental casting, &c. Iron work in various forms. Roofing exhibits of the old thatch shingled, with a new tile, slate and copper. Tinners will be at work putting roofs together and replacing with new roof. Old style machines. Copper bay window complete.

PLUMBERS’ EXHIBIT, consisting of old wooden water pipe taken from the center of the City Hall, contrasted with the latest iron pipe now in use, 54 inches in diameter. Old style of bath, modern bathroom complete. Plumbers’ Trade School for boys. Samples of their work, with a number of men following float.


CARPENTERS AND STAIR BUILDERS will be represented, showing the old style log house and the modern house. This will illustrate net only the contrast in architecture, but in the comfort of the homes of the workmen of a hundred years ago and those of the present time. Following this will be an exhibition of heaters, ranges, ventilators, elevators, exhibits.

EXHIBIT OF MASTER PAINTERS. Exhibit in the shape of a house completed. In this complete illustration of the builder’s interest, there will be many bands of music and thousands of workmen.

MANUFACTURERS OF CLOTHING. Large retail and wholesale houses, silk manufacturers, Women’s Silk Culture Association of the United States, and others will be represented in their processes and products. Boots, shoes and harness makers will be represented.

The DISPLAY made by the UNITED STATES MINT, POST OFFICE and INTERNAL REVENUE DEPARTMENT, will be interesting and very instructive. The Post Office will illustrate the old and new methods. The educational system of the country and its progress will be illustrated.

The UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA which appeared in the demonstration a hundred years ago, will participate.

INDIANS. The advance in the civilization of the red men of the continent which is so striking in the last few years will be beautifully illustrated. Mounted Indians which have been brought from the West with their native ponies will head this illustration with war paint, feathers and all paraphernalia incident to Indian warfare. Following this, will be the Indians as they appear at Carlisle, seeking education. Following this, as they are educated in mechanical appliances and in literature, which will be a practical and beautiful illustration of the progress now being made in that direction.

Following this, in its proper place, the LINCOLN INSTITUTE, whose work under the humane guidance of its representatives has done so much for the Indian children committed to its care.

THE SPRING GARDEN INSTITUTE will be represented. Following this, will be the representatives of the PUBLIC SCHOOL system of our country, which has contributed so largely to the intellectual and moral development of our people.

The advance in the character and comfort of VEHICLES will be illustrated thoroughly. The old carriage of Washington and Girard’s gig will be present with modern carriages in contrast. The works of Henry Disston will turn out its beautiful product in all stages of completion, with a thousand of their workingmen properly dressed, indicating their prosperity and comfort. File, stove, boiler, scale, heater, and engine works will be exhibited. The advance in sewing will be thoroughly presented.

THE OLD VOLUNTEER FIRE SYSTEM will be contrasted with the new. The old antiquated machines of a hundred years ago will be contrasted with magnificent engines of today.

TRANSPORTATION. The advance in the transportation methods of the country will form, perhaps, the most striking feature of the demonstration. Beginning with the pack-horse, the pony express, the Conestoga wagon, the old stage coach, the old canal boat, and packet, progressing, until we reach the most important form of Postal, Freight, Palace and Dining cars drawn in connection with an engine of modern times, in contrast with a model of the first engine used in the United States. This exhibit has been carefully and intelligently prepared at large expense, under the supervision of Mr. W. J. Latta, of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

THE BALDWIN LOCOMOTIVE WORKS will illustrate all the branches of that great establishment. The foundry, the hammer, the smith shop, tank shop, flange shop, boiler shop, blast shop and repair shop, wood shop, &c., &c., with the workmen of each of these departments accompanying their particular branch, with a complete engine, which will be run on the streets. This exhibit will be beautiful and effective, and will be accompanied by a thousand of the shop men with music, banners, &c.

FURNITURE, PHOTOGRAPHING, mirrors, pictures, decorations, upholstery, pianos and music with the contrast of the old and the new, from various firms. Musical instruments contrasted.

NAVAL ARCHITECTURE will be exhibited by an illustration of the old war vessel “Hartford” and the beautiful model ship “Antietam,” complete in every part, which cost the government over §30,000. A monitor, with guns mounted, has been prepared at the Philadelphia Navy Yard by Constructor Steele under the direction of Captain Potter.

A model of the modern war vessel ”Charleston” with model guns, mounted, is being prepared under the direction of Lieutenant Lewis Nixon, recently returned from the Naval School at Greenwich, England, where he went after graduating with high honor at Annapolis. Mr. Nixon deserves great credit for his intelligence and energy in this matter, having but a few days at his disposal, he modeled and is having built this illustration of the latest pattern of war vessels. The whole thing being completed in six days from the time he commenced work upon it.

LIFE SAVING SYSTEM. This will be illustrated by appliances at present in use for that purpose. First mortar that was ever in use in this country with which 201 lives were saved on the New Jersey coast; the ball that was thrown on board the ill-fated ship, the “Ayreshire” will also be seen. The crews accompanying this service will be recruited from the Life Saving Service along the coast.

THE PRINTING EXHIBIT will be elaborate and instructive, beginning with a tableau of Guttenberg, his employees and friends, which will be illustrated by the German printers of the city. Type making by the old and new process, the Ephrata press now in the Historical Society is to be manned by members of the Typographical and Pressman’s Union. A Washington hand press will be exhibited. Job printing press. Variety of printing material. Power press in operation on the street. A free hand drawing of the latest improved Hot Perfecting press. A folder in operation. A composing room as complete as can be shown by the Typographical Society and Printers’ Union. Exhibits of various kinds of paper. Lithographing. Blank book manufacture. Job printing in its various branches. Followed by printers and others interested in this branch.

OCEAN NAVIGATION will be illustrated by the Ocean Steamship Company, with a model of the first steamship that ever crossed the Atlantic in 1819, contrasted with a model of the latest type of a modern steamer. Preceding this, will be a model of John Fitch’s Paddle Steamboat. This was the first attempt at navigating by steam and boat, one hundred years ago. Some members of the Constitutional Convention were present at the first trial on the Delaware. This model is prepared by the kindness of William Cramp.

ELECTRICAL APPARATUS will be exhibited. The District Telegraph Company will be represented. Lamps, Chandeliers, Glasswork, Chemicals, &c, &c. Ice Companies, Refrigerators, &c.

KNIGHTS OF THE GOLDEN EAGLE, a charitable society, will march with nearly 5,000 of its members, with beautiful tableaux illustrative of the work of the Society. All the men will be in uniform.


THE BREWERS will make a beautiful display, allegorical, in the form of Tableaux, &c, &c.

The displays will be, perhaps, as handsome as any other of the kind ever witnessed in this country.

PRESERVED FRUITS, canned Fruits, canned meats, &c, with their various processes, will be included.

The processional display, of which this is only a brief outline, will contain fully 300 floats, bearing their burdens, upon which will be stamped “PROGRESS.”

There will be over 2000 horses and 30,000 men and women in line; over 150 bands will be employed.

Each division will have its Assistant Marshal with four Aids; the Divisions will number about 30; each Division and Sub-Division will have Aids representing the different Societies, Organizations, Firms or Interests represented.


The Constitution Commemorative Silver Dollar Coin shows with an image of the Centennial Programme booklet of 1887.

Constitution Commemorative Silver Dollar Coin