The Ferris Wheel: A Guide to Dealing with Nay Sayers
Has anyone ever told you you’re crazy? You hit them with an idea you’re super stoked about, only to have them slap it down with a callous wave of the hand. I’ve received plenty of this as an aspiring writer, and those wave-offs can hurt. They can chip away at you until the doubt hijacks your passion and creativity. It takes a strong person to block all those “no ways” and “it can’t be done” chorus lines. Someone who believes in the power of their vision and what’s more, they believe in their ability to accomplish it. It takes someone with confidence, someone with smarts and boldness …. someone like George Ferris.
Born in 1859 in Galesburg, Illinois, George and his family moved to Carson Valley Nevada in 1864. George left in 1875 to attend the California Military Academy in Oakland, where he graduated in 1876. He also completed a stint at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, where he left with a degree in Civil Engineering in 1881. Armed with memberships in prominent engineering societies, and a keen interest in bridge building, George set out to Pittsburg to work on the railroad. Life seemed ready to fall into place… until he saw a peculiar newspaper announcement in 1891.
By then, talk had turned to action for the organizers and board of the globally famous Chicago World’s Fair, or “World’s Columbian Exposition,” – scheduled to open in 1893. Envious of the Eiffel Tower and the stir it caused at the 1889 Paris International Exposition, the US yearned to strike back. They needed a grand exhibition, something that would knock the Eiffel tower off its engineering marvel perch. The newspaper announcement George Ferris saw posed a direct challenge to the engineers of America – get your brains in gear and give us something to brag about.
At a prominent engineering conference, where Daniel Burnham himself (one of the main organizers of the Chicago World’s fair), gave a rousing plea for a headliner exhibition, George Ferris got an idea.
A wheel. A really, really big wheel, bigger than most buildings at the time. Big enough to attach train cars and carry about two thousand people around. Big enough to cause an absolute disaster if it wasn’t handled with perfect precision. Would it outshine the Eiffel tower? Maybe. Was it feasible to build? Perhaps. Was it the craziest thing anyone had ever heard of? You betcha.
That didn’t stop George Ferris. Along with some of his Pittsburg colleagues, he began frantic calculations to get the wheel in his head onto paper. That alone proved a challenge, because they had nothing to go on. No one had set precedents for something like this, no former plans or rulebooks could guide them. Ferris would have to create his own rulebook, and he would have to stake thousands of lives on the confidence he had done a good enough job. He blasted out some rough sketches, put them in a nice little presentation, and he submitted it to the Chicago World’s Fair.
Burnham and company wanted an idea to shock and awe, but the wheel came off as a bit much. This wild engineer pitched something that could turn a world’s fair into a world massacre if one little bolt wasn’t screwed in right. Some of the committee insulted Ferris outright, deeming his contraption a “monstrosity” and his mind questionable at best. Crazy. Impossible. No way! They stamped two separate Ferris inquiries with a big fat no, and they moved on to the next brainy hopefuls in line.
Most would have left it at that. I mean, rejected outright, twice in a row, would sting a bit. However, the rejections only stoked George’s ambition. Determined to have his way with the Columbian Exposition, he dropped an astounding twenty-five thousand dollars on top-of-the-line drawings for his idea, and he used them to entice the one thing that always turns heads – money. George Ferris rounded up a hoard of prominent investors, and the publicity began to stack up. With that kind of power behind him, in November of 1892, George submitted his wheel to the World’s Fair one more time.
They say the third time is the charm. Perhaps Mr. Ferris had something to do with that, because this time, with all the excited buzz around the wheel and all the money behind it, Burnham’s committee threw their hands in the air and gave in. “Fine, go build your damn wheel!” Alright, they probably didn’t say that. But in this case, George Ferris was one heck of a squeaky wheel (Ferris. Wheel. Puns.) and at long last, he got the grease.
They had little time before the fair opened, so George Ferris quickly gathered a team to start construction. He tapped engineer Luther V. Rice, a bigwig at the Union Depot & Tunnel Company, to spearhead the effort on the ground. He also revealed the full scope of his incredible vision – the exact size of the wheel, which would throw a shadow over Lady Liberty and carry thirty-six Pullman-sized cars, each with its own lunch counter and a sixty-person capacity.
