The first Ferris wheel was built by and named after George Washington Gale Ferris (1859-1896) and was constructed as an attraction for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
Ferris had set out to build a structure that would rival the Eiffel Tower built four years earlier for the Paris Exposition.
The two towers that supported the wheel were 140 feet high, the wheel itself was 250 feet across, and the top of the structure was 264 feet above the ground.
It held more than 2,000 passengers, cost $380,000 to build, and earned more than $725,000 during the fair.
Unlike the Eiffel Tower, which survived plans for its demolition when it proved useful as a communications tower, the first Ferris wheel was destroyed in 1906.