I bought this piece about ten years ago.
I didn't really know what it was, other than that there ws a gondola in the picture - that was all I needed to know.
After further inspection, I realized that this was similar to a celluloid slide (like the ones my dad used to show for hours afer each vacation, and whenever guests asked a question that might lead to "oh, I've got some great slides of that" as a response).
This type of slide appears to be the predecessor of the slides my dad spent so much time with.
The image was taken in 1893 at the same World's Columbian Exposition as I posted about on November 30th.
In the background you can see the Illinois Building, one of the many huge exhibit halls can be seen to the right, and a motorized launch is just entering the frame on the far right side.
The gondola is rowed by two gondoliers, and the boat does not have a canopy.
I mentioned in my last post which included an image from the expo in Chicago in 1893, that postcards were first introduced there.
Other firsts for the World's Columbian Exposition included:
Cracker Jack, Cream of Wheat, Aunt Jemima pancakes and the Ferris Wheel.