It was a grand, sparkling vision on paper, but real life weaved a much different story. The winter of 1892-93 caused a myriad of delays, as did a massive carpenters strike in Chicago, and a handful of deadly accidents on other parts of the fairgrounds. It put the fear of God into the builders and engineers alike. So did the myriads of mechanical issues that came from never-before-tested calculations and building methods. By April, only one of the towers to hold the wheel in place had risen from the earth.
Then came the rains. In mid-April, rain saturated the entire fair grounds as well as half of Chicago. The deluge made biblical chaos at the half-constructed wheel site, where excavations for the towers became flooded and practically unusable. Not even twenty-four-hour pumps could keep up with the madness. Although the opening date for the fair loomed just days away, George’s crazy wheel was nowhere close to ready.
The Chicago World’s Columbian Exhibition, or Chicago World’s Fair, opened on May 1, 1893. Yet its star attraction remained only half built. June dawned before workers at the wheel placed the completed structure, minus the cars, on its monstrous tower mounts. It teetered high above Chicago at 264 feet, conquering the city’s tallest skyscraper and dwarfing everything else in a visible radius.
Then came the wheel’s first rotation on June 9. It flung a rain shower of loose hardware, and it released a mighty squeal from the very questionable braking system, but it didn’t topple or take any lives – a monumental achievement, since the whole venture had rested on calculations alone. No one knew how the steel and iron would respond to that kind of stress. Engineers remained unsure if the almost 30,000 bolts holding the 100,000+ pieces of hardware together could sustain the pressure.
Be that as it may, the turning wheel caused so much excitement that several fair personnel, including performers, engineers, and workers, climbed aboard the bare planks where the cars would eventually rest. As the wheel took them around, they shouted, cheered, and blasted jolly tunes on brass instruments. Mrs. Ferris, who had come in her husband’s stead to watch the first turn, beamed with pride (safely on the ground).
The news of the successful test rotation must have been a relief to George Ferris, whose pet wheel project had ground enough gears in his head. Burnham continually pestered him about the past due completion date, debts to suppliers still hadn’t been paid, and mechanical problems continued to flare up one after the other. By the time it made its first rotation, Ferris had allegedly told his man on the ground to “turn the wheel or tear it off the tower.” A statement proving just how much our passions can also be a pain in the backside.
At least one test had passed, but the cars still needed mounted, and Ferris wouldn’t waste any more time. From his office in Pittsburg, he fired off a telegram to his Chicago team. He congratulated them for the success of the first turn, but he also asked “that you rush the putting in of cars working day and night.” In other words – no time for celebrations, we’ve got a job to finish.
What a job, too. Each of the thirty-six cars carried a weight tag of thirteen tons. When loaded full of passengers, it would add 200,000 pounds of extra weight to a wheel already plagued with a million question marks. Two days after the wheel’s first turn, six cars hung from it, and the engineers decided to try some passengers.
The first volunteer was an adamant Mrs. Ferris. Workers herded her and a handful of others into the car while one of the wheel’s lead engineers, W.F. Gronau, conducted a thorough inspection. Once he did everything in his power to assure a safe ride, he tossed the dice and stepped on board. “I felt squeamish,” he admitted, “yet I could not refuse to take the trip.”
Conductors closed and secured the car door (although it had no windows or security bars), and the wheel jerked into motion. Groans and cranking noises stabbed the nerves of already jittery passengers. About half-way up, the entire wheel shuddered and came to a stop. The passengers threw each other nervous glances while Gronau peered down below. Unable to contain their excitement, a mob of passengers had descended on the second car, and the wheel engineer had decided to let them board.
When the wheel jolted back into motion, the first car began a fast ascent towards the peak. “It seemed as if everything was dropping away from us… Standing at the side of the car and looking into the network of iron rods multiplied the peculiar sensation…” I think Grenau referred to an early case of motion sickness, but his stomach stayed strong and so did the other passengers. They soon reached the highest point of the wheel, and a lively Mrs. Ferris gave a resounding cheer.
Gronau, while the wheel creaked and the breeze tussled his hair, found himself speechless. “It was a most beautiful sight… the whole fair grounds laid before you,” he later penned. “The harbor was dotted with vessels of every description, which appeared mere specks from our exalted position, and the reflected rays of the beautiful sunset cast a gleam upon the surrounding scenery, making a picture lovely to behold…. All conversation stopped, and all were lost in admiration of this grand sight.”
