When Were Ferris Wheels Invented?
The first Ferris wheel, sometimes also referred to as the Chicago Wheel was erected in Chicago, Illinois, at the Columbian Exposition in 1893. The wheel was named after its inventor, George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr.
The wheel rotated on a 71-ton, 45.5-foot axle and was manufactured in Pittsburgh by the Bethlehem Iron Company.
One of the largest ever erected, the giant wheel rose to a height of 264 feet, and each of its 36 cars could carry 60 passengers. This Ferris wheel was used at the St. Louis exhibition in 1904 and then was sold for scrap metal.
Present-day Ferris wheels are much smaller, but they still afford the thrill of flying, with the support of steel girders. A gasoline-powered engine turns the big wheel on its steel stand.
Some Ferris wheels have cars mounted on the outside of the rim, with electric motors to independently rotate each car to keep it upright.
These wheels are sometimes referred to as observation wheels, and their cars referred to as capsules, however these alternative names are also sometimes used for wheels with conventional gravity-oriented cars.