What happened in 1904?

Do you know what happened in 1904? An outline of significant events that took place in the year 1904.

Also featuring galleries of images to illustrate the culture, art, design, cinema, fashion and photography of 1904.



Buy at Art.com
World’s Fair, St. Louis, …


  • Russia is at war with Japan over territory. Germany supports Russia.
  • France and Britain sign an Entente Cordiale regarding their colonial empires. Their agreement unites them against the influence of Germany.
  • France and Spain sign treaty for Morroccan independence.
  • International Woman Suffrage Alliance is established.
  • St Louis, in Missouri USA, hosts the World’s Fair and the Third Modern Olympic Games.
  • USA ends occupation of Cuba.
  • Longacre Square in New York City is renamed Times Square and holds first ever of its NYE celebrations.
  • New York subway opens and begins running services.
  • Opium production begins in the Netherlands Indies.
  • Bell Telephone Company is set up in Antwerp, Belgium.
  • Pope Pius X bans low cut dresses in the presence of priests.
  • South West Africa uprising.
  • The Trans-Siberian railway is completed after 13 years.
  • The great fire of Alesund in Norway leaves 10,000 without homes. Fire in Baltimore, USA destroys 1500 buildings. Huge fire destroys Toronto.
  • The first ever Buddhist temple opens in USA.
  • Dalai Lama signs treaty allowing British trade in Tibet.
  • The Wright Brothers fly in a loop in their Flyer II.
  • The St Louis World’s Fair showcased the x-ray machine, the electric typewriter and a baby incubator.


Buy at Art.com
The Houses of Parliament, Sunset, 1904
Claude Monet

Pablo Picasso moves away from his Blue Period style of painting and adds more colour to his work (which later becomes known as the Rose Period). He also meets artist and model Fernande Olivier. She becomes the subject of over 60 paintings before they separate in 1912.

Impressionist Mary Cassatt receives the Légion d‘honneur for services to the arts in France. Although she is American, she has lived spent much of her life in France.

Claude Monet continues his series of London paintings.


Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany funds the rebuilding of Alesund after the great fire. It is to be rebuilt in the modern Jugendstil style.

Art educator Frank Alvah Parsons joins The New York School of Fine and Applied Art. He launches modern design programmes in fashion design, interior design and graphic design. It is the first time in the USA that art and industry is so closely linked.

Buy at Art.com
St. Louis World Fair, 1904

St Louis hosts the World’s Fair of 1904. Forest Park is transformed into a landscaped exhibition area. The St Louis Art Museum is built especially for the Fair.

Hill House, Helensburgh, Scotland is completed. It is designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh for publisher Walter Blackie. Its construction is asymmetrical with different roof levels and shapes. The design of the interior reflects the exterior with no additional embellishment.


Letters are given out for the first time to successful college sports stars. The first to do this is University of Chicago, awarding blankets with C on them.

Parisian cosmetics company Coty is founded.

The modern Gibson Girl daytime style continues to be popular: shirtwaist blouse with high neck and puffy sleeves, flared ‘short’ walking length skirt, frills, s-shaped corset, small straw hat. Although skirts are shorter, they are becoming more and more flared.

Velvet gowns of red, blue and green with furs and lace are popular evening wear. A new more supple velvet has been manufactured to create gathered velvet skirts.

Buy at Art.com
Gibson Girl

Men are wearing light coloured wool suits in the summertime with stiff shirts and straw boaters with a walking stick.

Tastes are becoming more refined with less embellishment or fussy adornment. Purple and brown are fashionable colours this year. Matching short jackets and hats and accessories are fashionable too.

Find out more by reading these two fashion essays published in Harper’s Bazaar 1904.

Here is my Pinterest gallery for fashion in 1904:



Film is used to document everything, for entertainment and for propaganda.

In France, Georges Méliès releases his first two-reel film. It is called Impossible Voyage. Here it is in full (coloured).

French film company Pathé breaks into the new US film market.

Hungarian-born William Fox buys a penny arcade in Brooklyn New York to show moving picture shows. This is the first time the Fox name is linked to the movies. It’s the beginning of an empire.



Moonlight – The Pond, Edward Steichen, 1904

American photographers continue with pictorial and artistic photography. Edward Steichen experiments with Moonlight – The Pond, which later became one of the most expensive photographs of all time after it was sold at auction.

A new photographic journal is launched in Paris. It is called L’Épreuve Photographique (The Photographic Print). It published copper-plate photogravures from artist photogrphers in Europe.


Nostromo by Joseph Conrad is published.

The first comic books are created by extending the comic strip format.

The Psychopathology of Everyday Life by Sigmund Freud is published.


Buy at Art.com
Madama Butterfly, c.1904
Adolfo Hohenstein

The London Symphony Orchestra is established.

Flat records replace wax cylinders for recorded music.

Giacomo Puccini‘s Madama Butterfly opera premieres in Milan, Italy.

Bela Bartok‘s Kossuth symphony premieres.

Gustav Mahler‘s 5th Symphony premieres in Cologne, Germany.


Buy at Art.com
Liberty Theatre

Modernist play premiers at the Moscow Art Theatre, Russia. It is The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov.

The Academy of Dramatic Art is established in London. It will later be known as RADA.

Ravel‘s Shéhérazade opens in Paris, France.

The Liberty Theatre opens in New York City.

Duke of York Theatre opens in London with first ever stage performance of Peter Pan.

Candida by George Bernard Shaw premieres in London, UK.

Riders to the Sea and Well of Saints, both by JM Synge, open in Dublin, Ireland at the National Theatre.

Pinterest gallery of 1904 fashion
Pinterest gallery of 1904
Pictify gallery of 1904

This 1904 post and Pinterest/Pictify pages get added to as time goes by.

Please do leave a comment below if you think something should be added to the timeline or galleries.

See what happened in other years in the 1900s

3 Comments on “What happened in 1904?

  1. can you tell me the date mc donald road opened. Not the food chain but the library in Leith

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

V is for Vintage on Facebook




Follow on Bloglovin