Who was George Washington ferris jr

Have you ever wondered who invented the iconic Ferris Wheel, a symbol of joy and excitement at amusement parks worldwide? It was none other than George Washington Ferris Jr., an ingenious engineer and inventor. In this article, we will delve into the life, achievements, and lasting legacy of this remarkable individual who brought the world a new way to experience thrill and wonder.

Early Life and Education

George Washington Ferris Jr. was born on February 14, 1859, in Galesburg, Illinois. Growing up, he displayed an exceptional aptitude for engineering and mechanics. He pursued his passion for engineering at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, where he graduated with a degree in civil engineering.

Ferris Wheel Invention

The idea for the Ferris Wheel came to George Washington Ferris Jr. after he heard about the World’s Columbian Exposition, also known as the Chicago World’s Fair, which was planned for 1893. Inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, he envisioned a grand attraction that would surpass any existing amusement ride.

The World’s Columbian Exposition

The 1893 World Columbian Exposition held in Chicago was a perfect opportunity for George Washington Ferris Jr. to showcase his revolutionary invention. The Ferris Wheel, towering at 264 feet, with 36 cars each capable of carrying 60 passengers, instantly became the star attraction of the fair. It provided breathtaking views of the city and surrounding areas, captivating the imaginations of all who rode it.

Impact and Legacy

The success of the Ferris Wheel at the World’s Columbian Exposition propelled George Washington Ferris Jr. into the limelight. His invention revolutionized the amusement park industry, and Ferris Wheels started popping up around the world. The Ferris Wheel became a symbol of progress, innovation, and a source of pure joy for millions of people.

Controversies Surrounding the Wheel

Despite its popularity, the Ferris Wheel faced several controversies during its early years. Some engineers and critics doubted its structural integrity, questioning whether it could support the weight and movement of the passengers. However, George Washington Ferris Jr.’s engineering brilliance and meticulous design silenced the skeptics.

Personal Life and Later Years

While George Washington Ferris Jr.’s professional life soared, his personal life faced numerous challenges. He struggled with financial difficulties, and unfortunately, his health deteriorated. Ferris Jr. passed away on November 22, 1896, at the age of 37. Nevertheless, his legacy lives on in the magnificent Ferris Wheels that continue to mesmerize and thrill people worldwide.


George Washington Ferris Jr. was a visionary and an exceptional engineer who created one of the most beloved and iconic amusement park attractions—the Ferris Wheel. His invention captured the hearts and imaginations of people around the globe. Today, Ferris Wheels serve as a testament to his genius and continue to provide unforgettable experiences for people of all ages.


When was the Ferris Wheel invented?

George Washington Ferris Jr. invented the Ferris Wheel in 1893 for the World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago.

How tall was the original Ferris Wheel?

The original Ferris Wheel stood at an impressive height of 264 feet, making it a towering and awe-inspiring structure.

How many passengers could the original Ferris Wheel carry?

The original Ferris Wheel had 36 cars, and each car had the capacity to carry up to 60 passengers, allowing for a large number of people to experience the exhilarating ride simultaneously.

What inspired George Washington Ferris Jr. to create the Ferris Wheel?

George Washington Ferris Jr. drew inspiration from the Eiffel Tower in Paris. He wanted to design a spectacular attraction that would surpass anything seen before in amusement parks.

What impact did the Ferris Wheel have on the amusement park industry?

The Ferris Wheel revolutionized the amusement park industry by introducing a new level of excitement and grandeur. It became a must-have attraction in parks worldwide, offering visitors a unique and thrilling experience.

Are there any famous Ferris Wheels around the world today?

Yes, there are several famous Ferris Wheels around the world. Some notable examples include the London Eye in England, the Singapore Flyer in Singapore, and the High Roller in Las Vegas, USA.

How did George Washington Ferris Jr. address concerns about the Ferris Wheel’s safety?

George Washington Ferris Jr. was a meticulous engineer who designed the Ferris Wheel with utmost attention to safety. He incorporated innovative engineering principles to ensure the structural integrity of the wheel, addressing any doubts or concerns about its safety.

What other contributions did George Washington Ferris Jr. make to engineering?

Apart from the Ferris Wheel, George Washington Ferris Jr. made significant contributions to the field of civil engineering. He worked on various projects, including bridge designs and the development of unique water and sewer systems.

How long did the original Ferris Wheel operate?

The original Ferris Wheel operated for several years after the World’s Columbian Exposition. However, due to financial difficulties and maintenance challenges, it was eventually dismantled in 1906.

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