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The Chicago Dental Meeting

February 28th, 2012

Since whenever, the Chicago Dental Society (CDS) has been holding their annual conference and trade expo in late February – hence the name ‘MidWinter Meeting’. As in New York, Chicago’s exhibitions were held in a hotel in the old days. That was the Chicago Conrad Hilton, which, for some time, was the largest hotel in the World. The exhibition was famous for its corridors and corners, with booths hidden in the strangest places.  Conference rooms were the hotel rooms upstairs. Yes, strange, but it somehow worked – or at last no one complained.

While the Hilton was being renovated, the expo was switched to the Hyatt on Wacker Drive. Some years later, the McCormick Conference and Exhibition Centre was opened, and since then, that’s where the show has been held.

(Have to add that the Hyatt did retain some fame, even till today: their ‘BIG’ bar, a focal point for all fun-lovers. Renowned for noise, for trumpet-playing barmen, for big windows overlooking the city, and lined with every possible bottle of alcohol).

There is a large conference centre. With multiple lectures etc. being held all the time.

One day before the start of the show, the Dental Trade Alliance (DTA) holds its ‘Preview Show’. That’s where all of its members (mostly manufacturers, but including others, such as Suvison, Infodent and this very Dental Tribune International) have 1 table each, and welcome dealers from all points of the World to view what’s new and have a drink and a chat. It has always proved to be a great meeting place….

But I am digressing. For the highlight of my stay in Chicago was a visit to Crabtree Farm in the little town of Lake Bluff, an hour’s train ride north of Chicago.

You all by now should have noticed that I am a collector of antique English drinking glasses. (It was the English who first put lead in glass and, during the years approx. 1680-1750 monopolised that wonderful world).


(A lovely example of an air-twist…from around 1760)

I won’t clutter your minds – and these pages – with the story leading up to this. For those interested, please contact me directly at stephen.pohlmann@gmail.com). Suffice to say that I was introduced to ‘a glass collector’, a gentleman who has a stunning art collection, which includes such a fantastic range of 17th/18th century glasses that an important book has now been written on them by the ex-director of Corning glass museum.

I have been asked to respect this gentleman’s privacy, so suffice to say that the visit to his over 100 year-old Crabtree farm, about an hour’s train-ride from Chicago, was a very special experience for my wife and myself.

To call the following ‘the highlights’ would be to diminish the beauty and importance of just about everything on display. This is just a sampling of the wonderful taste, and the manner in which the artefacts are displayed:

  • A regularly-used indoor tennis court, over 100 years old, surrounded by artistically-cultivated ivy – and radiators all the way round. Outside, what is considered to be the earliest portrayal of a tennis player, from the early 16th century.

  • Mind-boggling furniture, including tables, rugs, desks, cabinets, beds, gas cookers (still in use), lamps, chandeliers…

  • Makepeace furniture (look it up) at/on which we ate sandwiches before departure.

  • A combined manual/automatic Steinway grand piano

  • And a display of more contemporary American arts and crafts, details of which can be found at the Crabtree website.
  • (For those of you have been to Chicago in recent years, you will not have avoided to have been fascinated by the gigantic and fantastic stainless steel bean on Lakeshore Drive. It is a masterpiece of design and a photographer’s fantasy. One wonders how on earth it was constructed. At Crabtree Far, you find out. For, in the garden, you’ll find one of the origin panels used – and here’s me reflected in it).


This was a day to remember, spending time with a very special man – and his wife. Many subjects…but art was the focus, and we were in Heaven.

Smile – Promote your Dentist.

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