Ferris Wheel origins

   The Ferris Wheel is one of the most popular rides at carnivals, fairs, and amusement parks. The most famous Ferris wheel was invented by George Washington Gale Ferris, an American civil engineer. It was constructed for the World's Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1893 and was the largest, except one, that has ever been built. The original wheel was 250 feet high and had 36 cars, each with space for 60 passengers. It was very popular, and a ride on it was one of the highlights of any visit to the exposition. From the top the passengers could see far across the lake and out over the city. The largest wheel ever built was erected in 1894 in London. It was inspired by the Ferris wheel and was designed by an American marine engineer, J. W. Graydon. The London wheel was 328 feet high and had 40 cars, each with a capacity of 30 passengers. The same builder, Walter B. Bassett of Devon, England, erected the famous Prater wheel in Vienna, which has been operating for more than 60 years except for the war years 1914-1918 and 1939-1945. The original Ferris wheel was taken from Chicago and set up at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis in 1904. When the exposition closed, the wheel was torn down and sold for scrap.