The Ferris wheel may be one of the greatest inventions of all time. It turned 100 years old in 1993.

George Washington Ferris, a civil engineer from Illinois, invented the Ferris wheel in the 1890’s. The first Ferris wheel was built for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The total Cost of the wheel was $300,000.00. Mr. Ferris’ invention was and still is the largest wheel ever built. It weighed 1,300 tons (that’s about how much a herd of 2,000 dairy cows would weigh !). The Ferris wheel stood 25 stories high and held over 1,400 passengers. From the top of the ride, passengers could see 50 miles. It took 20 minutes for the enormous wheel to make one complete turn. After the Chicago World’s Fair, the Ferris wheel was taken to the 1904 St. Louis Exposition.

After the Exposition, the wheel was returned to Chicago and dismantled because it was just too expensive to keep the wheel in operation. The metal from the Ferris wheel was used to build a large ship, the U.S.S. Illinois, during World War I.