Ferris wheel

Ferris wheel

A Ferris wheel (also known as an observation wheel or big wheel) is a nonbuilding structure consisting of a rotating upright wheel with passenger cars (sometimes referred to as gondolas or capsules) attached to the rim in such a way that as the wheel turns, the cars are kept upright, usually by gravity.

Some of the largest and most modern Ferris wheels have cars mounted on the outside of the rim, and electric motors to independently rotate each car to keep it upright. These wheels are sometimes referred to as observation wheels, and their cars referred to as capsules, however these alternative names are also sometimes used for wheels with conventional gravity-oriented cars.

The original Ferris Wheel was designed and constructed by George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. as a landmark for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The term Ferris wheel later came to be used generically for all such structures.

Since the original 1893 Chicago Ferris Wheel, there have been eight subsequent world's tallest-ever Ferris wheels. The current record holder is the 165-metre (541 ft) Singapore Flyer, which opened to the public in March 2008.

London Eye, tallest Ferris wheel in the Western Hemisphere


Early history

Olearius uvesel.jpg
Ferris ups.jpg
Early pleasure wheels depicted in 17th century engravings, to the left by Adam Olearius, to the right a Turkish design, apparently for adults
Dancing the hora on Dealul Spirii (Spirii Hill), Bucharest, Romania (1857 lithograph)

"Pleasure wheels", whose passengers rode in chairs suspended from large wooden rings turned by strong men, may have originated in 17th century Bulgaria.[1][2]

The travels of Peter Mundy in Europe and Asia, 1608-1667 [3] describes and illustrates "severall Sorts of Swinginge used in their Publique rejoyceings att their Feast of Biram" on 17 May 1620 at Philippopolis in the Ottoman Balkans.[2] Among means "lesse dangerous and troublesome" was one:

...like a Craine wheele att Customhowse Key and turned in that Manner, whereon Children sitt on little seats hunge round about in severall parts thereof, And though it turne right upp and downe, and that the Children are sometymes on the upper part of the wheele, and sometymes on the lower, yett they alwaies sitt upright.

Five years earlier, in 1615, Pietro Della Valle, a Roman traveller who sent letters from Constantinople, Persia, and India, attended a Ramadan festival in Constantinople. He describes the fireworks, floats, and great swings, then comments on riding the Great Wheel:[4]

I was delighted to find myself swept upwards and downwards at such speed. But the wheel turned round so rapidly that a Greek who was sitting near me couldn't bear it any longer, and shouted out "soni! soni!" (enough! enough!)

Similar wheels also appeared in England in the 17th century, and subsequently elsewhere around the world, including India, Romania, and Siberia.[2]

A Frenchman, Antonio Manguino, introduced the idea to America in 1848, when he constructed a wooden pleasure wheel to attract visitors to his start-up fair in Walton Spring, Georgia. Ferris wheels are now the most common type of carnival ride at state fairs in the USA.[1]

Somers' Wheel

In 1892, William Somers installed three fifty-foot wooden wheels at Asbury Park, New Jersey; Atlantic City, New Jersey; and Coney Island, New York. The following year he was granted the first U.S. patent for a "Roundabout".[5][6] It was Somers' wheel in Atlantic City that George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. was ordered by the planners of Chicago's World's Columbian Exposition to study, that they could challenge the magnitude of the Eiffel Tower of France's 1889 Paris Exposition.[7][unreliable source?]

The original Ferris Wheel

The original Ferris Wheel, sometimes also referred to as the Chicago Wheel,[8][9][10] opened to the public on June 21, 1893, at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. Intended to rival the 324-metre (1,063 ft) Eiffel Tower, the centerpiece of the 1889 Paris Exposition, it was the Columbian Exposition's largest attraction, with a height of 80.4 metres (264 ft).

The original Chicago Ferris Wheel, built for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition

It was designed and constructed by George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr., 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.[9]

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.[8] The wheel carried some 38,000 passengers daily[1] 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.

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.[11]

Antique Ferris wheels

Wiener Prater Vienna Austria 20476.JPG
Wiener Riesenrad DSC02378.JPG
Wiener Riesenrad, Vienna, built in 1897, originally had 30 passenger cabins but was rebuilt with 15 cabins following a fire in 1944

The Wiener Riesenrad (German for "Viennese Giant Wheel") is a surviving example of nineteenth century Ferris wheels. Erected in 1897 in the Wurstelprater section of Prater public park in the Leopoldstadt district of Vienna, Austria, to celebrate Emperor Franz Josef I's Golden Jubilee, it has a height of 64.75 metres (212 ft)[12] and originally had 30 passenger cars. A demolition permit for the Riesenrad was issued in 1916, but due to a lack to funds with which to carry out the destruction, it survived.[13]

Following the demolition of the 100-metre (328 ft) Grande Roue de Paris in 1920,[8] the Riesenrad became the world's tallest extant Ferris wheel. In 1944 it burnt down, but was rebuilt the following year[13] with 15 passenger cars, and remained the world's tallest extant wheel until its 97th year, when the 85-metre (279 ft) Technocosmos was constructed for Expo '85, at Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

Still in operation today, it is one of Vienna's most popular tourist attractions, and over the years has featured in numerous films (including Madame Solange d`Atalide (1914),[13] Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948), The Third Man (1949), The Living Daylights (1987), Before Sunrise (1995)) and novels.

