The famous Ferris Wheel, designed and constructed by George Washington Ferris Jr a civil engineer from Chicago Illinois. The Ferris Wheel was invented in the 1890s the first being built for the Chicago world’s fair in 1893, the ride stood at a height of 80.4 metres (264 ft) making it the tallest attraction at the “World’s Columbian Exposition” where it first opened to the public on June 21st, 1893. It was intended to rival the 324-metre (1,063 ft) Eiffel Tower, the centerpiece of the 1989 Paris exposition.
Mr. Ferris’s invention weighed 1,300 tonnes and held over 1,400 passengers, it was the biggest Ferris Wheel in the world from 1893 to 1895 When the great wheel was built for the Empire of India Exhibition at Earls Court, London, in the United Kingdom. Construction began in March 1894 at the works of Maudslay, Sons, and Field in Greenwich and it opened to the public on 17 July 1895.
The wheel rotated on a 71 tonne, 45.5-foot axle comprising what was at that time the world’s largest hollow forging, manufactured in Pittsburgh by the Bethlehem Iron Company and weighing 40 tonnes, together with two 16-foot-diameter (4.9 m) cast-iron spiders weighing 24 tonnes.
There were 36 cars, each fitted with 40 revolving chairs and able to accommodate up to 60 people, giving a total capacity of 2,160. The wheel carried some 38,000 passengers daily and took 20 minutes to complete two revolutions, the first involving six stops to allow passengers to exit and enter and the second a nine-minute non-stop rotation, for which the ticket holder paid 50 cents.
The Exposition ended in October 1893, and the wheel closed in April 1894 and was dismantled and stored until the following year. It was then rebuilt on Chicago’s North Side, near Lincoln Park, next to an exclusive neighborhood. This prompted William D. Boyce, then a local resident, to file a Circuit Court action against the owners of the wheel to have it removed, but without success. It operated there from October 1895 until 1903, when it was again dismantled, then transported by rail to St. Louis for the 1904 World’s Fair and finally destroyed by controlled demolition using dynamite on May 11, 1906.