SH Archive 1893 Chicago Ferris Wheel: World's Columbian Exposition

SH.org OP Username
BrokenAgate
SH.org OP Date
2018-12-18 17:53:45
SH.org Reaction Score
16
SH.org Reply Count
7

Broken Agate

Well-Known Member
Trusted Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2020
Messages
102
Reaction score
280
Location
Arizona
1893 Worlds Fair Ferris Wheel compared to Navy Pier’s 1995 Ferris Wheel.jpg

The Ferris Wheel made its debut at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893. It was, of course, a big hit with fair goers, who enjoyed their first taste of this amazing ride that would become a carnival staple ever after. I knew these basic facts, but didn't really pay attention to the actual wheel, and I'm betting a lot of other people didn't, either. Now, you'd be perfectly normal in thinking that the first-ever Ferris Wheel would be a rather small, and perhaps not terribly safe, contraption. That's certainly what I assumed, somewhere in the back of my mind.
entrance.jpg
Turns out that the very first Ferris Wheel in the world was a highly technologically advanced and sophisticated machine, and it was ENORMOUS. Seriously, I cannot stress enough the sheer size of this thing. Take a look at these images. It towers over everything else in the fair, dominates the skyline for miles around, and look at the size of the individual cars! Each one is about the size of a mobile trailer home, and people can walk around quite comfortably inside them. Who the hell built this thing, and how did they do it? I'd love to see the factory that cranked out parts for this ride. Alas, no images or information exists of the construction of this monstrously huge carnival ride, which is very strange, but not at all surprising at this point. The more I look at these images, the more I am convinced that the actual machinery was found in situ, but it served a much different purpose than mere human entertainment, and was simply modified to make a happy-fun ride so that nobody would ask questions about where the thing came from.

The original Ferris Wheel
The Chicago Wheel, was designed and constructed by George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. With a height of 80.4 metres (264 ft) it was the tallest attraction at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, where it opened to the public on June 21, 1893. It was intended to rival the 324-metre (1,063 ft) Eiffel Tower, the centerpiece of the 1889 Paris Exposition.

Ferris was a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, bridge-builder. He began his career in the railroad industry and then pursued an interest in bridge building. Ferris understood the growing need for structural steel and founded G.W.G. Ferris & Co. in Pittsburgh, a firm that tested and inspected metals for railroads and bridge builders.

The wheel rotated on a 71-ton, 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 89,320 pounds, together with two 16-foot-diameter (4.9 m) cast-iron spiders weighing 53,031 pounds.

axle_ferris_wheel.jpg

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.

Ferris wheel closeup.jpg

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.

Ferris Wheel - Wikipedia
Ferris Wheel in the 1893 Chicago World's Fair
The Life and Explosive Death of the World's First Ferris Wheel
Note: This OP was recovered from the Wayback Archive.
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
Archive SH Archive 1893: the destruction of the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago Expositions and Exhibitions 3
KD Archive SH Archive Documentary: 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago Buildings and Structures 0
Archive SH Archive Tartarian Symbols at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair (Columbian Exposition) Expositions and Exhibitions 1
KD Archive SH Archive Moving sidewalks at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris General 0
M 1893 World Columbian Exposition impossibility? General 4
Timeshifter SH Archive 1893: Electric Life in 20th century. The past dressed as the future? Books and Comics 0
Archive SH Archive 1893-ish Yerkes Telescope: Largest Refracting Telescope Ever General 0
KD Archive SH Archive 1893: 100 MPH High Speed Electric Train General 0
KD Archive SH Archive 1893 Waldorf and Astoria Hotels in New York Buildings and Structures 0
KD Archive SH Archive 1862 vs. 1893: similar street cars 30 years apart? Electric or not? General 0
Archive SH Archive 1893 Salt Lake Temple and its Mysteries Buildings and Structures 0
Archive SH Archive Tragedy at the 1893 World's Fair: Fire killed 16 while crowds watched Buildings and Structures 0
row_of_eleven SH Archive The Raising of Chicago 1856 Buildings and Structures 0
KD Archive SH Archive UAP: 1934 Chicago World’s Fair Was Lame Expositions and Exhibitions 0
KD Archive SH Archive 1891 Monadnock Building, Chicago: still around Buildings and Structures 0
KD Archive SH Archive Chicago: pre-1871 fire photographs of the city Fires and Earthquakes 0
Archive SH Archive Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Illinois 1921 Buildings and Structures 0
Archive SH Archive Chicago and San Francisco linked by hydraulics and fires. General 0

Similar threads

Users who are viewing this thread

Top