World's tallest Ferris wheels

The 94 m Great Wheel at Earls Court, London, world's tallest Ferris wheel 1895-1900

Chronology of world's tallest-ever wheels

  • 1893: the original Ferris Wheel was 80.4 metres (264 ft) tall. Built for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, it was moved to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1904 for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, and demolished there in 1906.
  • 1895: the Great Wheel was built for the Empire of India Exhibition at Earls Court, London, UK, and was 94 metres (308 ft) tall.[14] Construction began in March 1894[15] and it opened to the public on July 17, 1895.[16] It stayed in service until 1906 and was demolished in 1907, having carried over 2.5 million passengers.[17]
  • 1900: the Grande Roue de Paris was built for the Exposition Universelle, a world's fair held in Paris, France. It was demolished in 1920,[8] but its 100-metre (328 ft) height was not surpassed until almost 90 years after its construction.
  • 1989: the Cosmo Clock 21 was built for the YES '89 Yokohama Exposition at Minato Mirai 21, Yokohama, Japan. Originally constructed with a height of 107.5 metres (353 ft),[18] it was dismantled in 1997 and then in 1999 relocated onto a taller base which increased its overall height to 112.5 metres (369 ft).[19]
  • 1997: the Tempozan Ferris Wheel, in Osaka, Japan, opened to the public on July 12, and is 112.5 metres (369 ft) tall.[20]
  • 1999: the Daikanransha at Palette Town in Odaiba, Japan, is 115 metres (377 ft) tall.[21]
  • 2000: the London Eye, in London, UK, is 135 metres (443 ft) tall. Although officially opened on December 31, 1999, it did not open to the public until March 2000, because of technical problems. It is still the tallest wheel in Europe and the Western Hemisphere.
  • 2006: the Star of Nanchang, in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China, opened for business in May and is 160 metres (525 ft) tall.
  • 2008: the Singapore Flyer, in Singapore, is 165 metres (541 ft) tall, and currently the world's tallest Ferris wheel. It started rotating on February 11 and officially opened to the public on March 1.


