A Ferris wheel (also known as an observation wheel or big wheel), named after George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr., is a nonbuilding structure consisting of a rotating upright wheel with multiple passenger-carrying components (commonly referred to as passenger cars, cabins, capsules, gondolas, or pods) attached to the rim in such a way that as the wheel turns, they are kept upright, usually by gravity.
Some of the largest modern Ferris wheels have cars mounted on the outside of the rim, with 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. These alternative names are 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 is used generically for all such structures, which are now the most common type of carnival ride at state fairs in the US.
Since the original 1893 Chicago Ferris Wheel, there have been eight world's tallest-ever Ferris wheels. The record holder is the 165-metre (541 ft) Singapore Flyer, opened to the public in March 2008.
- 1 Early history
- 2 World's tallest Ferris wheels
- 3 Observation wheels
- 4 Transportable wheels
- 5 Double and triple wheels
- 6 Eccentric wheels
- 7 Major designers, manufacturers, & operators
- 8 References
|Early pleasure wheels depicted in 17th-century engravings, to the left by Adam Olearius, to the right a Turkish design, apparently for adults|
The travels of Peter Mundy in Europe and Asia, 1608-1667 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. 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:
|“||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.
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.
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". George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. rode on Somers' wheel in Atlantic City prior to designing his wheel for the World's Columbian Exposition. In 1893 Somers filed a lawsuit against Ferris for patent infringement, however Ferris and his lawyers successfully argued that the Ferris Wheel and its technology differed greatly from Somers' wheel, and the case was dismissed.
The original Ferris Wheel
With a height of 80.4 metres (264 ft) it was the largest attraction at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, where it opened to the public on June 21, 1893. It was intended to rival the 324-metre (1,063 ft) Eiffel Tower, the centerpiece of the 1889 Paris Exposition.
Ferris was a 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.
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. The wheel carried some 38,000 passengers daily 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.
Antique Ferris wheels
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) 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.
Following the demolition of the 100-metre (328 ft) Grande Roue de Paris in 1920, the Riesenrad became the world's tallest extant Ferris wheel. In 1944 it burnt down, but was rebuilt the following year 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), Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948), The Third Man (1949), The Living Daylights (1987), Before Sunrise (1995)) and novels.
World's tallest Ferris wheels
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. Construction began in March 1894 and it opened to the public on July 17, 1895. It stayed in service until 1906 and was demolished in 1907, having carried over 2.5 million passengers.
- 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, 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), 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).
- 1997: the Tempozan Ferris Wheel, in Osaka, Japan, opened to the public on July 12, and is 112.5 metres (369 ft) tall.
- 1999: the Daikanransha at Palette Town in Odaiba, Japan, is 115 metres (377 ft) tall.
- 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.
||Singapore||Marina Centre, Downtown Core||World's tallest 2008-current|
|Star of Nanchang||
||China||Nanchang, Jiangxi||World's tallest 2006-2008|
||UK||South Bank, Lambeth, London||World's tallest 2000-2006|
|Suzhou Ferris Wheel||
||Australia||Waterfront City, Melbourne||Closed since Jan.2009 for repairs|
||China||Yongle Bridge, Tianjin||Tallest built over a bridge|
|Changsha Ferris Wheel||
|Zhengzhou Ferris Wheel||
||China||Century Amusement Park, Henan|
|Sky Dream Fukuoka||
||Japan||Evergreen Marinoa, Fukuoka, Kyūshū||Closed September 2009|
|Diamond and Flower Ferris Wheel||
||Japan||Kasai Rinkai Park, Tokyo, Honshū|
|Star of Lake Tai ||
||China||Lake Tai, Wuxi, Jiangsu||Picture|
||Japan||Palette Town, Odaiba, Honshū||World's tallest 1999-2000|
|Cosmo Clock 21 (2nd installation)||
||Japan||Minato Mirai 21, Yokohama, Honshū|
|Tempozan Ferris Wheel||
||Japan||Osaka, Honshū||World's tallest 1997-1999|
|Harbin Ferris Wheel||
|Shanghai Ferris Wheel||
||China||Jinjiang Action Park, Shanghai|
|Cosmo Clock 21 (1st installation)||
||Japan||Minato Mirai 21, Yokohama, Honshū||Unknown||World's tallest 1989-1997|
||Unknown||Japan||Space World, Kitakyūshū, Kyūshū||Picture|
|Grande Roue de Paris||
||France||Champ de Mars, Paris||World's tallest 1900-1920|
||UK||Earls Court, London||World's tallest 1895-1900|
|Aurora Wheel||Unknown||Japan||Nagashima Spa Land, Mie, Honshū||Picture|
||Italy||Mirabilandia, Ravenna||Tallest extant in Europe 1999|
|Sky Wheel||Unknown||Taiwan||Janfusun Fancyworld, Gukeng|
|Japan||Expoland, Osaka, Honshū (?-2009)
Expo '85, Tsukuba, Honshū (1985-?)
