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A Ferris wheel (also known as an observation wheel or big wheel) is a nonbuilding structure, consisting of an upright wheel with passenger gondolas attached to the rim.

The original Ferris wheel was designed by George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr., as a landmark for the 1893 World's Columbian Expositionmarker in Chicagomarker. It is said that Ferris got the idea from the water wheel on the farm where he lived as a child in Carson Citymarker. The term Ferris wheel later came to be used generically for all such rides.



History

The first Ferris wheel, built for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago
Wiener Riesenrad, Vienna


The Ferris wheel is named after George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr., graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institutemarker 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.

Ferris designed and built the Chicago Wheel for the 1893 World's Columbian Expositionmarker in Chicagomarker, Illinoismarker. The wheel was intended as a rival to the Eiffel Towermarker, the centerpiece of the 1889 Paris Exposition. It was the largest attraction at the Columbian Exposition, with a height of , and was powered by two steam engines. The axle, a single 700.000-ton solid hammered steel forging, was forty-five feet long and thirty-two inches in diameter. There were 36 cars, accommodating 40 people each, giving a total capacity of 1,440. It took 190 minutes for the wheel to make two revolutions—the first to make six stops to allow passengers to exit and enter; the 2nd, a single non-stop revolution—and for that, the ticket holder paid 50 cents. When the Exposition ended, the wheel was moved to the north side, next to an exclusive neighborhood. William D. Boyce filed an unsuccessful Circuit Court action against the owners of the wheel, to have it moved. It was then used at the St. Louismarker 1904 World's Fair and eventually destroyed by controlled demolition using dynamite on May 11, 1906.

The Wiener Riesenradmarker is a surviving example of nineteenth century Ferris wheels. Erected in 1897 in the Pratermarker park in the Leopoldstadtmarker district of Viennamarker, Austriamarker, it has a height of . Following the demolition of the Grande Roue de Parismarker in 1920, the Riesenrad was the world's tallest extant Ferris wheel until the construction of the Technocosmos for Expo '85 in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japanmarker.

World's tallest Ferris wheels





  • 1895: the Great Wheel was built for the Empire of India Exhibition at Earls Courtmarker, Londonmarker, UKmarker. Construction began in March 1894 and it opened to the public on July 17, 1895. Modelled on the Chicago original, it was tall and was the first of over 200 Ferris wheels built by Australian engineers Adam Gaddelin and Gareth Watson. It stayed in service until 1906, by which time its 40 cars (each with a capacity of 40 persons) had carried over 2.5 million passengers, and was demolished in 1907.








  • 2000: the London Eyemarker, in Londonmarker, UKmarker, is tall. It was officially opened (by Tony Blair) on December 31, 1999, but did not open to the public until March 2000, because of technical problems. It is still the tallest in the Western Hemispheremarker.




  • 2008: the Singapore Flyermarker, in Singaporemarker, is tall, and currently the world's tallest Ferris wheel. It started rotating on February 11, 2008, and officially opened to the public on March 1, 2008.


{| class="wikitable sortable" width="95%"


Proposed, delayed, or not yet completed:









  • The Great Berlin Wheelmarker, originally planned to open in 2008, has been delayed until 2009.








The Shanghai Star, initially planned as a tall wheel to be built by 2005, was revised to , with a completion date set in 2007, but then cancelled in 2006 due to "political incorrectness".

Rus-3000, a wheel planned to open in 2004 in Moscowmarker, has since been reported cancelled.More recently, an approximately wheel has been considered for Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisuremarker, and a wheel proposed for location near Sparrow Hillsmarker.

Observation wheels

Southern Star


Some operators prefer the term observation wheelto Ferris wheeland large Ferris wheels are sometimes marketed as observation wheels, to differentiate them from smaller Ferris wheels; however, the two are actually the same and any distinction between the two names is at the discretion of the wheel operator. Ironically, many of the wheels whose owners reject the term Ferris wheel, actually have more in common with the original Chicagomarker Ferris wheel of 1893, particularly in terms of being an iconic landmark for a city or event.