   m (ft)  
Singapore Flyer [22]
165 (541)
 Singapore Marina Centre, Downtown Core 1°17′22″N 103°51′48″E / 1.289397°N 103.863231°E / 1.289397; 103.863231 (Singapore Flyer) World's tallest 2008-current
Star of Nanchang [22]
160 (525)
 China Nanchang, Jiangxi 28°39′34″N 115°50′44″E / 28.659332°N 115.845568°E / 28.659332; 115.845568 (Star of Nanchang) World's tallest 2006-2008
London Eye [22]
135 (443)
 UK South Bank, Lambeth, London 51°30′12″N 0°07′11″W / 51.50334°N 0.1197821°W / 51.50334; -0.1197821 (London Eye) World's tallest 2000-2006
Suzhou Ferris Wheel [22][23]
120 (394)
 China Suzhou, Jiangsu 31°18′59″N 120°42′30″E / 31.3162939°N 120.7084501°E / 31.3162939; 120.7084501 (Suzhou Ferris Wheel)
The Southern Star [22]
120 (394)
 Australia Waterfront City, Melbourne 37°48′40″S 144°56′13″E / 37.8110723°S 144.9368763°E / -37.8110723; 144.9368763 (Southern Star) Closed January 2009 for repairs
Tianjin Eye [22]
120 (394)
 China Chihai Bridge, Tianjin 39°09′12″N 117°10′49″E / 39.1533636°N 117.1802616°E / 39.1533636; 117.1802616 (Tianjin Eye) Tallest built over a bridge
Changsha Ferris Wheel [22]
120 (394)
 China Changsha, Hunan 28°10′56″N 112°58′48″E / 28.1821772°N 112.9800886°E / 28.1821772; 112.9800886 (Changsha Ferris Wheel)
Zhengzhou Ferris Wheel [22][24]
120 (394)
 China Century Amusement Park, Henan 34°45′52″N 113°39′18″E / 34.7645138°N 113.6549377°E / 34.7645138; 113.6549377 (Zhengzhou Ferris Wheel)
Sky Dream Fukuoka [22][25]
120 (394)
 Japan Evergreen Marinoa, Fukuoka, Kyūshū 33°35′44″N 130°19′21″E / 33.5956845°N 130.3225279°E / 33.5956845; 130.3225279 (Sky Dream Fukuoka) Closed September 2009
Diamond and Flower Ferris Wheel
117 (384)
 Japan Kasai Rinkai Park, Tokyo, Honshū 35°38′38″N 139°51′26″E / 35.6439052°N 139.8572257°E / 35.6439052; 139.8572257 (Diamond and Flower Ferris Wheel)
Star of Lake Tai [citation needed]
115 (377)
 China Lake Tai, Wuxi, Jiangsu 31°31′15″N 120°15′39″E / 31.5208296°N 120.260945°E / 31.5208296; 120.260945 (Star of Taihu Lake) Picture
Daikanransha [21]
115 (377)
 Japan Palette Town, Odaiba, Honshū 35°37′35″N 139°46′56″E / 35.6263915°N 139.7822902°E / 35.6263915; 139.7822902 (Daikanransha) World's tallest 1999-2000
Cosmo Clock 21 (2nd installation)
112.5 (369)
 Japan Minato Mirai 21, Yokohama, Honshū 35°27′19″N 139°38′12″E / 35.4553872°N 139.6367347°E / 35.4553872; 139.6367347 (Cosmo Clock 21 (2nd installation))
Tempozan Ferris Wheel [18]
112.5 (369)
 Japan Osaka, Honshū 34°39′22″N 135°25′52″E / 34.6561657°N 135.431031°E / 34.6561657; 135.431031 (Tempozan Ferris Wheel) World's tallest 1997-1999
Harbin Ferris Wheel [26]
110 (361)
 China Harbin, Heilongjiang 45°46′40″N 126°39′48″E / 45.7776481°N 126.6634637°E / 45.7776481; 126.6634637 (Harbin Ferris Wheel) Picture
Shanghai Ferris Wheel [27][28]
108 (354)
 China Jinjiang Action Park, Shanghai 31°08′24″N 121°24′11″E / 31.1401286°N 121.4030752°E / 31.1401286; 121.4030752 (Shanghai Ferris Wheel) Picture
Cosmo Clock 21 (1st installation)
107.5 (353)
 Japan Minato Mirai 21, Yokohama, Honshū
World's tallest 1989-1997
Space Eye [29]
100 (328)
 Japan Space World, Kitakyūshū, Kyūshū 33°52′18″N 130°48′36″E / 33.8716939°N 130.8099014°E / 33.8716939; 130.8099014 (Space Eye) Picture
Grande Roue de Paris [8]
100 (328)
 France Champ de Mars, Paris 48°51′08″N 2°17′57″E / 48.852222°N 2.299167°E / 48.852222; 2.299167 (Grande Roue de Paris (demolished 1920)) World's tallest 1900-1920
Great Wheel [14] 094
94 (308)
 UK Earls Court, London 51°29′18″N 0°11′56″W / 51.48835°N 0.19889°W / 51.48835; -0.19889 (Great Wheel (demolished 1907)) World's tallest 1895-1900
Aurora Wheel [30] 090
90 (295)
 Japan Nagashima Spa Land, Mie, Honshū 35°01′47″N 136°44′01″E / 35.0298207°N 136.7336351°E / 35.0298207; 136.7336351 (Aurora Wheel) Picture
Eurowheel [31] 090
90 (295)
 Italy Mirabilandia, Ravenna 44°20′21″N 12°15′44″E / 44.3392161°N 12.2622228°E / 44.3392161; 12.2622228 (Eurowheel) Tallest extant in Europe 1999
Sky Wheel [32] 088
88 (289)
 Taiwan Janfusun Fancyworld, Gukeng 23°37′13″N 120°34′35″E / 23.6202611°N 120.5763352°E / 23.6202611; 120.5763352 (Sky Wheel)
85 (279)
 Japan Expoland, Osaka, Honshū (?-2009)
Expo '85, Tsukuba, Honshū (1985-?)
34°48′14″N 135°32′09″E / 34.803772°N 135.535916°E / 34.803772; 135.535916 (Technostar)
36°03′40″N 140°04′23″E / 36.061203°N 140.073055°E / 36.061203; 140.073055 (Technocosmos)
World's tallest extant 1985-1989Technocosmos renamed/relocated
World's tallest extant 1985-1989
The original Ferris Wheel 080.40
80.4 (264)
 USA Chicago (1893-1903); St.Louis (1904-06) Erioll world.svg Ferris Wheel coordinates World's tallest 1893-1894

Future wheels

Current proposals

  • The 167.6 m (550 ft) High Roller, to be built on the Las Vegas Strip, Nevada, was announced in August 2011. Part of Caesars Entertainment Corporation's Project Linq, construction was scheduled to begin in September 2011 and completion expected in late 2013.[33]
  • The 150 m (492 ft) Jeddah Eye proposed for Saudi Arabia is part of a development begun in 2008 and scheduled to open in 2012.[34]
  • The 145 m (476 ft)[35][36] Skyvue Las Vegas Super Wheel,[37] to be built on the Las Vegas Strip, Nevada, was approved by Clark County Commission in March 2011.[38] It was announced at a media event and groundbreaking ceremony in May 2011 by Howard Bulloch of Compass Investments, who stated "We expect it to be up and running in time for New Year's 2012."[35][39] Its 40 gondolas will each carry 20-25 people.[37]
  • A 120 m (394 ft) wheel for Manchester, England, was proposed by Manchester City Council in 2010 as a replacement for the transportable 60 m (197 ft) Wheel of Manchester installation, with Piccadilly Gardens the possible site and completion expected by Christmas 2011.[40]
  • The 88 m (289 ft) Malaysia Eye is to replace the transportable 60 m (197 ft) Eye on Malaysia installation, which was dismantled in October 2010, in Malacca, Malaysia. It will occupy a new site on Malacca Island, and is scheduled to open on December 1, 2011. It will have 54 air-conditioned gondolas, each able to carry six people.[41]
Artist's impression of the 208 m Beijing Great Wheel, originally due to open in 2008, but now in receivership
Artist's impression of the 175 m Great Berlin Wheel, originally due to open in 2008, but now "on hold"

Incomplete, delayed, or cancelled proposals

Wheels for which no completion date has been announced, or whose original completion date has already passed:

