Big Wheel Keeps on Turning
July 28, 2007 3:21 AM   Subscribe

Ferris wheels making a comeback. Wheels across the world, past, present, and future, big and small. Graphic comparing various wheels. The London Eye. The Singapore Flyer. A triple Ferris Wheel that closed 10 years ago. And George Washington Gale Ferris's 1893 wheel that started it all.
posted by grouse (14 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
"The Star Of Nanchang"
posted by RavinDave at 3:33 AM on July 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Ferris wheels making a comeback are turning up again.

Fixed that for ya.
posted by Smart Dalek at 5:27 AM on July 28, 2007

What goes around comes around. Interesting post.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:00 AM on July 28, 2007

Awesome, grouse, thanks! I always make sure to ride the ferris wheel when the fair comes to town. My tummy lost the ability to handle many of my other favorite rides. (Self-link: here's a photo I took of the ferris wheel at our fair. That page is usually a popup window, so don't hit the "close window" link then cuss at me.)
posted by The Deej at 7:23 AM on July 28, 2007

That triple ferris wheel looks like a Transformer in mid-transformation!

I read a lot of amusement park website, and watch all the documentaries about them, but have never seen anything like that one!
posted by The Deej at 7:25 AM on July 28, 2007

Save Ferris.
posted by cuban link flooded jesus at 7:31 AM on July 28, 2007

Weird that there's so little mention (none in the NYT article) of the Navy Pier Ferris wheel. While no record-breaker (only the third largest in the US) it was built in 1990 as an observation wheel, with spectacular views of downtown Chicago, and is probably partly responsible for the resurgence.

At the time it was built skeptics abounded, but it's proven an enduring attraction and even a secondary symbol of the city.

</civic booster>
posted by dhartung at 7:49 AM on July 28, 2007

There's supposedly a Ferris wheel buried at Forest Park from the 1904 World's Fair.
posted by pieoverdone at 8:43 AM on July 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Spinny rides made me sick to my stomach, and rides that make you go upside-down scare me (like the Zipper), so whenever I visited a carnival or fair the Ferris wheel was always one of my must-rides. This wheel at Maple Leaf Village was probably the tallest I've ever been on (seems to me that when it was up and running, it was proclaimed to be the largest wheel in Canada).
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:01 AM on July 28, 2007

I seriously contemplated buying a house with a small ferris wheel in it. Yes. IN it. In nearby Laurel, Montana, there is a church that was converted into a house. The owner purchased the ferris wheel from an "amusement park" called Oscar's Dreamland here in Billings. (It was an amusement park in name only; it was mostly a collection of antique tractors and farm equipment.) Oscar's closed down and auctioned everything off. The ferris wheel is installed in the basement, and rises through an opening in the main floor. Entering the foyer, you see the top half of the ferris wheel. Weird and fun! Oh, and it does indeed work.
posted by The Deej at 10:52 AM on July 28, 2007

The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson's excellent account of the Chicago Exhibition, includes the story of Ferris and his wheel, which was almost a disaster. Worth reading. Amazon link here. Nice post, grouse.
posted by ubiquity at 12:03 PM on July 28, 2007

I rode the Triple Wheel at Great America many years ago. Somehow it was never as fun as any of the smaller, crustier wheels I've been on. Maybe because the wheels themselves aren't all that huge, so while the thing looks impressive, it's just not that thrilling to be on it. Plus you don't really have the same experience of having your car stop at the top whilst people are embarking at the bottom, and swinging it so wildly that you can barely hold onto your snowcone. Ferris wheels in which you ride in a birdcage with a bunch of grownups can never be as much fun as those with a four-person rusty bench with a metal bar across your lap, the wind in your hair, and the crazy sounds and smells of the Midway rising and falling with each rotation.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:57 PM on July 28, 2007

Vienna's Riesenrad (featured in The Third Man).
posted by kirkaracha at 1:28 PM on July 28, 2007

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