The first Ferris wheel
The first Ferris wheel
Looking through the Ferris wheel
Looking through the Ferris wheel
People at the Columbia Exposition in 1893
People at the Columbia Exposition in 1893
Near the Ferris wheel
Near the Ferris wheel
Ferris Wheel <br>George Ferris
Topic(s):   Inventions & Inventors
Quick Facts
Full name George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr.
Born February 14, 1859 (Galesburg, Illinois)
Died November 22, 1896 (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
Nationality American
Occupation(s) civil engineer, inventor
Major Achievement(s) invented the Ferris Wheel
Year Invented 1893

George Ferris lived in many places. When he was five, his family left Illinois. They moved to Nevada. George went to military school in California. Then he went to college in New York.

Ferris became a civil engineer. George designed bridges and tunnels. In 1890, he started Ferris, Kaufman and Company. It made big bridges.

In Chicago, Illinois, the World's Columbian Exhibition was being planned. It was going to be a huge fair. The planners wanted a big attraction. It had to be better than the Eiffel Tower. Ferris had an idea. He would make a huge wheel. People could ride on it. The planners thought it was crazy.

George Ferris did not give up. He got other engineers to say his design was good. He got people to help pay for it. Ferris went back to the planners. This time they said OK.

The Ferris Wheel was over 260 feet (79 meters) high. It weighed 4,000 tons (3630 metric tons). It had 36 fancy passenger cars. Each one could carry 40 to 60 people. The ride opened on June 21, 1893. People were afraid at first. But they could not resist. About 1.5 million (1,500,000) people rode the wheel. It earned $750,000 for the fair.

Other cities were not interested in George’s wheel idea. He thought the Chicago fair owed him money. He got divorced from his wife, Margaret. George died alone and bankrupt at age 37.

Resource information

Baker, Lu. (n.d.). George Washington Ferris--Creator of the Ferris Wheel. Retrieved from

George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. In Carsonpedia. Retrieved from,_Jr.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (n.d.). George Ferris (1859-1896). Retrieved from

Ulizio, Lindsey. (n.d.). Ferris, George Washington Gale Jr. Retrieved from

Citation information

APA Style:        Ferris Wheel: George Ferris. (2017, February). Retrieved from Facts4Me at

MLA Style:       "Ferris Wheel: George Ferris." Facts4Me. Feb. 2017.

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