Over the next few days, the wheel’s crew fastened on the remaining cars at a frantic pace. Gronau completed countless final inspections in preparation for full loads of passengers. Then, late in the afternoon of June 21, 1893, George Ferris’s vision became a stunning and complete reality. All thirty-six cars gleamed from the shining wheel, and Burnham gave clearance to begin accepting paying passengers.
The first official Ferris Wheel ride was nothing short of a spectacle. Each car quickly brimmed to capacity. The entire Iowa State Marching Band loaded into one of them and kept things lively with their instruments. The Mayor arrived, as did the entire Chicago city council and most of the fair’s organizers and officials. George Ferris himself had finally arrived from Pittsburg, and he gave a rousing speech from a podium erected in the shadow of his creation. The man “with wheels in his head” had really showed everyone up for calling him crazy. He gave mad props to his wife too, who not only supported him all the way, but also risked life and limb to be one of the first passengers.
For the entire rest of the day and late into the night, only stopping to load and unload, Ferris’ wonder wheel rolled and rolled, taking thousands of squealing passengers on the rides of their lives. Despite the staggering weight, not a single beam struggled. No bolts came loose. The construction and calculations proved sound. In one mind-blowing evening, the Eiffel Tower of Paris had met its circular match.
In its first two weeks alone, the Ferris wheel garnered over 61,000 ticket sales. While a few panic attacks ensued from height jitters and claustrophobia, most of the stories emerging from the wheel were enchanting. Countless couples got engaged in the charming wheel cars, and a few lucky passengers snuck in full-blown wedding ceremonies on top of the world.
By the fair’s end, George Ferris, whom everyone had once called crazy, earned more than $200,000 dollars in ticket sales for the World Columbian Exposition, and he got to pocket half. He also earned a coveted place in history, as his wheel eventually took firm root in American and world culture. In today’s modern era, Ferris Wheels only seem to get more popular. High-tech versions have become central attractions in many major cities across the globe. Fair grounds continue to display their own tumbling wheels, some with extra flare like cars that flip upside down, and cars that rotate and move on their tracks.
As for the original Ferris Wheel, it remained in place until 1894, quietly watching over the city of Chicago long after the fair had ended. Ferris tried to move his creation to Chicago’s North side, but the costs of taking it down and transporting it, coupled with a nationwide depression, hit his interests hard. So did the many lawsuits from his unpaid debts. By 1896, the strain had ended his marriage and lost Ferris ownership of his own creation. He died later that year from Typhoid fever at thirty-seven – a very sad ending for the bright, bold engineer who refused to ignore the wheels in his head.
In 1903, a Chicago wrecking company bought his wheel at auction for just over $8,000 dollars, only to earn a staggering amount of profits when they displayed it at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904. After that, they figured the wheel had reached its peak and they destroyed it for scrap in 1906.
Despite the Ferris Wheel’s somewhat sad ending, I have to appreciate the brass of that George Ferris. I mean, I’ve had plenty of nay sayers along my own journey, and I’m just trying to write and publish some books. The people who called Ferris crazy, especially in those days, had a valid point. A giant wheel? Human passengers? Thousands of tons in weight? Are you kidding me? Yet, George Ferris knew he could make the wheel in his head a reality. When everyone else said, “no you can’t,” he just said – “watch me.”
Perhaps there’s a lesson in that. If someone calls you crazy, just work harder. Let them enjoy the show. Whether it’s writing a book, pursuing a passion project, travelling, skydiving, or building a giant crazy death wheel – the sky, so much higher than 264 feet, is truly the limit. Even if you don’t quite make it, you can still take one hell of a ride.
George Ferris’ Grand Idea – J. Glatzer
Devil in the White City – E. Larson
Smithsonian Magazine – “the Brief History of the Ferris Wheel”
All photos by M.B. Henry – please enjoy more by viewing my photo gallery.
A great story, albeit a sad ending.
Definitely thought the ending was a bit sad 🙁 But comforting that the wheel has survived in some form even into the modern era 🙂 So glad you liked the post
Thank you for the lesson in persistence! Great story!
Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed it
What a cool piece of history! Thank you M.B.
I have read that when the wheel was dismantled parts of it were thrown into the Mississippi River. Great article and history lesson.
Oh wow – I hadn’t heard that part of it! Most of the research I found only said it was dynamited. What a great detail, thanks for sharing! 🙂 So glad you enjoyed the post
I am originally from Iowa and have many ties to Iowa State University and had never heard about their band playing during that time.
