Sunday, June 5, 2016

Ferris Wheels

George W. Ferris' Ferris Wheel - 1893 Chicago World's Fair
The Great Exhibition of 1851 held here in London is considered the first World's Fair. Held annually around the globe, early exhibitions or fairs served as a way for the hosting city to 'show off' their city as well as their food and innovations. Furthermore, World's Fairs allow various cultures to come together and mingle among themselves. Unveiled at the 1889 Paris World's Fair, Gustave Eiffel's Tour Eiffel served as the main entrance and showpiece for the exposition. One of the upcoming World's Fairs was scheduled to take place in The United States. In preparation for the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. was one of the engineers tasked with building a showpiece which rivaled The Eiffel Tower from four years prior. Many proposals and designs were presented but ultimately, Ferris' design was chosen, giving birth to the Ferris Wheel.

London Eye under construction
The London Eye was opened in 2000 to commemorate the new millennium. Although not a part of a World's Fair, the London Eye shares the same philosophy as many other structures or buildings unveiled at previous World's Fairs. The London Eye not only brings visitors from around the world like World Fairs do, but also serves as a means to showcase the city itself as riders are treated to a marvelous view of the city. However, many people considered The Eye a folly; a purposeless structure. Norman St. John-Stevas, a former British politician, welcomed the extensions to The London Underground's Jubilee Line brought on by the new millennium while criticizing the London Eye stating, "The London Transport Executive is to be congratulated on commemorating the millennium in such a brilliant and socially useful way, which will be an enduring monument to the millennium as opposed to follies like the millennium wheel, which I hope will be moved to a more suitable site at the earliest possible moment." Whether you consider the Millennium Wheel a folly or not, The Eye has changed London's skyline from afar while providing tourists and Londoners alike to view the city in a new way.

Find more on the tradition of World's Fairs including information on the upcoming Expo 2017 World's Fair taking place in Astana Kazakhstan at

In depth history of the Ferris Wheel at

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