Ferris wheel

The ferris wheel is an amusement ride at folk festivals, raises the co-moving at its periphery to a position with good views. As stationary attraction are big wheels landmarks of various cities.

  • 3.1 Stationary
  • 3.2 Portable
  • 7.1 Germany
  • 7.2 Austria


The oldest documented idea of ​​the Ferris wheel is from Bulgaria. This is reported by the English traveler Peter Mundy. On May 16 In 1620 he saw in the city Phillippopolis (now the city of Plovdiv ) some children who have mounted on the circumference of a large wheel small seats in order to have fun with his turning. Similar trips were seen later in the 17th century in England.

The first modern observation wheel in the world was built by George Washington Gale Ferris, engineer for railway engineering and bridge from Pittsburgh, on the occasion of the World Exhibition in Chicago in 1893. The organizers were looking for something original, audacious and unique ( "original, daring and unique " ), which should make for the 1889 Universal Exhibition in Paris Eiffel Tower built in the shade. Ferris' proposal was initially rejected as unrealistic. However, his idea lent itself like no other, the art of engineering to represent the economic success and the power of the U.S., so he ultimately convinced the jury.

The Ferris Wheel had a height of 80.5 meters ( 264 feet), a wheel diameter of 76.2 meters ( 250 feet ) and 36 gondolas, in each of which 60 people found place. When planning, it proved difficult to construct the wheel so that it is easy enough to be held by the supporting structure can. Ferris ultimately was based on the principle of high -spoke wheels and designed a wheel whose rim is connected to 6 cm thick steel spokes to the hub. The structure showed that the wheel only in itself is stable in this construction example, if it is closed. Therefore, for the upper part, he had a scaffold to build the Ferris wheel in order to bring supporting beams can.

The Ferris wheel was opened on June 21, 1893, with seven weeks late and became a special attraction of the world exhibition. In the period following Giant wheels were also built in other cities who set new altitude records. The name " Ferris wheel" developed in English, the general term for big wheels.

Beginning of the 20th century had lost the charm of novelty, the big wheels. At that time many were therefore lack of visitors demolished. The Ferris Wheel was dismantled in mid 1894 after the exhibition and set up for the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis again. In 1906 the bike was completely abandoned and scrapped. In its place now stands a replica.

Stationary Ferris wheels obtained only in 1999 with the construction of the London Eye to celebrate the upcoming Millennium celebrations new popularity. The 135 m at the time largest wheel in the world meant in many ways technical progress. While in older Ferris wheels, the gondolas were hung in the wheel, so that the highest position the wheel obstructed their sight, the gondolas were first mounted here in two rings mounted outside of the wheel. The wheel is fixed by steel cables to the hub. It rotates slowly and evenly and will not stop for boarding.

Was replaced as the highest observation wheel in the world, the London Eye from the 160 m high Star of Nanchang. As an expression of economic power, it should light up at night with thousands of lights and even during the day be widely visible what such a filigree design as those of the London Eye excluded. The wheel was therefore built as transportable Ferris wheel as a massive steel structure, which can accommodate up to 7,000 lamps. Since their greater weight burden on the support structure and you can easily run the risk of providing the wind too much attack surface, this construction method is uncommon in giant wheels of this size.

The Singapore Flyer, the 165 m largest Ferris wheel today is based on the technology of the London Eye; well planned even bigger Ferris wheels.


Ferris wheels are steel structures that consist normally of four inclined pillars that converge to a non-powered hub. For smaller Ferris wheels also designs with a single prop, as in the Bohemian Prater were realized.


In modern Ferris wheels of the machine is driven by electric motors, which are arranged on the right and left of the entrance area and cooperate with friction wheels on the outer side of the wheel.

In older Ferris wheels rope loops are (initially anchor chains ) wound around the outside of the Ferris wheel construction and tensioned by train weights. Motors ( first steam engines ) drive the rope loops, which then transmit the rotational movement to the Ferris wheel.

Find, especially in developing countries today - partly due to lack of power - operated by muscle power giant wheels.

Stationary Ferris Wheels

For stationary Ferris wheels the soil is excavated and poured the foundations into the ground. To minimize the weight of the wheel, the outer ring is connected with particularly large big wheels by steel cables connected to the hub. As a so- constructed wheel in itself is not closed until stable, the structure is difficult. When Ferris Wheel a scaffold for the upper part of the wheel was built, the wheel of the London Eye was constructed lying on floating platforms in the Thames, and then erected with a crane. The Singapore Flyer was initially stabilized with massive spokes, which were removed after the wheel was closed. With this technique, previously a maximum height of 165 meters was achieved over 200 meters are technically possible.