Hey! I’m originally from Iowa too! Although I’m a Hawkeye alum so look out 😉
Thats Ok two of our kids went there, one to ISU. Can’t bet in state tuition!! We root for the Hawks too except when they play the Cyclones. 😊
Fair enough! 🙂 Mine was a “house divided” also – a couple of my siblings went to ISU
Marvelously told story. You have a real talent for this.
Many, many thanks! I’m so very glad you enjoyed it
I love Ferris wheels! There is a magical lesson in each and every one! 🙂
That’s the absolute truth! 🙂 Glad you liked the post
Isn’t this an amazing story?? I read about it in a fabulous book called Devil in the White City by Eric Larson where he follows the trail of a serial killer operating in the City as people flocked to the World Fair and the Ferris Wheel. Such a great read. Thanks for reminding me, Mel
Ah yes, that is actually one of my source materials listed at the end of the post, as I got a lot of information from it for this article. I am a huge Erik Larson fan and I think that is one of his best books. I also really like “In the Garden of Beasts,” and I have his new one “Splendid and the Vile,” but haven’t read it yet. So glad you liked the post!
Sorry – I should have read the fine print! I must keep my eye out for those titles, The only other one of his I have read is Thunderstruck. I think White City is better, but now I am intrigued to read more of his work.
Ah no worries, it’s kind of hard to see since I have it tucked away at the bottom of the article. And trust me, I never mind an excuse to talk about Erik Larson. I have Thunderstruck on my shelf as well, but haven’t managed to get to it yet. So far, Devil in the White City is my favorite work of his, but I do still have a lot of catching up to do! 🙂
So many books, so little time!! Even in iso!! 😉
Vision made the Ferris wheel go around MB, and it makes the world go around. We could use a lot more of it today! Great tale. And you will succeed/are succeeding. 🙂 –Curt
I totally agree about vision – and I thank you for your kind words always! 🙂
Great story as always. I first learned the story from The Devil in the White City, but you supplied so much more. Always love your posts, keep up the great work.
I actually used Devil in the White City as one of my primary sources – it is SUCH an excellent book. I couldn’t put it down when I first read it! Have you read anything else by Larson? He has a lot of good ones.
This is great! My hometown in Illinois is the home of the Big Eli Wheel and the Eli Bridge Company, which has been one of the biggest manufacturers of Ferris Wheels since 1900, when its founder W. E. Sullivan put together a successful design based on the ride that had captured his imagination at the Chicago World Fair in 1893. The company also invented the Scrambler. But it’s the “Big Eli Wheel” that became a symbol of the town and has always held a special place in my heart.
That is an excellent addition to this post! 🙂 How awesome he was inspired by the Ferris Wheel 🙂 🙂
So glad you like it!
Fine story, love the photos, especially the first one.
Yay – glad you like the photos! 🙂 Most of them, including the first one, are the Seattle Ferris Wheel 🙂 But the London Eye and New York Wonder Wheel are on there too.
Another awesome story! Another part of history I knew nothing about! The next time I ride a Ferris wheel I will remember this story and the man soth the confidence to see his dream come true! Ferris wheels ROCK! …another pun..🤣
Great piece of history. Don’t let anyone discourage you from writing and getting published. I had an English teacher in high school tell me I’d never be a writer or have a book pushed. Guess what? I’m both. 😊
That’s very inspiring to hear! What a wonderful achievement for you!! <3 <3
If you want it bad enough, fight to make your dreams come true. 😊
I love your way of writing on a historical subject in this way of keeping your readers in excitement to the end
🙂 Thank you so much, that means very much to me!
We are here to help and inspire each other
By the way. I have recommended my husband to follow you. He too writes about historical subjects. Mostly in Danish though but he has a translate button on his page https://henryhogh22.com/author/henryhogh22/
Awesome – I have followed him! Looking forward to scrolling through his blog 🙂
Thank you very much. He is delighted to hear that.
I agree, you just have to keep working away at your projects regardless of what others might say. I’m not getting on a Ferris Wheel though, no thanks 😝
I don’t blame you! 🙂 I used to ride them all the time but I seem to get much worse vertigo as I get older – it definitely keeps me off things like Ferris wheels! Some of the bigger ones I think might be okay, since they feel more sturdy, but I haven’t tested that theory yet 🙂
A sad ending, maybe, but your opening paragraph was super-enticing – and I’m ok with your puns. 🙂 Well done.
