The 48 mile ship canal connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans was one of the largest most difficult engineering projects that was ever undertaken.
Boats sailing thru majestic mountains of mud  deny the reality that 268 million cubic yards of dirt were removed by hundreds of thousands of laborers including the
death of more than 27000 due to landslides, yellow fever and malaria.  

The USA began work on the project in 1904, but the canal was not completed until August 15, 1914 (the 100th anniversary will be later this year--written in 2014)

The immensity of this project cannot be appreciated until one has actually visited the canal and seen the huge Lake Gatun and all of the supporting structures
that are necessary to make this a functioning shortcut for global transportation.

The canal greatly reduced the time it would take ships to travel from the east coast of the USA to the west coast and was expected  to be a major benefit
to the western United States. It has fully lived up to those expectations.

In anticipation of the opening of the Panama Canal, two worlds fairs were held -- one  in San Francisco and one in  San Diego in 1915 and you can see the spoons from those fairs
by clicking here.

panama boat canal panama canal spoon

make the dirt fly spoon

Teddy Roosevelt told the chief engineer of the Panama Canal project to
"Make the dirt fly"

This slogan became very popular and an advertising campaign to hire workers for the Panama Canal Project
made the phrase a household word.

panama canal spoons
sterling spoons
spoon dated 1915 depicting a ship transiting the Panama Canal
Shovel shaped spoon bowl --"make the dirt fly"

panama canal stamp silver spoon
sterling spoon with 5 centavo stamp picturing a map of Panama

I found an American made spoon about the Panama Canal. This is one of those spoons with lots of small pictures on both the front and back. I have enlarged three of the six pictures for you. I do not believe that this spoon is from the Pan Pacific Expo, but it was probably a souvenir from someone's trip through the canal.

left: front of handle

right: the Culebra Cut was the most extensive earth moving project in history and was the most important part of the canal.

left: lock gates--These were the most sophisticated water gating system in the world and were in use for over 65 years

panama canal map spoon

Visit the Pan Pacific Interntional Exposition spoons

Return to spoon planet exhibits