World's tallest extant 1985-1989
|The original Ferris Wheel||
||US||Chicago (1893-1903); St.Louis (1904-06)||Ferris Wheel coordinates||World's tallest 1893-1894|
Following the huge success of the 135-metre (443 ft) London Eye since it opened in 2000, giant Ferris wheels have been proposed for many other world-class cities, however a large number of these projects have stalled or failed.
- Erection currently in progress
- The 167.6 m  (550 ft) High Roller is currently nearing completion on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada, US. The last of its 28 cabins was installed on 3 December 2013, completing the structure of the wheel. Due to open in February 2014, it is 2.6 metres (9 ft) taller than the Singapore Flyer, the world's tallest operational Ferris wheel.
- Erection yet to begin
- The 210 m (689 ft) Dubai Eye was announced in February 2013, with construction planned to begin at Bluewaters Island in the United Arab Emirates in June 2013, and will cost US$1.6 billion. Design and construction are to be undertaken by Hyundai Contracting and Starneth Engineering.
- The 190.5 m (625 ft) New York Wheel, first reported in June 2012 and officially announced by mayor Michael Bloomberg in September 2012, is to be constructed at Staten Island, New York City, alongside the planned Harbor Commons retail complex. Construction was originally expected to begin early in 2014. Completion was originally expected to be in 2015, but this has since been put back several times. In April 2013 it was reported to be 4 July 2016.
- The proposed Orlando Eye has been reported to be both 129.6 m (425 ft) and 137.1 m (450 ft) tall. Part of I-Drive Live, a proposed retail and entertainment project to be jointly developed by Merlin Entertainments, Unicorp National Developments, and Circle Entertainment, the wheel was reported to be in the early stages of planning in March 2011, with completion due in the summer of 2014, and was approved by county commissioners in September 2012. In January 2013 it was reported that the expected opening date had been pushed back to "by Thanksgiving [November] 2014".
Incomplete, delayed, or cancelled proposals
Wheels for which no completion date has been announced, or whose original completion date has already passed:
- Erection begun but delayed, stalled, or abandoned
- The Skyvue Las Vegas Super Wheel (or SkyVue - the official website uses both), was originally announced as being 145 m (476 ft) tall, but has since been reported to be 150 m (492 ft) and 152.4 m  (500 ft). Approved by Clark County Commission in March 2011, it is now under construction on the Las Vegas Strip. 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", the completion date has since been put back several times. In July 2012 it was reported that the opening was scheduled for New Year's Eve, 2013. As of September 2013, the projected opening has been delayed until mid-2015.
- The 89-metre (292 ft) Turn of Fortune has been under construction in Changzhou, Jiangsu, China, since 2009. The 84-metre (276 ft) diameter structure could supersede the 60-metre (197 ft) Big O, in Tokyo, Japan, as the world's tallest centreless Ferris wheel, but completion has been repeatedly delayed.
- Erection not begun
- The 220 m (722 ft) Moscow View, proposed in 2011, would feature 48 monorail-mounted passenger capsules, each able to carry 48 passengers, travelling round a centreless non-rotating rim. At that time, the timeframe for its construction was unknown and its site within Moscow had yet to be selected, though candidates were said to include the All-Russia Exhibition Centre, Gorky Park, Prospekt Vernadskogo, and Sparrow Hills. In December 2011 the project was reported to be stalled due to lack of City Hall approval.
