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.
Ferris Wheel Invention for the Ferris Wheel Invention
Ferris Wheel Invention: The Idea
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?
Facts about the Ferris Wheel Invention: Fun Facts for Kids
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 operatedThe 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 windsEach 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 locksEach 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 dayIt 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 passengersThe 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 yearsIt was sold to the organizers of the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri
It was eventually dynamited on May 11, 1906George 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.
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