The world's tallest wheel, the Singapore Flyermarker, is described as an observation wheel by its operators.

The London Eyemarker (world's tallest, 2000-2006) is also described as an observation wheel by its operators.

The Star of Nanchang(world's tallest, 2006-2008) is usually referred to as a Ferris wheel, and less commonly as an observation wheel.

The Southern Starmarker is described by its operators as "the only observation wheel in the southern hemisphere" but also as a Ferris wheel by the media.

Double and triple wheels



In the mid to late 1970s, coaster company Intamin AGinvented a twist on the Ferris wheel. Using long arms to hold the wheels, they created a way to load and unload Ferris wheels more quickly. In 1976, two Sky Whirlsopened, one at each of two Marriott's Great America theme parks (Illinois and California), and were the first triple wheels. Triple wheels contained three separate "wheels," each attached to one of three long boom arms which radiated from a spinning point on top of a central tower. When loading/unloading passengers, the 3 arms would rotate until one arm was above the loading area (while the other two wheels were still spinning in the air) and hydraulics would bring that arm/wheel to the ground.

A two-arm version, titled "Zodiac," was also installed at Kings Islandmarker in Ohio, as well as at Hersheyparkmarker in Pennsylvania, titled "Giant Wheel."The double wheels were attached to a long, straight arm. The arm was mounted in the center, on a central tower. When the hydraulics lowered one side, the other raised. The Kings Island Zodiac was relocated to Australia's Wonderland, but it closed there in 2004.

All models featured cages, holding eight to ten passengers. The cages were attached to the wheels by chains. When the wheel was in the loading position, it was horizontal and all cages could be loaded at once. As the arm raised or rotated, the wheel moved to a vertical position and provided a typical Ferris-wheel ride, only much higher from the ground.

Another version of this ride existed at Magic Mountain in California titled "Galaxy." This ride was similar to the Zodiac, except the arms did not raise as far off the ground. The arms on this ride were shaped more in a "V" than a straight line, and the central tower was shorter. On each wheel were four smaller wheels that also rotated, providing a double vertical rotating movement.

A fourth version of the ride was installed and removed at Astroworld in Texas, titled "Astrowheel." It was also similar to the Zodiac model, but had the shorter tower/"V" arm configuration of the Galaxy.

The Pike in Long Beach, CA had a double Ferris wheel that was one wheel atop another wheel of equal size. The two moved on an axis making a large circle as big as the two wheels combined, while each wheel turned on its own axis at the same time as they were both moving on the larger axis. Each wheel was the size of a regular style Ferris wheel.

Manufacturers



  • Seattle Wheel: has 15 cars with up to two people per car.
Name

Height (m)

