The Big Ferris Wheel

Chief Sensation of the World's Fair.
Inventor Declared a Genius
When He First Broached His Plans to the Directors of the World's Fair
They Thought He Was Crazy--

The Ferris Wheel Turns and Mrs. Ferris Gives a Toast:
Her Husband's Health and the Wheel's Success--
Two Carloads of More or Less Nervous Guests Join Her in Drinking It.

George W. Ferris

The Ferris Wheel was the engineering highlight of the exposition and one of the most pervasive, lasting influences of the 1893 fair. The Ferris Wheel was Chicago's answer to the Eiffel Tower, the landmark of the 1889 Paris exhibition. The wheel was created by Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania bridge builder George W. Ferris. Supported by two 140 foot steel towers, its 45 foot axle was the largest single piece of forged steel at the time in the world. The wheel itself had a diameter of 250 feet, a circumference of 825 feet, and the maximum height was 264 feet. It was powered by two 1000 horsepower reversible engines. It had 36 wooden cars that could each hold 60 people. The Ferris Wheel grossed $726,805.50 during its short time in operation, at 50 cents per ride. The profit of approx. $300,000 was of great benefit toward balancing the books of the exposition. The wheel was dismantled in mid-1894, after the fair, and reused at the St. Louis exposition in 1904. The original Ferris Wheel was scrapped in 1906. But, the influence of the engineering and entertainment marvel can be readily seen by the large number of Ferris Wheels of various types at fairs and entertainment grounds around the world.

As It Stands in Midway Plaisance

Everyone has to get in the Act

London Eye
The World's largest Ferris Wheel -
Opened in 2000 to honour the millennium, the London Eye is the world's biggest observation wheel.

Shanghai vows to build world's largest Ferris wheel
Thursday, July 04, 2022
News-Journal wire services

London's? It'll be bigger than that. Vegas? Forget about it.

Shanghai, China's commercial hub, plans to add a 660-foot Ferris wheel to its skyline by 2005 -- unseating a British wheel as the world's largest, the China Daily newspaper asserted Wednesday, quoting a city newspaper, Shanghai Daily.

April 3, 2023

A factory that used to build supersecret armaments for the Soviet military has been handed a new mission: to construct the world's largest Ferris wheel with a mini-bar and washroom in every car and erect it on a hill overlooking downtown Moscow.

March 2001

This spring, at Kasai Rinkai Park, where you can feel the sea breezes and commune with nature along the bay, a new attraction called the "Diamonds & Flowers Giant Ferris Wheel" will be unveiled!

Japan World Exposition in 1970.

Hitachi Sunrise Park Co. Ltd. manages the pleasure garden in the state-owned Hitachi Seaside Park.

Yokohama Exposition


Steeplechase Park, Coney Island- New York

Steeplechase Park is one of the most famous (and most influential) amusement parks in the industry's history. The owner, George C. Tilyou, was P.T. Barnum, Rockefeller and Teddy Roosevelt all rolled into one.  Tilyou was impressed by George Ferris's 250-foot ferris wheel at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and tried to buy it. Unfortunately for Tilyou, the wheel had already been sold to St. Louis for their 1904 fair. Undaunted, he bought a 125-foot wheel and erected a sign at Coney that read, "On this site will be erected the world's largest Ferris Wheel." The wheel ran at Steeplechase for the entire time the park operated, finally giving its last rides during the 1964 season. Mary Tilyou kept the ride at the park in George's memory.