- The 208 m (682 ft) Beijing Great Wheel was originally due to begin construction in 2007 and to open in 2008, but went into receivership in 2010. It was one of at least five Great Wheel Corporation giant Ferris wheel projects which failed between 2007 and 2010.
- 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. In October 2008, it was reported that Al-Zawraa Park was expected to be the site, and a 55 m (180 ft) wheel was installed there in March 2011.
- 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, but it has since been announced that the Great Dubai Wheel will not be built. It was one of at least five Great Wheel Corporation giant Ferris wheel projects which failed between 2007 and 2010.
- The 183 m (600 ft) Voyager has been proposed several times for Las Vegas, Nevada.
- 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.
- The 175 m (574 ft) Great Berlin Wheel was originally planned to open in 2008 but the project encountered financial obstacles. It was one of at least five Great Wheel Corporation giant Ferris wheel projects which failed between 2007 and 2010.
- The 150 m (492 ft) Jeddah Eye was proposed in 2008, as part of a development scheduled to open in 2012 in Saudi Arabia. Construction was to have begun in 2009, but there were no subsequent announcements. It was one of at least five Great Wheel Corporation giant Ferris wheel projects which failed between 2007 and 2010.
- A 137.2 m (450 ft) Ferris wheel project involving Tussauds was considered for New York City's South Street Seaport in 2004, but was never built.
- The 122 m (400 ft) Great Orlando Wheel was announced in June 2008 but then suspended in early 2009 after losing its funding. It was one of at least five Great Wheel Corporation giant Ferris wheel projects which failed between 2007 and 2010.
- 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.
- The 101-metre (331 ft) Eye on Malaysia, a Chinese-manufactured wheel with 54 passenger gondolas, was scheduled to begin operating in April 2013 at Malacca Island, Malaysia. In November 2012, Chief Minister of the state of Malacca Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam stated that the installation of piles had brought the RM40 million wheel to 15 per cent of completion, and that "the installation of the wheel structure will begin in February ." Mohd Ali Rustam had previously announced the Malaysia Eye, which conflicting reports stated would be 85 metres (279 ft) or 88 metres (289 ft) tall, also to be sourced from China and located at Malacca Island, and to have 54 air-conditioned gondolas, each able to carry six people. It was scheduled to open on December 1, 2011, but was never built.
- A 91.4 m (300 ft) wheel planned for Manchester, England, for 2008, 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. 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.
Nippon Moon, described as a "giant observation wheel" by its designers, was reported in September 2013 to be "currently in development". At that time, its height was "currently undisclosed", but "almost twice the scale of the wheel in London." Its location, an unspecified Japanese city, was "currently under wraps", and its funding had "yet to be entirely secured." Commissioned by Ferris Wheel Investment Co., Ltd., and designed by UNStudio in collaboration with Arup, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and Experientia, it was expected to have 32 individually-themed capsules and take 40 minutes to rotate once.
Kolkata Eye is a possible name for a giant wheel proposed in 2011 for construction on the banks of Hooghly River in Kolkata, India. Favoured by Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal, the project is valued at 100 crore rupees. Possible sites include four acres of land belonging to Hooghly Reserve Bridge Commission, and two acres of land belonging to Kolkata Port Trust.
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". 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.
Rus-3000, a 170-metre (558 ft) wheel planned to open in 2004 in Moscow, has since been reported cancelled. Subsequently, an approximately 180-metre (591 ft) wheel was considered for Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure, and a 150-metre (492 ft) wheel proposed for location near Sparrow Hills. Another giant wheel planned for Prospekt Vernadskogo for 2002 was also never built.
Observation wheel is an alternative name for Ferris wheel. 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".
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.
Currently, there are only two major operational 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, but credited as "world's largest Ferris wheel" by the media.
The 135 m (443 ft) London Eye, typically described as a "giant Ferris wheel" by the media, has ovoidal externally-mounted motorised capsules and is the "world's tallest cantilevered observation wheel" 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." The Singapore Flyer, which is supported on both sides, bills itself as the "world's largest observation wheel".