  • The 208 m (682 ft) Beijing Great Wheel, construction begun 2007 and originally due to open 2008,[42] went into receivership in 2010.[43]
  • The 198 m (650 ft) Baghdad Eye was proposed for Baghdad, Iraq, in August 2008. At that time, three possible locations had been identified, but no estimates of cost or completion date were given.[44][45][46] In October 2008, it was reported that Al-Zawraa Park was expected to be the site,[47] and a 60 m (197 ft) wheel was installed there in March 2011.[48]
  • The 185 m (607 ft) Great Dubai Wheel proposed for Dubailand, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, was granted planning permission in 2006 and expected to open in 2009.[49]
  • The 183 m (600 ft) Voyager[50] has been proposed several times for Las Vegas, Nevada.[51]
  • The 176 m (577 ft) Bangkok Eye, to be located near the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, Thailand, was announced by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration on 13 October 2010, at which time the actual site and means of funding the 30-billion baht project had yet to be determined.[52]
  • The 175 m (574 ft) Great Berlin Wheel was originally planned to open in 2008 but the project encountered financial obstacles.[53]
  • The 122 m (400 ft) Great Orlando Wheel was announced in June 2008[54] but then suspended in early 2009 after losing its funding.[53]
  • A 91.4 m (300 ft) wheel planned for Manchester, England, for 2008,[55] was never constructed.
  • The 87 m (285 ft) Pepsi Globe was proposed for the planned Meadowlands complex in New Jersey in February 2008 and originally due to open in 2009, then put on hold until 2010.[56] It has since been further delayed, and construction of the host complex, originally due to be completed in 2007, has been stalled since 2009 due to financing problems.[57]

The Shanghai Star, initially planned as a 200-metre (656 ft) tall wheel to be built by 2005, was revised to 170 metres (558 ft), with a completion date set in 2007, but then cancelled in 2006 due to "political incorrectness".[58] An earlier proposal for a 250-metre (820 ft) structure, the Shanghai Kiss, with capsules ascending and descending a pair of towers which met at their peaks instead of a wheel, was deemed too expensive at £100m.[59]

Rus-3000, a 170-metre (558 ft) wheel planned to open in 2004[60] in Moscow,[61] has since been reported cancelled.[62] More recently, an approximately 180-metre (591 ft)[63] wheel has been considered for Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure,[64][65] and a 150-metre (492 ft) wheel proposed for location near Sparrow Hills.[66]

Observation wheels

Singapore flyer capsule inside.JPG
The Singapore Flyer, world's tallest Ferris wheel since 2008, has 28 air-conditioned passenger capsules, each able to carry 28 people [67]
An Eye Pod.jpg
The London Eye's 32 ovoidal air-conditioned passenger capsules each weigh 10 tonnes (11 short tons) and can carry 25 people [68]

Observation wheel is an alternative name for Ferris wheel.[69][70] In 1892, when the incorporation papers for the Ferris Wheel Company (constructors of the original 1893 Chicago Ferris Wheel) were filed, the purpose of the company was stated as: [construction and operation of] "...wheels of the Ferris or other types for the purpose of observation or amusement".[8]

Some Ferris wheels are marketed as observation wheels, any distinction between the two names being at the discretion of the operator, however the wheels whose operators reject the term Ferris wheel are often those having most in common with the original 1893 Chicago Ferris Wheel, especially in terms of scale and being an iconic landmark for a city or event.

Wheels with passenger cars mounted external to the rim and independently rotated by electric motors, as opposed to wheels with cars suspended from the rim and kept upright by gravity, are those most commonly referred to as observation wheels, and their cars are often referred to as capsules. However, these alternative names are also sometimes used for wheels with conventional gravity-oriented cars.

There are currently only three major Ferris wheels with motorised capsules.

The 165 m (541 ft) Singapore Flyer has cylindrical externally-mounted motorised capsules and is described as an observation wheel by its operators,[71] but credited as "world's largest Ferris wheel" by the media.[72][73]

The 135 m (443 ft) London Eye, typically described as a "giant Ferris wheel" by the media,[74][75] has ovoidal externally-mounted motorised capsules and is the "world's tallest cantilevered observation wheel"[76] according to its operators, who claim: "The London Eye is often mistakenly called a Ferris wheel. This is not the case: first, the passenger capsules are completely enclosed and are climate controlled; secondly, the capsules are positioned on the outside of the wheel structure and are fully motorised; and third, the entire structure is supported by an A-frame on one side only."[76] However, the operators of the Singapore Flyer claim their wheel is the "world's largest observation wheel"[77] despite it not being supported by an A-frame on one side only.

The 120 m (394 ft) Southern Star (which opened 20 December 2008, then closed the following month, and is currently dismantled for major repairs) has ovoidal externally-mounted motorised capsules and is described by its operators as "the only observation wheel in the southern hemisphere",[78] but also as a Ferris wheel by the media.[79][80]

A fourth wheel, the proposed 167.6 m (550 ft) High Roller, announced in August 2011 and scheduled for completion on the Las Vegas Strip in late 2013,[33] is to feature externally-mounted motorised spherical capsules,[81] and is described as both a Ferris wheel and an observation wheel by the media.[33][35][81][82]

Transportable wheels

Roue de Paris, a Ronald Bussink R60 transportable wheel, pictured at Geleen in the Netherlands in 2005
World's tallest transportable Ferris wheel at World Carnival, Hong Kong, in 2007

Transportable Ferris wheels are designed to be operated at multiple locations, as opposed to fixed wheels which are usually intended for permanent installation. Small transportable designs may be permanently mounted on trailers, and can be moved intact. Larger transportable wheels are designed to be repeatedly dismantled and rebuilt, some using water ballast instead of the permanent foundations of their fixed counterparts.

