First Ferris Wheel

April 7, 2018 Construction

Title: First Ferris wheel Specific Purpose: To inform my audience the ability to understand the magnitude and ingenuity of the first ferris wheel built for the World’s Columbian Exposition at the Chicago Fair. Central Idea: The building of the first ferris wheel was an amazing accomplishment in 1893 Intro I. “There is nothing in the World’s Columbian Exposition that compares in genuine novelty and sensationalism with the great vertical wheel which stands in the very center of Midway. So said Robert Graves, a reporter for the newspaper “The Alleghenian: in July of 1893. Mr. Graves was referring to the ferris wheel, a new marvel created for the 1893 Chicago’s World Fair by engineer George Ferris. II. Most of you have ridden a ferris wheel at some point, probably at a county fair or an amusement park and may enjoyed the view from the top III. My favorite part of riding the ferris wheel is the wheel revolves. Imagine how it would feel if the highest point was 264 feet in the air IV.

The building of the first ferris wheel was an amazing accomplishment in 1893 V. Next, I will discuss the engineer who created the ferris wheel, the building of the wheel itself, and the public’s reaction to it at the Chicago World’s Fair. • (TR) Let us talk about George Ferris himself Body I. The Ferris wheel was designed by George Ferris, an engineer from Pittsburgh, to be placed at the 1893 Chicago World’s fair. A. Engineers across the country had been asked for their designs for a central creation for the fair. . According to Erik Larson’s 2003 book “The Devil in the White City”, which covered the history of the Chicago World’s Fairs, the fair’s director wanted a design that would outshine the Eiffel Tower, which had been built for the previous World’s Fair in Paris four years earlier. 2. Many designs were received but none was approved until George Ferris revealed his design for a 250 foot revolving wheel. B. At first, the Fair’s committee was unwilling to have the ferris wheel built. . As noted in the World’s Columbian Exposition, a book by Norman Bolotin and Christine Laing, many fair leaders thought that Ferris had “wheels in his head,” and that the whole idea was ridiculous. 2. The design seemed fragile and the public would oppose to the ferris wheel due to being afraid of it because of the height. 3. However, Ferris was committed to his idea. He made more detailed drawings, and raised enough money from investors to finance the project himself.

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According to Larson, in December of 1892, the committee finally gave Ferris permission to build his wheel on the fairgrounds. • (TR) Now that Ferris’s plans have been approved, it was time for the construction of the wheel to begin. II. The Ferris wheel was unlike anything that that had been built before A. The enormous size of the structure was the main challenge in building the wheel. 1. The plans called for a wheel which was 250 feet in diameter, and it had to be sturdy enough to support 2,000 passengers that would ride on it each time it made a revolution. . In order to accomplish this, the builders sunk eight 140-foot towers into 32 feet of cement to support the Ferris wheel’s giant axle. 3. According to Stanley Appelbaum, author of The Chicago’s World Fair of 1893, the 45-foot long axle of the Ferris wheel was the largest single piece of steel that have ever been forged together with its fittings, the axle weighed 142,000 pounds. B. There was also time constraints to consider 1. By the time Ferris received permission to build his wheel, there were only five months left until the Fair’s opening day. . Even with a large team of builders, Ferris was unable to meet this deadline. However, after much of the pressure from the Fair’s committee, the wheel was finally ready on June 21, 1892. • (TR) Now that the wheel was ready, it was time to see what the public though of it. III. The Ferris wheel upon completion was the highlight of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. A. The people that came to the fair had never seen anything like the Ferris wheel before and many were eager to ride on the new creation and impressed with the design. 1.

According to an article by Jack Klasey in the September 1993 issue of “American History Illustrated”, the Ferris wheel carried 36 passengers each. The cars had large windows to provide visibility and rows of swiveling chairs so that the passengers could enjoy their view and ride in comfort 2. The wheel carried 2,000 passengers at a time, making two full revolutions in twenty minutes. The highest point was 264 feet. From the top there was an excellent view of the whole fairgrounds. 3. During the four months that the wheel operated, almost 1. M people went for a ride on it. As Klasey points out, it was one of the fair’s most popular attractions. Conclusion I. In conclusion, how the first ferris wheel was thought of and was an amazing accomplishment in 1893 II. The designer, George Ferris, the building of the ferris wheel himself and the public reaction III. As Joshua Korenblat notes in a September 2004 “National Geographic” article, George Ferris took the Eiffel Tower, out it on a pivot, and made it move Works Cited Page Appelbaum, S (1980). The Chicago World’s Fair of 1893.

New York: Dover Publications, Inc. Bolotin, N. , & Laing C. (1992). The World’s Columbian Exposition: The Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press. Graves, R. (1893, July 1). The Big Ferris Wheel. The Alleghenian. K Lasey, J. (1993, September). Who invented the ferris wheel? Korenblat, J. (2004, September). Who scooped the first ice cream cone? National Geographic, 206, 33. Larson, E. (2003). The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the fair that changed America. New York: Vintage Books.

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