Glad you like the puns, they’re my favorite part 🙂
Love the way you zoom into a small piece of history and make it interesting and enjoyable, thanks!
So glad you enjoyed it, many thanks for reading and commenting
Miracles are created by people who have a dream!!
🙂 That is the truth
🙂 I’m so glad!
Marvelous story! I never thought about the name — but of course a guy named Ferris invented it! And good for him. When something goes from being a picture in your head to an actual, structural, functional reality, it’s thrilling like nothing else. 🙂
It really is 🙂 I’m so glad you enjoyed the story and learning about Mr. Ferris 🙂
This was so well done. Great story, well told. Definitely history writing at its best.
Yay! So glad you enjoyed it!
Good to know that works too! It was perfect the first time. I learn so much from you as well! Wow great post.
Glad you enjoyed it!
Great story! Sad ending but… I learned something new today!
The ending is kind of sad isn’t it? 🙁 But the wheel lives on at least! So glad you liked the post
Loved every bit of this great history lesson, never knew that’s how it happened. Great man who made his dream happen, just as we can!
Great writing and perfect message, thanks MB 🙂
🙂 So glad you liked it!
told my neighbours and they had no idea of the origins either, so you’ve educated quite a few!
Yay!!!! Stories is one thing I don’t mind spreading around! 🙂
sharing a bit of history is much more positive than the gossip some prefer!
A fine piece of writing, MB! Full of tension and excitement, I was riveted. 🙂
Thanks so much, I’m very glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
What a wonderfully well-written story, M.B. I love how you gave it a lesson in perseverance and dealing with doubters (well, I want to say “jerks”, but that probably wouldn’t be fair). Loved the photos!
You have to wonder what Ferris may have invented next if he had lived.
I have also read Devil in the White City and should check out his other books. I’m starting to put together a list to buy from our local bookstore. Must keep them afloat!
Yes – that’s such a good question about Ferris and kind of sad yet fun to ponder. I’m sure he would have come up with lots more things to blow our minds had he lived! I do love Erik Larson’s books. In addition to “Devil in the White City,” I’ve also read his “In the Garden of Beasts,” which is very good, and I have “Thunderstruck” and “Splendid and the Vile” (one he just released last year) but haven’t read them yet. “Dead Wake” is also very good. Way to go keeping the bookstores afloat, they need it!
You’ve done it again – taken a subject that is at once familiar and obscure and pulled a great story out of it. Brilliant!
I had to Google some pictures, because the idea of a Ferris wheel with train cars was beyond my ability to visualize. I wonder if any has been built since that tops the original in size and passenger capacity.
🙂 🙂 I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Yeah, it’s hard to picture cars that big on a Ferris wheel! My husband had to look for pictures too, he couldn’t believe it! If one has surpassed that for car size, I have yet to see it.
Great story well told!
Knowing that the project would succeed took nothing away from your story telling, MB. A very enjoyable tale although it was too bad the wheel turned to scrap. I’ve been on a Ferris Wheel once…and I am done. 🙂
Haha I don’t blame you – I have a hard time with them myself, but I have conquered vertigo fears before, so who knows! 🙂 Maybe someday I’ll ride again. So glad you enjoyed the post and thanks much for your compliments.
Loved reading this. I knew a little of the history but you have added so much more to the history. A true story of determination. 😊
🙂 I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Keep those wonderful, beautiful pictures coming! They’re a sight for sore eyes.
Thanks, MB. 😊
Most people, including me, knew nothing about the Ferris who gave his name to the Ferris wheel. I was sorry to hear at the end of your story that all the strains put an end to Ferris’s marriage.
Yes, that made me very sad too, especially after they leaned on each other so much. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts
This is an interesting, well written, and enjoyable piece on American nostalgia and innovation! I am going to have to mark and save it for personal reasons – everyone has some of those nay-sayers, right?! Anyway, I love that you revealed the ISU marching band was there! – “The entire Iowa State Marching Band loaded into one of them and kept things lively with their instruments.” My oldest son goes to ISU! They have a great Marching Band, even today! So, I have to ask – Have you read Devil in the White City? I think it’s by Erik Larson. Many of the pieces of the Ferris Wheel story are woven into that book as well! Thanks for sharing this incredible story!