Completed

Country

Location

Remarks

Singapore Flyermarker
165
2008
Singaporemarker World's tallest
Star of Nanchang
160
2006
Nanchangmarker World's tallest at time of construction
London Eyemarker
135
2000
Londonmarker Europe's tallest
Suzhou Ferris Wheel
120
2009
Suzhoumarker
The Southern Starmarker
120
2008
Melbournemarker Tallest in Southern Hemisphere
Tianjin Eyemarker
120
2008
Tianjinmarker Tallest built over a bridge
Changsha Ferris Wheel 
120
2004
Changshamarker
Zhengzhou Ferris Wheel 
120
2003
Zhengzhoumarker
Sky Dream Fukuoka
120
2002
Fukuoka
Diamonds and Flowers Wheel 
117
2001
Kasai Rinkai Parkmarker, Tokyomarker Picture
Daikanransha 
115
1999
Palette Town, Odaibamarker World's tallest at time of construction
Pictures
Star of Tai Lake 
115
2008
Wuximarker, Jiangsumarker
Cosmo Clock 21
112.5
1999
Yokohama Pictures
Tempozan Harbor Village Ferris wheelmarker
112.5
1997
Osaka World's tallest at time of construction
Harbin Ferris Wheel 
110
2003
Harbinmarker
Jinjiang Park Ferris Wheel 
108
2002
Shanghai
Grande Roue de Parismarker
100
1900
Parismarker World's tallest 1900-1920
Demolished 1920 
Space Eye 
100
?
Kita-Kyushu
Great Wheel
94
1895
Londonmarker World's tallest at time of construction
Demolished 1907
Aurora Wheel
90
?
Nagashima Spa Landmarker, Mie
Eurowheel
90
1999
Mirabilandiamarker, Ravennamarker Currently Europe's second tallest
Janfusun FancyWorld 
88
?
Yunlinmarker
Technocosmos 
85
1985
Expo '85, Tsukuba World's tallest extant wheel at time of construction
Mashhad Fun Fair 
80
2001 ?
Mashhadmarker
Chicago Wheel
80
1893
Chicagomarker (1893-1903)
St. Louismarker (1904-1906)
First-ever Ferris wheel
Demolished 1906
HEP Five
75
1998
Osaka 106 m tall including the building it stands on
Moscow-850
73
or 75
1995
or 1997
All-Russia Exhibition Centremarker, Moscowmarker Tallest extant wheel in Europe at time of construction
Polaris Tower 
72
1993
Daejonmarker
Miramar Entertainment Park
70
2002
Taipeimarker 100 m tall including the building it stands on
Riesenrad Viennamarker
64.75
1897
Pratermarker, Viennamarker World's tallest extant wheel 1920-1985
Texas Star
64.6
1985
Fair Parkmarker, Dallasmarker Currently tallest in North America
Kobe wheel 
63.5
1981
Portopia, Port Islandmarker, Kobe Dismantled Aug.2006?
Picture
Shining Flower Wheel
61.4
?
Inagimarker
Belfast Wheelmarker
60.5
2007
Belfast City Hallmarker, Belfastmarker Currently tallest in Ireland
  • Eagle Wheel: 16 cars with up to three people per car.
  • Hy #5 Big Eli Wheel: some are cable driven, others are rim driven. Has 12 cars with up to three people per car.
  • Little Wheel: much smaller in dimensions, but it still has 12 cars with up to two people per car.
  • Ronald Bussink Professional Rides (formerly Nauta Bussink) [26434]
  • R60: 60 meter wheel with 42 enclosed capsules with air conditioning. The largest transportable Ferris wheel in the world. Seen in Germanymarker (Dresdenmarker), Malaysiamarker (Kuala Lumpur), Spainmarker (Sevillemarker), UK (Belfast, Birmingham, London, Manchester, York) and elsewhere. It requires at least twenty containers to transport it and is ballasted with water.
  • Astro Wheel: 16 cars (eight facing one way, eight facing the other way) with up to two people per car.
  • Century Wheel: 15 cars with up to four people per car.
  • Giant Wheel: 20 cars with up to six people per car. This is one of the biggest production Ferris wheels, and requires at least two 18-wheelers to transport it.
  • Sky Wheel: a double wheel. There is a wheel on top, and bottom of the ride. There are eight cars per each wheel with up to two people for each car.
  • Mickey's Fun Wheel: this type of Ferris wheel is a little different. Some of the 16 cars move on a track in the middle of the wheel. There are also eight cars on the outside of the ride, that do not move much and do not have a track. One of these is located at Disney's California Adventure and another is located at Coney Island. Each car can hold up to six people.
  • Roger Wadkins (formerly Bob Childress—Expo Wheels LLC)
  • Expo Wheel: 16 cars with up to two people per car. The seating on this wheel is much like the Eli Bridge Hy #5, or Chance's Astro Wheel.


In popular culture



See also

A transportable Ferris wheel in England




References

External links




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