The 120 m (394 ft) Melbourne Star (previously the Southern Star) in Australia, has ovoidal externally-mounted motorised capsules and is described by its operators as "the only observation wheel in the southern hemisphere", but also as a Ferris wheel by the media. The tallest in the Southern Hemisphere, it opened two years behind schedule in December 2008, but then closed 40 days later due to structural defects, and the wheel was subsequently dismantled. Reconstruction, begun in January 2011 and repeatedly delayed, is now expected to be completed before the end of 2013.
The proposed 167.6 m (550 ft) High Roller, announced in August 2011 and originally scheduled for completion on the Las Vegas Strip in late 2013, is to feature externally-mounted motorised capsules of a transparent spherical design, and is described as both a Ferris wheel and an observation wheel by the media.
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.
One of the most famous transportable wheels is the 60-metre (197 ft) 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.
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. Bussink R60 wheels have operated in Australia (Brisbane), Canada (Niagara Falls), France (Paris), Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur & Malacca), UK (Belfast, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield), US (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. It has 42 passenger cars, and weighs 450 tons. On October 11, 2010, it collapsed at the Kramermarkt in Oldenburg, Germany, during deconstruction.
Notable transportable Ferris wheel installations:
|Eye on Malaysia||
|Royal Windsor Wheel||
|Wheel of Birmingham||
|Wheel of Brisbane||
|Wheel of Dublin||
||Ireland||North Wall, Dublin|
|Wheel of Manchester||
||UK||Exchange Square, Manchester|
|Wheel of Sheffield||
Double and triple wheels
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.
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, Triple Giant Wheel, or Triple Tree Wheel, it was 33 metres (108 ft) in height. The Santa Clara ride, renamed Triple Wheel in post-Marriott years, closed on 1 September 1997. The Gurnee ride closed in 2000.
Eccentric wheels (sometimes called sliding wheels or coaster wheels) 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 California Adventure Park, US, and Wonder Wheel, at Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, Coney Island, US. The former is a replica of the latter. There is a second replica in Yokahama, Japan.
Mickey's Fun Wheel is 48.8 metres (160 ft) tall 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. Inspired by Coney Island's 1920 Wonder Wheel, it was designed by Walt Disney Imagineering and Waagner Biro, completed in 2001 as the Sun Wheel, and later refurbished and reopened in 2009 as Mickey's Fun Wheel.
Major designers, manufacturers, & operators
- Seattle Wheel (debuted 1962): 16 cars, 2 passengers per car
- Sky Wheel (debuted 1939; also manufactured by Chance Rides): 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
- Astro Wheel (debuted 1967): 16 cars (8 facing one way, 8 the other), 2 passengers per car
- Century Wheel: 20 m (66 ft) tall, 15 cars, 4-6 passengers per car
- Giant Wheel: 27 m (89 ft) tall, 20 cars, 6-8 passengers per car
- Niagara SkyWheel (2006): 53.3 m (175 ft) tall, 42 air-conditioned cars, 8 passengers per car
- Myrtle Beach SkyWheel (2011): 57 m (187 ft) tall, 42 air-conditioned cars, 6 passengers per car
- Eli Bridge Company
- 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
- Singapore Flyer: 165 m (541 ft) tall, completed 2008; currently world's tallest Ferris wheel
- Beijing Great Wheel: 208 m (682 ft) tall, under construction since 2007, now in receivership
- Great Dubai Wheel: 185 m (607 ft) tall, planning permission granted in 2006, was supposed to open in 2009
- Great Berlin Wheel: 175 m (574 ft) tall, was supposed to open in 2008
- Great Orlando Wheel: 122 m (400 ft) tall, project halted in 2009
Mir / Pax
- Wheels of Excellence range (sold to Vekoma in 2008) has included:
- R40: 40-metre (131 ft) tall fixed or transportable wheel, 15 or 30 cars, 8 passengers per car
- R50: 50-metre (164 ft) tall fixed or transportable wheel, 18 or 36 cars, 8 passengers per car
- R60: 60-metre (197 ft) tall transportable wheel, 21 or 42 cars, 8 passengers per car
- R80: 80-metre (262 ft) tall fixed wheel, 56 cars, 8 passengers per car
- Bussink Design:
- R80XL: 78-metre (256 ft) tall fixed or transportable wheel, 27 16-person cars, or 54 8-person cars
- Melbourne Star: 120 m (394 ft) tall, completed 2008, rebuilt 2009-2013
- Senyo Kogyo Co, Ltd.