Transportable Ferris wheels

In portable big wheels, the outer ring of solid spokes is connected to the hub. This construction makes it possible, at the bottom to extend the wheel to a wheel portion, then turn it and repeat the process until the wheel is completely established.

With foundation base

In this type, first a foundation base is built and filled with ballast weights made ​​of concrete or water tanks. On this floor the Ferris wheel being built. Overall heights up to sixty meters are possible. The construction will take three to four days. A large mobile crane is mandatory.

On transport trailers

The three are first trailer next to each other and fixed together. A hydraulic, the four pillars are erected without any help. The hub is placed by a crane. The structure is also possible in one or two days. Overall heights up to forty meters are possible. When a version with four tractor-trailers ( each weighs 55 tons ) is a height of fifty meters distance.

Existing Ferris Wheels


A well-known big wheel is the Riesenrad in the Prater. It was in 1897, Emperor Franz Josef I built for the 50th Jubilee. The total height is 64.75 m with a wheel diameter of 60.96 m. The steel structure has a weight of 430 t, the wheel weighs 245 tonnes. The rotational speed is 2.7 km / h rather low, in and out of individual persons during the turning operation would be possible. In 1916, a demolition permit has been issued, but not the one adopted for lack of money to complete. 1944, the Ferris wheel was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1945, the number of pods was reduced from 30 to 15. The re- commissioning took place in 1947. In 1961 Karl Lamac bought the Ferris wheel.

In Berlin there are in Spreepark a 45 feet in diameter measuring Ferris wheel, which is, however, since 2002 out of service.

The London Eye is located directly on the River Thames in London and is 135 meters ( 443 feet ) is currently the largest Ferris wheel in Europe. It is visited by 3.5 million visitors.

The Roue de Paris is actually a transportable Ferris wheel. It was built on the Millennium celebrations in Paris and then operated for three years there. There is a 56 meter high wheel which requires no permanent foundation, as 40,000 gallons of water used as ballast. After dismantling in Paris it was operated in Birmingham from November 2003 to February 2004. In December 2004, the Roue de Paris turned on the Christmas market in Manchester. In early 2005, the wheel of the company World Tourist Attractions Ltd. sold to Magic Fair Attractions BV / Starlex Entertainment BV, Eindhoven. After a short use on the World Town Fair in Sittard -Geleen, it was operated during the summer months of 2005 on the Museum Island in Amsterdam. Since January 2006, it is on the Night Bazaar in Bangkok.

The second largest Ferris wheel in the world, the Star of Nanchang, was inaugurated on January 4, 2006 in Nanchang, China. With a height of 160 meters and 153 meters in diameter, a full rotation takes half an hour.

In Japan, there are four big wheels with altitudes above 100 m. The Tempozan Harbor Village Ferris Wheel was opened in Osaka on 12 July 1997. It has a total height of 112.5 m and a diameter of 100 m. The Palette Town Ferris Wheel was built in Odaiba 1999. The height is 115 m, it also has a 100 -meter wheel. With an overall height of 120 m and a wheel diameter of 112 meters, the Sky Dream Fukuoka was built in 2002. The fourth wheel is the built in 2005 Diamond and Flower Ferris Wheel in Kasai Rinkai Park in the east of Tokyo. It has an altitude of 117 m and a 111- m- wheel.

The Singapore Flyer in Singapore since its opening on 1 March 2008 with a height of 165 meters and 150 meters in diameter, is currently the largest Ferris wheel in the world. It was built on the banks of the Marina Bay, equipped with 28 fully air-conditioned cabins, offering a view over the city -state of Singapore and the neighboring island of Sumatra and the southern tip of Malaysia. The ferris wheel is integrated into a circular, three-story terminal building, which enables a fully air-conditioned access to the cabins of two sides. The construction costs amount to about 84 million euros.

In the Ukrainian city Pripyat Ferris wheel was built on the occasion of the May celebrations in 1986. When, after the Chernobyl disaster, the city of Pripyat was evacuated, and the Ferris wheel was allowed to stand - unused. The now totally rusted Ferris wheel still stands at the former Prypjater fairground and is today often associated with the ghost town of Pripyat and Chernobyl.

In the North Korean town of Sinuiju, right on the river border to Dandong in China is very visible from Chinese banks from a Ferris wheel, but which is never raced for years. It was probably built for propaganda purposes.


