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Ferris Wheel Invention

Grover Cleveland

Ferris Wheel Invention: Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th American President who served in office from March 4, 1885 to March 4, 1889 and from March 4, 1893 - March 4,1897. One of the unusual events during his presidency was the invention of the Ferris Wheel.

Definition and Summary of the Ferris Wheel Invention

Summary and definition: The Ferris Wheel Invention was an engineering marvel designed by American engineer, George Ferris for the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.

The great fair was originally known as the World's Columbian Exposition that was organized to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus landing in the New World. The American engineer George Ferris created a giant, revolving observation wheel to provide visitors with a magnificent view of the fair from the Ferris Wheel Invention.

The Ferris Wheel Invention for the Ferris Wheel Invention
The Ferris Wheel Invention was a immense event combining entertainment and educational exhibits with the latest innovations and inventions. In just 6 months the Ferris Wheel Invention attracted over 27 million visitors from all over the world - and most of them couldn't resist a ride on the revolving observation they soon began to call the "Ferris Wheel".

Ferris Wheel Invention: The Idea
Daniel H. Burnham, the Architect and Construction Chief of the Ferris Wheel Invention, gave a speech to a group of architects and engineers who were interested in the World's Columbian Exposition, hoping to inspire enthusiasm for this monumental project.

George Ferris was in the audience, and like most of his associates admired the commanding Eiffel Tower, built by the engineer Gustave Eiffel, for the Paris Exposition of 1878. A similar exhibit would certainly create an impact, but nobody wanted to copy the French.

George Ferris went on to develop the idea of creating a giant revolving observation wheel to rival the Eiffel Tower.

Ferris Wheel Invention for kids: Who was the Inventor?
The inventor of the 'Big Wheel' therefore was George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. (1859-1896). He was a talented civil engineer and an astute businessman who specialized in large-scale engineering projects involving the construction of railroads and bridges. Based in Pittsburgh he owned two successful companies.

Facts about the Ferris Wheel Invention: Fun Facts for Kids
History and interesting info about the inventions displayed at the
Chicago World's Fair and the Ferris Wheel Invention. Fast Facts for kids are detailed below.

How tall was the first Ferris Wheel? It was 264 feet tall (80.4 meters), equivalent to a 26 storey building.

How big was the first Ferris Wheel? The entire steel structure weighed 4,100 tons. It was 825 feet in circumference and rotated on a 45-foot axle that  was 82 inches in diameter and weighed 56 tons. The axle alone was the largest piece of steel ever forged.

Many engineers believed the structure could never be built or operated

The machinery was powered by two of 1,000-horsepower steam engines.

It carried 36 cars, referred to as gondolas, which were 13 feet wide, 27 feet long and 9 feet high.

It could carry 60 passengers in each of the 36 gondolas, each fitted with 40 revolving chairs, with a total capacity of 2160 passengers per rotation.

It was built to withstand 150 mile-an-hour tornado force winds

Each gondola was staffed by a conductor wearing a uniform of a blue jacket and white pants. The role of the conductor was to look after the comfort and safety of the passengers, calming fears of those scared of heights and pointing out the attractions of the Chicago World's Fair.

Each of the 5 large plate glass windows on each side of the cars were fitted with heavy screens and the doors at each end were provided with secure locks

Each ride lasted about 10 minutes making two complete circuits

The view was spectacular providing the visitors with a panoramic view of the attractions and pavilions of the fair. On a clear day it was possible to see the surrounding states of Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan. from the top of the circuit.

The ride was located in the in Midway Plaisance and cost 50 cents per person, whereas the entrance to the exposition only cost 25 cents

It proved to be the most popular attraction at the Chicago World's Fair and made about $10,000 a day

It cost $250,000 and opened on June 21, 1893, seven weeks behind schedule

During the 19 weeks it was in operation during the exposition it carried 1,453,611 passengers

The attraction made $726,805.50 during the Expo, three times the cost of the attraction

It was so popular the whole structure was moved to Chicago’s North Side. It took 86 days and cost $14,833 to dismantle it.  It remained in operation for another 10 years

It was sold to the organizers of the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri

It was eventually dynamited on May 11, 1906

George Washington Gale Ferris died of tuberculosis in Pittsburgh shortly after the Chicago World's Fair on November 22, 1896. He was just 37 years old.
US American History
1881-1913: Maturation Era
Inventions & Inventors Timeline
Chicago World's Fair

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