Fixed wheels are also sometimes dismantled and relocated. Larger examples include the original Ferris Wheel, which operated at two sites in Chicago, Illinois, and a third in St. Louis, Missouri; Technocosmos/Technostar, which moved to Expoland, Osaka, after Expo '85, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, for which it was built, ended; and Cosmo Clock 21, which added 5 metres (16 ft) onto its original 107.5-metre (353 ft) height when erected for the second time at Minato Mirai 21, Yokohama, in 1999.

The world's tallest transportable wheel today is a 66-metre (217 ft) tall Ronald Bussink series R66 design operated by World Carnival.[83]

One of the most famous transportable wheels is the 60-metre (197 ft) tall Roue de Paris, originally installed on the Place de la Concorde in Paris for the 2000 millennium celebrations. Roue de Paris left France in 2002 and in 2003–04 operated in Birmingham and Manchester, England. In 2005 it visited first Geleen then Amsterdam, Netherlands, before returning to England to operate at Gateshead. In 2006 it was erected at the Suan Lum Night Bazaar in Bangkok, Thailand, and by 2008 had made its way to Antwerp, Belgium.[84]

Roue de Paris is a Ronald Bussink series R60 design using 40,000 litres (8,800 imperial gallons; 11,000 US gallons) of water ballast to provide a stable base. The R60 weighs 365 tonnes (402 short tons), and can be erected in 72 hours and dismantled in 60 hours by a specialist team. Transport requires seven 20-foot container lorries, ten open trailer lorries, and one closed trailer lorry. Its 42 passenger cars can be loaded either 3 or 6 at a time, and each car can carry 8 people.[85] Bussink R60 wheels have operated in Australia (Brisbane), Canada (Niagara Falls), France (Paris), Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur & Malacca), UK (Belfast, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield), USA (Myrtle Beach), and elsewhere.

Other notable transportable wheels include the 60-metre (197 ft) Steiger Ferris Wheel, which was the world's tallest transportable wheel when it began operating in 1980.[86] It has 42 passenger cars,[87] and weighs 450 tons.[88] On October 11, 2010, it collapsed at the Kramermarkt in Oldenburg, Germany, during deconstruction.[89]

Notable transportable Ferris wheel installations:

   m (ft)  
Belfast Wheel
60 (197)
 UK Belfast 54°35′48.77″N 5°55′45.06″W / 54.5968806°N 5.9291833°W / 54.5968806; -5.9291833 (Belfast Wheel)
Eye on Malaysia
60 or 62 m
Kuala Lumpur
3°10′39.2″N 101°42′15.68″E / 3.177556°N 101.7043556°E / 3.177556; 101.7043556 (Eye on Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur installation))
2°11′23.4312″N 102°14′29.0034″E / 2.189842°N 102.241389833°E / 2.189842; 102.241389833 (Eye on Malaysia (Malacca installation))
Royal Windsor Wheel
60 m in 2011
 UK Windsor, Berkshire 51°29′04″N 0°36′43″W / 51.4845°N 0.6119°W / 51.4845; -0.6119 (Royal Windsor Wheel)
Wheel of Birmingham
60 (197)
 UK Birmingham 52°28′44.04″N 1°54′32.49″W / 52.4789°N 1.909025°W / 52.4789; -1.909025 (Wheel of Birmingham)
Wheel of Brisbane
60 (197)
 Australia Brisbane 27°28′31″S 153°01′15″E / 27.4751833°S 153.0209333°E / -27.4751833; 153.0209333 (Wheel of Brisbane)
Wheel of Dublin
60 (197)
 Ireland North Wall, Dublin 53°20′55″N 6°13′41″W / 53.34852°N 6.22795°W / 53.34852; -6.22795 (Wheel of Dublin)
Wheel of Manchester
60 (197)
 UK Exchange Square, Manchester 53°29′04″N 2°14′35″W / 53.48433°N 2.24310°W / 53.48433; -2.24310 (Manchester Wheel)
Wheel of Sheffield
60 (197)
 UK Sheffield 53°22′52″N 1°28′12″W / 53.3810°N 1.4699°W / 53.3810; -1.4699 (Wheel of Sheffield)
Yorkshire Wheel
54 (177)
 UK York 53°57′36″N 1°05′44″W / 53.96001667°N 1.0956833°W / 53.96001667; -1.0956833 (Yorkshire Wheel)

Double and triple wheels

Sky Whirl, an Intamin triple wheel
Hermann Eccentric Ferris Wheel with sliding cars, from US patent 1354436, 1915; forerunner of the 1920 Wonder Wheel, there is no record of it ever being built [6][90]
Wonder Wheel, a 45.7-metre (150 ft) tall eccentric wheel at Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, Coney Island, was built in 1920 by the Eccentric Ferris Wheel Company [91]
Disney's California Adventure Park's Sun Wheel, an eccentric wheel modelled on Wonder Wheel, was built in 2001 and became Mickey's Fun Wheel in 2009 [92]
Big O, a 60-metre (197 ft) tall centreless wheel at Tokyo Dome City in Japan
Cosmo Clock 21, world's tallest wheel 1989 to 1997, and world's largest clock [93]

Swiss manufacturer Intamin produced a series of rides comprising a vertical column supporting multiple horizontal arms, with each arm supporting a Ferris wheel. Custom designed for the Marriott Corporation, each ride had three main components: the wheels with their passenger cars; a set of supporting arms; and a single central supporting column. Each wheel rotated about the end of its own supporting arm. The arms in turn would either pivot or rotate together as a single unit about the top of the supporting column. The axis about which the rotating arms turned was offset from vertical, so that as the arms rotated, each arm and its corresponding wheel was raised and lowered. This allowed one wheel to be horizontal at ground level, and brought to a standstill for simultaneous loading and unloading of all its passenger cars, while the other wheel(s) continued to rotate vertically at considerable height.