- Cosmo Clock 21: 107.5 m (353 ft) tall, completed 1989; world's tallest wheel 1989 to 1997; 112.5 m (369 ft) tall when re-erected in 1999
- Diamond and Flower Ferris Wheel: 117 m (384 ft) tall, world's second tallest wheel when completed in 2001
- Tempozan Ferris Wheel: 112.5 m (369 ft) tall, completed 1997; world's tallest wheel 1997 to 1999
- World Tourist Attractions / Great City Attractions / Wheels Entertainments / Freij Entertainment International
- Still turning – Jacksonville built the world's first portable Ferris Wheel
- Eyes in the sky
- The travels of Peter Mundy in Europe and Asia, 1608-1667
- Wilfrid Blount, Pietro's pilgrimage: a journey to India and back at the beginning of the seventeenth century, Volume 1
- explorepahistory.com - Ferris Wheel Inventor Historical Marker
- U.S. Patents for Ferris Wheels
- Cahan, Richard (2002). A court that shaped America : Chicago's federal district court from Abe Lincoln to Abbie Hoffman ([Online-Ausg.] ed.). Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press. p. 45. ISBN 0-8101-1981-1.
- Ferris wheels - an illustrated history, Norman D. Anderson
- Hyde Park Historical Society: Chicago's Great Ferris Wheel of 1893, Patrick Meehan
- The Kensington Canal, railways and related developments - British History Online
- "Bird's-Eye View of the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893". World Digital Library. 1893. Retrieved 2013-07-17.
- George Ferris
- Wiener Riesenrad - technical data
- Wiener Riesenrad - history
- Great Wheel, Earls Court - English Heritage Images
- The Great Wheel, Earl's Court Exhibition Ground
- The Ferris Wheel's London Rival - The New York Times
- PhotoLondon: National Monuments Record - The Great Wheel, London
- Senyo Kogyo Co, Ltd. - company profile
- Senyo Kogyo Co, Ltd. - Cosmo Clock 21 (Japanese)
- KIPPO NEWS Tuesday, June 24, 1997[dead link] (Japanese)
- Palette Town Daikanransha website date page (Japanese)
- World’s top 10 tallest Ferris wheels
- The Ferris Wheel to Revolve Hopefully on May Day[dead link]
- Century pleasure garden Profile(Chinese)
- Evergreen marinoa official website[dead link] (Japanese)
- China's Highest Ferris Wheel under Construction
- The wheel deal: Amusement park offers lofty view
- Shanghai Jinjiang Amusement Park Introduction Archived 11 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine
- Space World attractions information
- Nagashima Resort Guide Book
- Mirabilandia - Vivi il Divertimento! Novità 2009 - ISpeed, il nuovo Roller Coaster!
- 劍湖山世界 welcome to janfusun fancyworld Archived 17 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine
- NYC Ferris wheel project has big backers
- Las Vegas to build world's tallest observation wheel
- World's tallest observation wheel coming to Las Vegas
- Final passenger cabin affixed to High Roller, but work continues
- High Roller nearing completion of pod phase
- High Roller: world's largest Ferris wheel hoisted into place in Las Vegas
- Dubai to get world's largest ferris wheel
- Dh6b tourism project in Dubai unveiled
- Dubai Eye: Construction Of World's Largest Ferris Wheel Set To Begin Later This Year
- Dubai eyes world's tallest observation wheel
- Dubai proposes Ferris wheel taller than planned Staten Island wheel; would be completed before NYC attraction
- St. George Waterfront | NYCEDC | North Site Conceptual Rendering - View towards Manhattan from Elevated Open Space
- Bloomberg announces plan for record-breaking ferris wheel
- World's tallest observation wheel to tower over New York
- The New York Wheel is coming to Staten Island
- World’s Biggest Ferris Wheel to Anchor Staten Island Complex
- Wheeler-dealer SI Ferris lawsuit
- Staten Island outlet mall planned near New York Wheel to include Nike, Adidas, Coach
- What kind of view will the Orlando Eye deliver when it's built?