The largest transportable Ferris wheel was for many years the 60 -meter Ferris wheel in the company Steiger from Bad Oeynhausen. It has a height of 60 meters and weighs 450 tons. It was built in 1980 by the company Kocks Bremen, carries 42 gondolas and had its world premiere at the shooting festival Hannover. Since January 2013, the R80 XL Swiss company Bussink is with a height of 78 m and a diameter of 74 m, the largest portable wheel in the world. It was built by the Munich company Maurer Söhne, on whose premises it was taken in January 2013 for the first time in operation. The actual operator, a customer from Mexico, was initially not known.

The Mega Wheel Millennium Star is the second largest transportable Ferris wheel. It has a height of 56.70 meters and belongs to the company Hablützel & breakage. It has 40 gondolas for eight people. The system capacity is 320 kilowatts, of which 160 kilowatts to 160 kilowatts and the lighting on the drive. In 2000 it was set up at the Expo 2000 in Hanover, in 2003 and 2005, the Street Parade in Zurich.

Although the two big wheels have been built by different companies, the technology is almost the same. Loading fit in 22 container pallets, which are driven by page loader to the next station. The actual transport takes over the German railway or the Swiss Federal Railways. The container pallets are assembled to the foundation and later built the Ferris wheel on it. The special page handlers have a lifting capacity of 31 t and now cost 600,000 euros. Only two major parts do not fit on railcars and must therefore be transported by road. The construction takes five days, the reduction three days.

In addition to the 60 - m- wheel already described, there are only 6 big wheels in the 50- m- class and several big wheels in the 40- meter class, including:

To welcome the year 2000 impressively, the Frankfurt local station radio and television Hesse (FFH) had the idea to replicate the number 2000 of two mobile cranes and three Ferris wheels. Of 30 December 1999 to 9 January 2000, the giant wheels turned right on the banks of the Main in front of the skyline of Frankfurt. These were to the European wheel, which Jubilee Wheel of Thomas Müller from Chemnitz and the Giant Ferris Wheel Family veal from Butzbach. The three big wheels do not belong with 40 or 44 meters, although the largest wheels, but three giant wheels were here for the first time in parallel.

Planned and under construction giant wheels

In Berlin until 2010, the Great Berlin Wheel with around 175 meters above sea level in planning. Funding for the Great Berlin Wheel was on the closed-end funds - done and is at risk according to the German consumer protection ring "Global VIEW Great Wheel Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG ". Beginning of April 2010 was filed against the perpetrators of the fund criminal charges on suspicion of misappropriation of investors' funds. A portion of the money paid to have been diverted to a company in the Caribbean. The prosecution has taken up the investigation into the managing director of the project company. The end of 2010 the "Global VIEW" Fund was wound up. Of the 208.5 million euros paid only 20 million euros were left. The project will no longer continue to operate.

More plans to build such a ferris wheel similar to the Singapore Flyer and the London Eye are currently available for Beijing and Qingdao in China, for Dubailand in Dubai and Orlando in the USA. The big wheels are planned by the same promoter as the Singapore Flyer. The completion was expected in 2010. So far, however, none of these projects has been realized and the operating company, a closed end fund called Global View, went into bankruptcy.

The observation wheel in Orlando will be built at the intersection of the main roads in the immediate vicinity of the Orlando Convention Center, the Universal Studios theme park, Sea World Aquarium and the Walt Disney World. The early planning phase began in early 2011. With the full completion of the 425 ft (130 m ) tall Ferris wheel was initially expected for the summer of 2014, but after the start of construction in early 2013 the date was postponed to November 2014.

In Moscow, the company headquartered the largest Ferris wheel in Europe with over seventy meters long, there are also vague plans for the construction of about two hundred meters tall Ferris wheel.

In New York, the city council has given the green light in November 2013 for a - given ferris wheel with 190 meters height - then the world 's largest. The New York Wheel could be built in 2 years. Dubai is planning an approximately 20 m larger be completed by 2016.

List of the largest Ferris wheels in the world

As with the Ferris Wheel plays in today's race for the largest Ferris wheel in the world, the term economic success and power of a role. The battle for the largest Ferris wheel so similar to the highest around the skyscrapers. Subsequently, the largest ever built ferris wheels are listed.

List of transportable Ferris wheels in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

List of stationary ferris wheels in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

List of all stationary ferris wheels in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. It is noteworthy that even large amusement parks do not necessarily keep a Ferris wheel ( as a central panoramic ride a gyro tower is usually used).