The Ferris Wheel and Some Interesting Facts.
A Ferris wheel is an amusement park ride containing a rotating upright wheel. It can carry multiple passengers in carrying compartments also known as cabins, pods or capsules. Furthermore, the pods are attached to the rim of the wheel in such a way that as it turns, the pods remain upright. Below, we will look at the World’s tallest Ferris Wheels. Read on to find out more!
Origination of Ferris Wheel?
The first Ferris wheel was developed and built by George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. as a central attraction for the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. Therefore, even though such wheels were developed centuries before Ferris’, we still use the generic term ‘Ferris wheel’. The Ferris wheel has become the most common type of ride at fairs and amusement parks all over the world.
History of the Ferris Wheel
A contraption is known as ‘Pleasure wheels’ originated in 17th century Bulgaria. Patients rode in chairs suspended from big wooden rings that were rotated by strong men. Then, Pietro Della Valle, a Roman traveller visited a Ramadan festival in Constantinople, in 1615. He described the atmosphere, festival fireworks as well a Great wheel that he rode. Similar wheels were also built in England and other places around the world, including Romania, India and Siberia.
A Frenchman named Antonio Manguino bought the idea of a pleasure wheel to America in 1848. He then went on to build a wooden pleasure wheel to attract visitors.
William Somers’ Wheel, invented in 1892, was the immediate precursor to the original Ferris Wheel. Then, in 1892, Somers installed three fifty-foot wooden wheels at Atlantic City and Asbury Park, New Jersey, as well as Coney Island, New York. Following thing, he was granted the first U.S. patent for a “Roundabout”.
A fun fact: George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. rode on Somers’ wheel in Atlantic City before designing his wheel for the World’s Columbian Exposition. In fact, Somers even filed a lawsuit against George Ferris for patent infringement. However, as the technology of the Ferris Wheel was significantly different from Somers’ wheel, the case was dismissed.
The Original Ferris wheel
In 1890, Daniel Burnham was tasked with turning a square mile of Chicago into a dazzling showpiece. He assembled an all-star team of designers to make magnificent structures that would attract the attention of all the people. However, as the plans for the fair began to take shape, an empty spot for its central attraction remained. To fill up the space, the architects involved decided to come up with “something novel, bold and unique.” This thought proved to be lucky for George Washington Gale Ferris Jr.
George Ferris Jr. was a 33-year-old engineer from Pittsburgh whose company was tasked with inspecting the steel used by the fair. During one of his routine inspections, he was struck with the idea of a Ferris wheel and he quickly sketched the design for a huge revolving steel wheel. After adding in specifications, he shared the idea with Burnham, who ridiculed the idea as it was not possible for such slender rods to carry people to a height taller than the Statue of Liberty.
Ferris, then more determined, spent $25,000 of his own money on safety studies. He also hired more engineers and recruited investors. Eventually, the 80.4-meter high wheen came into being. It contained 100,000 parts notably an 89,320-pound axle.
After its launch on June 21, 1893, over 1.4 million people paid 50 cents for a 20-minute ride and view an aerial panorama of Chicago city. Intending to contend against the 324-metre tall Eiffel Tower, the Ferris Wheel was a huge success.
About the Original Ferris wheel
There were 36 cabins, each fitted with 40 chairs which could accommodate up to 60 people. Thus, the total capacity was 2,160 people. Furthermore, the wheel took 20 minutes to complete two revolutions. The first involved six stops so that passengers can enter and exit the cabins and the second, a nine-minute rotation. Ticket holders paid 50 cents to enjoy this ride.
The fair ended in October of 1893. The wheel was shut down in April of 1894. It was dismantled and stored for use in the following year. Then it was rebuilt on Chicago’s North Side, near Lincoln Park. It operated here from October 1895 to 1903. Then, it was again dismantled and transported to St. Louis for the 1904 World’s Fair. The Ferris wheel was finally destroyed using dynamite on May 11, 1906.
Variations of the Ferris Wheel
Motorised capsules are wheels with passenger cars mounted external to the rim. The passenger cars are independently spun by electric motors contrary to Ferris Wheels, where the cabins suspended are kept upright due to gravity. They are also called ‘Observation wheels’.
There are only four Ferris wheels with motorised capsules in the world.
- The first one is the High Roller, which is the world tallest Ferris wheel since March 2014. It stands at an astounding 167.6 cm. Furthermore, it contains externally mounted motorised capsules of a transparent spherical design.
- The next one is the Singapore Flyer which has cylindrical externally mounted motorised capsules. It is 165 m or 541 ft high.
- London eye is another motorised capsule Ferris wheel. It is 135 m or 443 ft and has ovoidal externally mounted capsules. It is the “world’s highest cantilevered observation wheel”.
- Lastly, is the 120 m high Melbourne Star in Australia which also has ovoidal externally mounted capsules. It is the only observation wheel in the southern hemisphere”
A centreless wheel design does not contain a central hub. Furthermore, the rim of the wheel remains fixed in place. Instead, each capsule travels around the circumference of the rim.
The first centreless wheel built was the Big O at Tokyo Dome City in Japan. It is 60-metre high. In 2017, the 145 meters or 475.7 ft high Bailang River Bridge Ferris Wheel opened on the upper tier of the Bailang River Bridge in Shandong Province, China. Furthermore, the first centreless wheel in North America opened at the indoor Méga Parc in Quebec City, Canada, in January 2019.
Originally posted on The Ferris Wheel!