The first such ride was Astrowheel, which had two arms and wheels with 8 passenger cars each, and operated at the former Six Flags Astroworld, Houston, Texas, from 1968 until 1980.[94]

Similar wheels included Giant Wheel (Hersheypark, Hershey, Pennsylvania), Zodiac (Kings Island, Mason, Ohio), and Galaxy (Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia, California). All were Intamin designs; all are now defunct.

Sky Whirl was the world's first triple Ferris wheel, debuting at both Marriott's Great America parks (now Six Flags Great America, Gurnee, Illinois, and California's Great America, Santa Clara) in 1976. Also known as a triple Ferris wheel,[95] Triple Giant Wheel,[96] or Triple Tree Wheel, it was 33 metres (108 ft) in height.[97] The Santa Clara ride, renamed Triple Wheel in post-Marriott years, closed on 1 September 1997. The Gurnee ride closed in 2000.[98]

Eccentric wheels

Eccentric wheels (sometimes called sliding wheels[99] or coaster wheels[100]) differ from conventional Ferris wheels in that some or all of the passenger cars are not fixed directly to the rim of the wheel, but instead slide on rails between the hub and the rim as the wheel rotates.

The two most famous eccentric wheels are Mickey's Fun Wheel (previously Sun Wheel), at Disney's California Adventure Park, USA, and Wonder Wheel, at Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, Coney Island. USA.

Mickey's Fun Wheel is 48.8 metres (160 ft) tall[99] and has 24 fully enclosed passenger cars, each able to carry 6 passengers. 16 of the cars slide inward and outward as the wheel rotates, the remainder are fixed to the rim. There are separate boarding queues for sliding and fixed cars, so that passengers may choose between the two.[92] Inspired by Coney Island's 1920 Wonder Wheel, it was designed by Walt Disney Imagineering and Intamin, completed in 2001 as the Sun Wheel, and later refurbished and reopened in 2009 as Mickey's Fun Wheel.[99]

Wonder Wheel was built in 1920, is 45.7 metres (150 ft) tall, and can carry 144 people.[101]

Major designers, manufacturers, & operators

Allan Herschell Company (merged with Chance Morgan in 1970) [102]

  • Seattle Wheel (debuted 1962): 16 cars, 2 passengers per car [103]
  • Sky Wheel (debuted 1939; also manufactured by Chance Morgan): a double wheel, with the wheels rotating about opposite ends of a pair of parallel beams, and the beams rotating about their centres; 8 cars per wheel, 2 passengers per car [104]
Chance Morgan [105]
  • Astro Wheel (debuted 1967): 16 cars (8 facing one way, 8 the other), 2 passengers per car [106]
  • Century Wheel: 20 m (66 ft) tall, 15 cars, 4-6 passengers per car [105]
  • Giant Wheel: 27 m (89 ft) tall, 20 cars, 6-8 passengers per car [105]
  • Niagara SkyWheel: 53.3 m (175 ft) tall, 42 air-conditioned cars, 8 passengers per car [107]
Eli Bridge [108]
W.E. Sullivan, owner of Eli Bridge Company, a bridge building business in Illinois, rode the original 1893 Chicago Ferris Wheel at the World's Columbian Exposition. Inspired by this, he collaborated with machinist James H. Clements and their first Big Eli wheel debuted in Central Park, Jacksonville, Illinois, on May 23, 1900. Contemporary models include:
  • Signature Series: 16 cars, 3 passengers per car; transportable
  • Eagle Series: 16 cars, 3 passengers per car; transportable
  • HY-5 Series: 12 cars, 3 passengers per car; transportable
  • Aristocrat Series: 16 cars, fixed site
  • Standard Series: 12 cars, fixed site
  • Lil' Wheel: 6 cars, 3 passengers per car; transportable and fixed site models

Great Wheel Corporation [109] (merged with World Tourist Attractions in 2009 to form Great City Attractions Ltd.) [110]

Intamin [111]

Ronald Bussink Professional Rides [112] (formerly Nauta Bussink)

  • R40: 40-metre (131 ft) tall fixed or transportable wheel, 30 cars, 8 passengers per car
  • R50: 50-metre (164 ft) tall fixed or transportable wheel, 36 cars, 8 passengers per car
  • R60: 60-metre (197 ft) tall transportable wheel, 42 cars, 8 passengers per car [85]
  • R66: 66-metre (217 ft) tall transportable wheel, 42 cars; world's tallest transportable wheel, operated by World Carnival [83]
  • R80: 80-metre (262 ft) tall fixed wheel, 56 cars, 8 passengers per car
Senyo Kogyo Co, Ltd.
  • Cosmo Clock 21: 107.5 m (353 ft) tall, completed 1989; world's tallest Ferris wheel 1989 to 1997;[18] 112.5 m (369 ft) tall when re-erected in 1999 [19]
  • Diamond and Flower Ferris Wheel: 117 m (384 ft) tall, world's second tallest Ferris wheel when completed in 2001 [113]
  • Tempozan Ferris Wheel: 112.5 m (369 ft) tall, completed 1997; world's tallest Ferris wheel 1997 to 1999 [18]