I have read Devil in the White City, it provided some excellent source material for this piece 🙂 I have lots of other books by Erik Larson too. He is such a good writer, I’d probably put him in a decent spot on my favorites list. That’s great about your son, although I’m afraid that puts us on some awkward footing here, as I graduated from U of I and LOVE my Hawkeyes! 😉
Ha! No hard feelings…He looked at the U in Iowa but it wasn’t as a good a fit for him as ISU where he’s staying to get his PhD! Being a writer, I can see the draw to U of I. Great place for that! I have another Erik Larson book on my nook, I believe about the Lusitania? I bought it years ago, after reading the Devil in the White City but have not read it yet. Thanks for all the work you put into your writing. I love all the history tha comes through! Interesting!
Oh you must be talking about Dead Wake. Another very good Larson read, I’m sure you will enjoy it! 🙂 And I think the ISU/U of I rivalry is all in good fun. My own house was a house divided, some of my siblings went to ISU and my brother and I went to U of I.
That’s fascinating, MB. I read a little about this in the book “The Devil in the White City”. I remember a colleague saying to me that my thesis that accompanied a grant proposal was too long and they would never read it (The Scottish Government). Not only did they read it but gave us more money that we asked for – over 200,000 GBP. Then they sent representatives from the German government to see our fab innovative transportation project.
Be brave and go with your gut!
That’s awesome about your thesis. I do wish people would be a bit more encouraging with their advice sometimes, but you showed them, eh? 🙂 200,000 that’s fantastic! Thanks for the wonderful encouragement. And yes- Devil in the White City was some of my best source material for this piece, it’s surprisingly hard to find much about the complete story of George Ferris and his wheel.
I had a few failures with grant applications before that…so never give up!! One old colleague told me I was sharing too much of my personal life on my blog too but I have never regretted it. If one person gets encouragement or succor from me sharing my mental health/life, then it was work well done. You have a marvelous blog, MB – innovative and so well written/researched. Clever lady!
🙂 🙂 🙂 <3 <3 Thanks much, that really means a lot. I actually love hearing about your life on your blog, I think especially during these times it's nice to experience the human connection!
First, I never actually wondered about the origins of the Ferris Wheel. I guess I thought they always existed, like sunshine – haha.
Second, I kept thinking what an interesting movie this would make – either a feature film or a documentary, or both!
Third, I’m a bit embarrassed to say – *looks around, whispers* – I own the book “Devil in White City” and haven’t yet read it. But you know how it goes: So many books, etc. However, you’ve moved this up on my TBR list.
Fourth, thank you for sharing George Ferris’s story of vision and determination. It was so encouraging.
Finally, I am sad to hear people have tried to discourage you from writing and researching. Your writing is so interesting, and you have a way of making history come alive, so I’m glad you’re not listening to them.
It would make a really good movie I think! My gosh the tension that could be built around the first ride… Don’t be embarrassed, I have a mountain of books that I need to get to and haven’t yet, but I’m glad to hear you’re moving Devil in the White City up, it really is a fantastic read I think you will enjoy it. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, and thank you for your encouragement it means a lot!
This is so inspiring. I love it that this guy had this crazy, hair-brained idea and kept saying, more or less, “We’ve got to make this work”, and it eventually did. You are right, that this is really encouraging to remember when we get discouraged by our own work and hair-brained ideas. Thanks, M.B.
Yeah – I can’t imagine the brass he must have had! So glad you enjoyed it 🙂
It is extraordinary when you put it like that – not done before, no manual and if it went wrong it would kill many people. Brillianrt but what nerve the man, as well as the people who went on it in the early days. Fascinating article – thank you! It’s great when you take something for granted and someone points out “well actually, imagine this…it’ll blow your mind.”
What nerve is right! I don’t think I would ever have that kind of confidence 🙂 So glad you enjoyed the post
Such an interesting post about the origins of the Ferris Wheel and so nicely illustrated. I’ve enjoyed one or two rides on the current wheel at Navy Pier in Chicago and I can only say, “What a great idea, Mr. Ferris!!”
One of these days I’m going to get back on a Ferris Wheel dang it! Maybe I’ll try the one in Santa Monica when the pier opens back up. So glad you enjoyed the article and the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel 🙂
Great story! Why don’t you write the screenplay for this? Can you imagine being the first person to ride this? I think I might have puked! Thank god for people like George Ferris. I think the last one I rode was at the Texas State Fair – good times.