- Giant I-Drive wheel approved after owner backs off from huge sign
- Orlando to Get Giant 'Eye' Ferris Wheel
- "Myrtle Beach’s SkyWheel to be eclipsed by bigger East Coast options". The Sun News. 2012-10-20. Retrieved 2012-10-21.
- Giant observation wheel part of major project on International Drive
- Skyvue Las Vegas to Soar 500 Feet above Strip - For Immediate Release
- High stakes for dueling Vegas observation wheels
- Colorado's Leitner-Poma to build cabins for huge observation wheel in Las Vegas
- Developers begin next construction phase for SkyVue's 500-foot wheel
- SkyVue Las Vegas Observation Wheel Completes First Phase Of Construction, Breaks Ground On Retail & Dining District
- Las Vegas developer breaks ground on 500-foot Ferris wheel project
- Dueling mega-Ferris wheels in Vegas
- World's tallest observation wheel given the green light to be a high roller on Vegas strip
- Bulloch's big wheel long shot, and getting longer
- Do you dare take on world's largest 'spokeless' Ferris wheel? Chinese attraction is surely asking for trouble
- Moscow plans an observation wheel to beat Las Vegas 'High Roller' project
- Moscow Hopes To Boost Tourism With a Giant Spokeless Ferris Wheel
- Moscow’s new Ferris wheel to see farther than London Eye
- Observation Wheel May Tower Over Moscow
- AFP: Beijing begins construction of world's biggest wheel
- Beijing Ferris wheel company in receivership
- Yacoub, Sameer. "Baghdad plans to build giant Ferris wheel". Associated Press. Retrieved 2008-08-28.
- Iraq Looking To Build Giant Observation Wheel In Baghdad To Promote Tourism
- Iraq plans giant Ferris wheel, hopes to lure tourists to Baghdad Archived 29 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
- Wikinews: Iraq plans 'Baghdad Eye' to draw in tourists
- Obama ad attacks McCain for Baghdad Ferris wheel project being built on land leased by a Democratic Party donor
- New Ferris wheel attracts leisure-starved Iraqis
- Great Dubai Wheel Gets the Green Light
- McGinley, Shane (5 January 2012). "Dubai's answer to London Eye scrapped, search on for stand-in". Arabian Business via Arabianbusiness.com. Retrieved 5 January 2012.
- Voyager Entertainment International, Inc.
- Voyager Las Vegas
- BMA plans to build 'Bangkok Eye' on Chao Phya bank
- Planned Great Wheel for I-Drive area of Orlando on hold - South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com
- Contract Signed to Build $250 million Jeddah Eye Contract Signed to Build $250 million Jeddah Eye
- Ferris Wheel to Downtown Manhattan?
- Developer to roll out plans for Great Orlando Wheel attraction Archived 10 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- Manchester 'monster' wheel plans confirmed
- BERNAMA - 'Eye On Malaysia' Wheel In Pulau Melaka To Operate In April
- CM: Pulau Melaka to house 85m-tall substitute giant wheel from China soon
- Malacca to get bigger Ferris wheel Archived 28 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
- Big wheel returns to city centre
- Opening delayed for Pepsi Globe Ferris wheel at Meadowlands Xanadu
- Panel will advise Gov. Christie on four potential suitors in Xanadu redevelopment
- UNStudio - GOW NIPPON MOON
- Giant Japanese ferris wheel 'Nippon Moon' to be among largest in world
- Mamata wants a Kolkata Eye on the lines of London Eye
- Eye on "Kolkata Eye"
- Kolkata’s London dreams to take shape soon
- Asia Times Online - China Business News - China's ill-conceived image projects
- Developer spurns Alsop’s £100m Shanghai Kiss
- World's Tallest Ferris Wheel Proposed In Moscow - Emporis.com
- Project has Muscovites going 'round and 'round - csmonitor.com
- Moscow Ferris Wheel, Moscow - Emporis.com
- Moscow News - Local - Bringing back the big whee
- Кризис закруглится в ЦПКиО - Мегаполис - GZT.ru
- Lenta.ru - В России - Для Парка Горького выберут новое колесо обозрения
- Чертово колесо - разберут в московском ЦПКиО - BN.ru газет
- FAQs on Private Capsules - Singapore Flyer[dead link]
- London's Eye in the sky not just a Ferris wheel
- MSN Encarta - Ferris Wheel
- Inventor of the Week - George Ferris
- We don't use the F-word
- Singapore to open world's largest Ferris wheel - Reuters
- Dozens trapped in world's largest ferris wheel as Singapore Flyer judders to a halt - Times Online
- London: 10 Things to Do in 24 Hours - 3. The London Eye - TIME
- Wheel deal: the London Eye turns 10 - Jonathan Glancey - Art and design - guardian.co.uk
- Is it a Ferris wheel?
