Paperweight:The Ferris Wheel

Brisbois Photo1893

The Strong National Museum of Play

The Strong National Museum of Play

The great World's Fairs of the 19th century helped showcase the host nations' technological prowess. In 1851 England's Crystal Palace trumpeted that nation's industrial might; the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition featured the massive Corliss steam engine; and the Eiffel Tower anchored the Paris Universal Exposition of 1889. The Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago in 1893 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus's arrival in the New World, had to create something even more spectacular than those previous creations. Bridge-builder George W. Ferris designed a massive 250-foot steel wheel to carry nearly 2,000 passengers hundreds of feet in the air. Situated at the center of the midway amid a host of amusing entertainments, the Ferris wheel was the marvel of the Exposition. Long after the Exposition closed, this souvenir paperweight reminded fairgoers of where they had been and what they had seen. While Ferris's giant wheel was ultimately dismantled in 1906, Ferris wheels have been a staple of fairs and amusement parks throughout the country ever since.

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  • Title: Paperweight:The Ferris Wheel
  • Creator: Brisbois Photo
  • Date Created: 1893
  • Location: Chicago, IL?
  • Subject Keywords: Ferris wheel, World's Columbian Exposition, George W. G. Ferris
  • Type: Travel & Souvenirs
  • Medium: glass, paper, photomechanical
  • Object ID: 73.106