The Ferris Wheel was introduced to the world at the World's Colombian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago. It was built to rival the Paris creation of the Eiffel Tower, a landmark exhibition in 1889 in France. It is interesting to note that the first Ferris Wheel was built by bridgemaker George Ferris. His knowledge of struts, beams and supports, as well as a skilled mastery of foundation and balance of larger constructions made him the man for the job.
Ferris conceived the idea of the Wheel by looking the a structure of the Merry-go-Round. A popular part of the carnival, it seemed to generate large revenue, with a relatively simple structure. In reponse to the Eiffel Tower, Ferris knew that his invention had to be very large. Ferris concluded that a vertical wheel would make the same splash as a horizontal one, and he set about drawing up plans for a wheel that would make every wheel known to man look small.
The Ferris Wheel cost $380,000.00 to make and stood at 264 feet. After its execution, however, it grossed twice as much in ride sales, making it a very profitable member of the exhibition.
The diameter of the wheel was 250 feet, making it the largest known wheel in American at the time. It also contained an axle of 45 feet, which was unheard of. he Ferris Wheel was powered by 2,000 engine worth of horsepower, and it contained 36 wooden cars that were suspended by iron clamps to the structure of the Wheel and axle.
Each car held 60 passengers. When full, the ferris wheel held 2,160 passengers and stopped on every second revolution to let a new group of people in its cars.It was built by the Detroit Bridge and Iron works, and it ran at .50 cents a ride.
The Wheel weighed 2,079,884 pounds and when carrying the maximum live load of 2,160 passengers a weighing, say, 140 pounds each, the total weight in motion would have been 2,382, 244 pounds or 1,191 tons.
It was transferred to St. Louis for another Exposition in 1904, and after that, the world's first Ferris Wheel was taken down and sold to various metal dealers.
I hope you enjoyed a bit of history of the Ferris Wheel and my photographs of the Ferris Wheel at the Balboa Fun Zone in Newport Beach, California.
Do stop by and visit Skywatch Friday. This meme is hosted by: Klaus Sandy Ivar Wren Fishing Guy Louise who do a fab job. We had over 300 participants last week. Do join in the summer fun!