See also

Drive-in Wheel.jpg
Four-car 30 m tall drive-in Ferris wheel at
Harbourfront, Toronto, Canada, in 2004 [114]
WSJ2007 Swedish Wheel.JPG
Ferris wheel constructed by the Swedish
contingent at the 21st World Scout Jamboree
Passenger-powered 2-seat Cyclecide wheel
at the 2007 Bumbershoot festival in Seattle


Southern Star, Melbourne, Australia, tallest in the Southern Hemisphere
Texas Star, Dallas, tallest in the Americas
Ferris wheel in Ocean City, New Jersey
Ruota dei Pionieri, Minitalia Leolandia Park, Italy, manufactured by Zamperla
A ride similar to a Ferris wheel, but which inverts its cars and passengers
  1. ^ a b c Still turning – Jacksonville built the world's first portable Ferris Wheel
  2. ^ a b c Eyes in the sky
  3. ^ The travels of Peter Mundy in Europe and Asia, 1608-1667
  4. ^ Wilfrid Blount, Pietro's pilgrimage: a journey to India and back at the beginning of the seventeenth century, Volume 1
  5. ^ explorepahistory.com
  6. ^ a b U.S. Patents for Ferris Wheels
  7. ^ The Jersey Shore @ National Geographic Magazine
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Ferris wheels - an illustrated history, Norman D. Anderson
  9. ^ a b Hyde Park Historical Society: Chicago's Great Ferris Wheel of 1893, Patrick Meehan
  10. ^ The Kensington Canal, railways and related developments - British History Online
  11. ^ George Ferris
  12. ^ Wiener Riesenrad - technical data
  13. ^ a b c Wiener Riesenrad - history
  14. ^ a b Great Wheel, Earls Court - English Heritage Images
  15. ^ The Great Wheel, Earl's Court Exhibition Ground
  16. ^ The Ferris Wheel's London Rival - The New York Times
  17. ^ PhotoLondon: National Monuments Record - The Great Wheel, London
  18. ^ a b c d Senyo Kogyo Co, Ltd. - company profile
  19. ^ a b Senyo Kogyo Co, Ltd. - Cosmo Clock 21 (Japanese)
  20. ^ KIPPO NEWS Tuesday, June 24, 1997 (Japanese)
  21. ^ a b Palette Town Daikanransha website date page (Japanese)
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i World’s top 10 tallest Ferris wheels
  23. ^ The Ferris Wheel to Revolve Hopefully on May Day
  24. ^ Century pleasure garden Profile(Chinese)
  25. ^ Evergreen marinoa official website (Japanese)
  26. ^ China's Highest Ferris Wheel under Construction
  27. ^ The wheel deal: Amusement park offers lofty view
  28. ^ Shanghai Jinjiang Amusement Park Introduction
  29. ^ Space World attractions information
  30. ^ Nagashima Resort Guide Book
  31. ^ Mirabilandia - Vivi il Divertimento! Novità 2009 - ISpeed, il nuovo Roller Coaster!
  32. ^ 劍湖山世界 welcome to janfusun fancyworld
  33. ^ a b c Las Vegas plans to top London Eye with massive Ferris wheel
  34. ^ Jeddah Eye
  35. ^ a b c High stakes for dueling Vegas observation wheels
  36. ^ Colorado's Leitner-Poma to build cabins for huge observation wheel in Las Vegas
  37. ^ a b Skyvue Las Vegas to Soar 500 Feet above Strip - For Immediate Release
  38. ^ Las Vegas developer breaks ground on 500-foot Ferris wheel project
  39. ^ Dueling mega-Ferris wheels in Vegas
  40. ^ Manchester 'monster' wheel plans confirmed
  41. ^ Malacca to get bigger Ferris wheel
  42. ^ a b AFP: Beijing begins construction of world's biggest wheel
  43. ^ a b Beijing Ferris wheel company in receivership
  44. ^ Yacoub, Sameer. "Baghdad plans to build giant Ferris wheel". Associated Press. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26425911. Retrieved 2008-08-28. 
  45. ^ Iraq Looking To Build Giant Observation Wheel In Baghdad To Promote Tourism
  46. ^ Iraq plans giant Ferris wheel, hopes to lure tourists to Baghdad
  47. ^ Obama ad attacks McCain for Baghdad Ferris wheel project being built on land leased by a Democratic Party donor
  48. ^ 2nd highest Ferris wheel in Arab region opened in Zawraa Park
  49. ^ a b Great Dubai Wheel Gets the Green Light
  50. ^ Voyager Entertainment International, Inc.
  51. ^ Voyager Las Vegas
  52. ^ BMA plans to build 'Bangkok Eye' on Chao Phya bank
  53. ^ a b c d Planned Great Wheel for I-Drive area of Orlando on hold - South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com
  54. ^ Developer to roll out plans for Great Orlando Wheel attraction
  55. ^ Big wheel returns to city centre
  56. ^ Opening delayed for Pepsi Globe Ferris wheel at Meadowlands Xanadu