Ha! I’m way too long-winded to be a screenwriter. Maybe I’ll take it up with my hubby he’s pretty good at writing those 🙂 I can’t imagine being the first person to ride, especially all those folks who just jumped on the bare platforms with no handles or anything!
An excellent and well written piece, MB. I am imagining the workers standing on the planks as it went around before the seats were installed. Innovations like this take bravery and imagination along with a great mind for design.
Those workers were just as brave as Mr. Ferris I think haha! 🙂 So glad you enjoyed the post
What a wonderful post. I did not know any of this marvelous history of the Ferris wheel. I have always enjoyed riding on them and now will give them even greater respect.
So glad you enjoyed it 🙂 Happy Ferris Wheeling!
Well covered MB! The whims of some inventors are pretty far fetched! 😱
Right?? Where do they get the brains or the brass?!
Right! Where? Imagination and the has no limits obviously. Ingenious but scary for many of us who do not ride at theme parks. Have a great week and stay safe!❤️💕❤️
You too <3
Suuuuuch a great story. Thanks for writing and sharing. My wife and I have interesting discussions when it comes to Ferris Wheels. She will do roller-coasters but really doesn’t like Ferris Wheels. I’m the opposite. I loooove a spin on a good Ferris Wheel.
I might be in your wife’s camp on this one haha. Although I’d like to get better at those Ferris Wheels! Maybe when the Santa Monica Pier opens 🙂
I road that Santa Monica Ferris Wheel last year right about this time. First time I had ever been there.
Oh fun! Do you live in California or were you just visiting?
Nope. Live in Arkansas. It was my first visit to California.
Life is like that. We have to take the ups with the down. Still, the Ferris wheel is one of my favorites. 👏
What an ultra-compelling piece, MB! Historical storytelling at its best.
Why thank you! So glad you enjoyed it
An excellent post. You sure know how to make history come alive! Now I know how the name Ferris Wheel came about.
🙂 Thanks so much, I always love when people get excited about history, especially through my writing. Always glad to pass on fun facts too 🙂 Thanks again for your visit and kind words.
Your well-crafted and roundly-turning story made me feel in turns breathless and with a slight touch of motion sickness, M.B., though in the end it left me inspired. We all need to be reminded not to give up on our dreams. Thank you for doing so.
Best wishes for the fulfillment of your own dreams.
Thanks so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post 🙂 And I feel you on the motion sickness. That and vertigo have kept me off Ferris wheels the last few years!
I haven’t ridden a Ferris wheel for many years, but even though I always enjoyed the view from the top, it never failed to make me feel slightly off-kilter.
Ferris wheels freak me out. Enjoy the post though. You had me in the first line…because people tell me I’m crazy all the time. lol
They freak me out a bit too! I haven’t been able to get on one for awhile, but researching this post made me want to try it again sometime. Glad you enjoyed the post 🙂
Thanks. Now following your blog.
I’m following yours too now 🙂 Many thanks!
Thank you. So appreciated.
Great history and information about the Ferris wheel. Being a history buff, I appreciated it very much. Great post.
So glad you enjoyed it 🙂 And it’s always nice to meet a fellow history enthusiast!
That was an awesome story, MB. I never considered about the history behind the wheel. Yet, it had to happen at some time, somewhere. Thanks for sharing this – yes, there’s a lesson there: never give up your dreams no matter what.
So glad you enjoyed it – it is fun sometimes to find the origin stories of objects we’ve come so used to seeing around. And true we should never give up on what inspires us. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts
Thanks for sharing.
Glad you enjoyed it 🙂
Nice essay! I love a good pun. Keep up the strong writing! Stephen King’s On Writing recently lead me to discover the classic “Elements of Style”. Most likely you’ve read it, but if you’d somehow missed it like I had, it’s a treat!
Fun surprise to see The Great Wheel of the Seattle Waterfront prominently featured. I hope you enjoyed your visit to my hometown!
Thank you for reading my blog. I appreciate that 🙂
Well, I’m afraid I haven’t read “On Writing,” but it’s been on my list for some time and I really do need to remedy that 🙂 Glad you love a good pun, they’re my favorite.
And yes -I absolutely love Seattle, I’ve visited multiple times and I always enjoy myself. My favorite is Pike’s Market. I still haven’t made it to Mt. Rainier but hopefully on my next visit! 🙂
Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.