First "Ferris" wheel
George W. Ferris
United States (Midway, Chicago)
The original "Ferris" wheel was designed by George Washington Gale Ferris Jr (1859-96), an American bridge and tunnel engineer, and was erected for the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago, Illinois, USA at a cost of $385,000. The "Ferris" wheel as it became known reached a maximum height of 80 m (264 ft) above the ground, with a diameter of 76 m (250 ft) and a circumference of 240 m (790 ft). Each of the 36 fully enclosed gondolas carried upto 40 passengers in revolving chairs and the wheel weighed around 1,300 tonnes (2.866 million lb) unladen. The admission price to the "Ferris" wheel was 50c, the same price as admission to the Exposition itself. Following the closure of the Expo, the "Ferris" wheel was dismantled and moved to North Clark Street, Chicago and eventually to St Louis Missouri in time for the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition. On 11 May 1906 it was finally demolished using a 200 lb dynamite charge and sold for scrap.George Ferris died a poor man on 22 Nov 1896 at the age of 37. Financial problems and the reorganisation of the Ferris Wheel Company had continued to haunt him right up until his death from typhoid fever.