Magna-Tiles Ferris Wheel

Magna-Tects made Ferris Wheels with  Magna-Tiles basic geometric and placed small items inside! 

Wheel = hexagon shaped, made with small squares

Base = rectangular prism, made with small squares

Magna-Tiles Play and Learn: Ferris Wheel History

Have you ever ridden a ferris wheel?! The creator of the Ferris Wheel is engineer George W.G. Ferris Jr.! He was born on Valentine’s Day Feburary 14, 1859. This year, Google celebrated his 154th Birthday by displaying the Google Doodle below!  It shows a scene with two, side-by-side Ferris Wheels in an amusement park.

George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. began his career in the railroad industry and was interested in bridge building. He founded a company, G.W.G. Ferris & Co., to test and inspect metals for railroads and bridge builders. In 1893, he traveled to Chicago, Illinois for the World’s Columbian Exposition. There was a challenge to American Engineers to to conceive a monument for the fair.

The Original 1893 Chicago Ferris Wheel

Ferris wanted to build a structure to outdo the Eiffel Tower, the centerpiece of the Paris Exhibition of 1889. The Exhibition’s Planners were looking for something “original, daring, and unique”.  His wheel was modeled on a bicycle wheel! It had heavy steel beams as spokes to maintain the wheel’s shape and balance and two steel girder pyramids in which the axle was set. Here are more interesting/awesome facts:

  • the wheel was 264 feet high
  • the supporting towers were 140 feet high
  • the axle weighed 46 1/2 tons!
  • it cost 50 cents (equal to the Exhibition’s general admission charge) for a 20-minute ride
  • it carried an estimated 1 1/2 million visitors at the Exhibition

Ferris’ innovative design, a model of efficiency, allowed it to withstand Chicago’s infamous winds while being able to hold about five times the 1,200 tons that it did carry fully loaded. It was a huge success! Please visit here to learn all about George Ferris (1859-1896) as an Inventor.

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