- Home - Singapore Flyer
- Welcome to the Southern Star
- Work to spin Ferris wheel
- Southern Star Observation Wheel profile
- Melbourne’s big wheel of misfortune
- Docklands' trouble-plagued observation wheel set to open in ten weeks
- Las Vegas plans to top London Eye with massive Ferris wheel
- A vital Linq for Las Vegas
- New Vegas attraction helps Grand Junction's economy
- R80 XL World's Largest Transportable Giant Wheel - Welcome
- Bussink launches world's tallest transportable Ferris Wheel
- Ferris R80XL
- München dreht ein großes Ding
- The History of 'La grande Roue de Paris'
- Technical Information
- Anker, Jens (4 Nov 2004). "Schausteller verspricht Riesenrad am Container-Bahnhof" [Fairground showman promises Ferris wheel at the Goods Station]. Welt Online (in German).
- "Steiger Build-Up - Technical data". Retrieved 10 June 2010.
- Klessmann, Michael (30 August 2010). "Riesenrad in der Hafencity" [Ferris Wheel Harbour Town's City Centre]. HafenCity News (in German). Retrieved 3 March 2011.
- "Riesenrad-Unfall: Freimarkt bekommt Europa-Rad als Ersatz" [Ferris wheel accident: Freimarkt gets Europe Wheel instead]. Kreiszeitung (in German). 12 October 2010.
- Ocean County NJ History, Seaside
- Wonder Wheel History
- Mickey's Fun Wheel - Disney's California Adventure
- Yokohama Accommodation
- Zamperla Rides
- canadianarchitect.com - Reinventing the Wheel
- SixFlagsHouston.com - Rides - Astrowheel
- Need Six Flags Great America Tickets?
- Theme Park Timelines
- Zoning Board Minutes - 10-25-00[dead link]
- Sky Whirl at Marriott's Great America parks
- Mickey's Fun Wheel Archived 7 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine
- Coaster wheel
- The Wonder Wheel
- Chance, Harold (2004). The Book of Chance. Wichita, Kansas: Wichita Press. p. 31. ISBN 0-9649065-0-3.
- Allan Herschell Seattle Wheel
- Skywheel (Manufactured by both Allan Herschell and Chance Rides)
- Chance Celebrates 50 Years of Fun and Attractions
- Chance Morgan Archived 11 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine
- Chance Astro Wheel
- One of a Kind ‘Giant Wheel’ Debuts in Niagara Falls, Canada
- Myrtle Beach SkyWheel Press and News
- Eli Bridge Company :: Jacksonville, IL :: Ferris Wheels
- The Great Wheel Corporation | Singapore Flyer | Great Wheel Beijing Orlando Berlin Dubai
- World Tourist Attractions, Great Wheel Merge Ahead Of IPO
- Intamin - Ride Trade - The Art of Thrill - Giant Wheels
- Waagner-Biro Ride Catalogue page
- A business story with twists and turns
- Senyo Kogyo Co, Ltd. - Diamond and Flower Ferris Wheel (Japanese) Archived 1 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine
- Welcome to Great City Attraction
- Freij Wheels Attractions
- Freij - FERRIS WHEEL
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ferris wheels.|