  57. ^ Panel will advise Gov. Christie on four potential suitors in Xanadu redevelopment
  58. ^ Asia Times Online - China Business News - China's ill-conceived image projects
  59. ^ Developer spurns Alsop’s £100m Shanghai Kiss
  60. ^ World's Tallest Ferris Wheel Proposed In Moscow - Emporis.com
  61. ^ Project has Muscovites going 'round and 'round - csmonitor.com
  62. ^ Moscow Ferris Wheel, Moscow - Emporis.com
  63. ^ Moscow News - Local - Bringing back the big whee
  64. ^ Кризис закруглится в ЦПКиО - Мегаполис - GZT.ru
  65. ^ Lenta.ru - В России - Для Парка Горького выберут новое колесо обозрения
  66. ^ Чертово колесо - разберут в московском ЦПКиО - BN.ru газет
  67. ^ FAQs on Private Capsules - Singapore Flyer
  68. ^ London's Eye in the sky not just a Ferris wheel
  69. ^ MSN Encarta - Ferris Wheel
  70. ^ Inventor of the Week - George Ferris
  71. ^ We don't use the F-word
  72. ^ Singapore to open world's largest Ferris wheel - Reuters
  73. ^ Dozens trapped in world's largest ferris wheel as Singapore Flyer judders to a halt - Times Online
  74. ^ London: 10 Things to Do in 24 Hours - 3. The London Eye - TIME
  75. ^ Wheel deal: the London Eye turns 10 - Jonathan Glancey - Art and design - guardian.co.uk
  76. ^ a b Is it a Ferris wheel?
  77. ^ Home - Singapore Flyer
  78. ^ Welcome to the Southern Star
  79. ^ Work to spin Ferris wheel
  80. ^ Southern Star Observation Wheel profile
  81. ^ a b Colorado's Leitner-Poma to build cabins for huge observation wheel in Las Vegas
  82. ^ [www.nbc11news.com/localnews/headlines/Worlds_biggest_observation_wheel_to_lift_Grand_Junctions_economy_134090334.html New Vegas attraction helps Grand Junction's economy]
  83. ^ a b Deaths shut The Eye
  84. ^ The History of 'La grande Roue de Paris'
  85. ^ a b Technical Information
  86. ^ Anker, Jens (4 Nov 2004). "Schausteller verspricht Riesenrad am Container-Bahnhof [Fairground showman promises Ferris wheel at the Goods Station]" (in German). Welt Online. http://www.welt.de/print-welt/article350407/Schausteller_verspricht_Riesenrad_am_Container_Bahnhof.html. 
  87. ^ "Steiger Build-Up - Technical data". http://www.riesenrad.de/page.php?rubrik=2&page=0&lang=en. Retrieved 10 June 2010. 
  88. ^ Klessmann, Michael (30 August 2010). "Riesenrad in der Hafencity [Ferris Wheel Harbour Town's City Centre]" (in German). HafenCity News. http://www.hafencitynews.de/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1210&Itemid=57. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  89. ^ "Riesenrad-Unfall: Freimarkt bekommt Europa-Rad als Ersatz [Ferris wheel accident: Freimarkt gets Europe Wheel instead]" (in German). Kreiszeitung. 12 October 2010. http://www.kreiszeitung.de/freimarkt-bremen/2010/freimarkt-aktuell/unfall-steiger-riesenrad-abbau-oldenburg-957650.html. 
  90. ^ Ocean County NJ History, Seaside
  91. ^ Wonder Wheel History
  92. ^ a b Mickey's Fun Wheel - Disney's California Adventure
  93. ^ Yokohama Accommodation
  94. ^ SixFlagsHouston.com - Rides - Astrowheel
  95. ^ Need Six Flags Great America Tickets?
  96. ^ Theme Park Timelines
  97. ^ Zoning Board Minutes - 10-25-00
  98. ^ Sky Whirl at Marriott's Great America parks
  99. ^ a b c Mickey's Fun Wheel
  100. ^ Coaster wheel
  101. ^ The Wonder Wheel
  102. ^ Chance, Harold (2004). The Book of Chance. Wichita, Kansas: Wichita Press. pp. 31. ISBN 0-9649065-0-3. 
  103. ^ Allan Herschell Seattle Wheel
  104. ^ Skywheel (Manufactured by both Allan Herschell and Chance Rides)
  105. ^ a b c Chance Morgan
  106. ^ Chance Astro Wheel
  107. ^ One of a Kind ‘Giant Wheel’ Debuts in Niagara Falls, Canada
  108. ^ Eli Bridge Company :: Jacksonville, IL :: Ferris Wheels
  109. ^ The Great Wheel Corporation | Singapore Flyer | Great Wheel Beijing Orlando Berlin Dubai
  110. ^ World Tourist Attractions, Great Wheel Merge Ahead Of IPO
  111. ^ Intamin - Ride Trade - The Art of Thrill - Giant Wheels
  112. ^ Ronald Bussink Professional Rides
  113. ^ Senyo Kogyo Co, Ltd. - Diamond and Flower Ferris Wheel (Japanese)
  114. ^ canadianarchitect.com - Reinventing the Wheel

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Look at other dictionaries:

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