Archives for February 7, 2018

…an engineer.

Author: Kathryn Gibbs Davis
Illustrator:  Gilbert Ford

When I grow up, I want to be an engineer.

Oh, was there any greater summer excitement than the county fair?  Eating taffy apples, wasting money trying to win a stuffed bear and riding the tilt-a-whirl until you were sick were all such fun. But the best part of the entire fair was gazing up into the night sky at the immense twinkling, spinning circle that would thrill you with a ride up into the heavens – the ferris wheel.

Here’s the true, uplifting story of George Ferris and his dazzling unlikely invention – an invention that would become the world’s most magical ride of all time.

It was a bizarre idea, presented by an eccentric young engineer. Yes, it might be showy, but wouldn’t the flimsy contraption collapse?  Wouldn’t it be undignified? Or frightening?

Finally, the young inventor was told he could try – but only with his own money and with barely enough time.

A Junior Library Guild Selection

Through perseverance and determination, George and his construction crew frantically worked to complete their project.  In 1893 at the Chicago World’s Fair, George Ferris’s wheel became a magical glowing circle with 3,000 glowing electric light bulbs.  The Queen of the Midway continues to thrill thousands every year.

Mary Byrne Kline

Want to know more?

This segment from INVENTED, ENGINEERED & PIONEERED IN PITTSBURGH was produced by WQED in cooperation with the Engineers Society of Western Pennsylvania.
How can you create a structure that will be just as impressive and maybe even more amazing than the Eiffel Tower? That was the problem in 1892 when plans were being finalized for the Columbian Exposition in Chicago. A young engineer who was working in Pittsburgh came up with an idea for a huge rotating wheel that would lift its passengers up into the sky and then revolve to set them back on the ground. It was the first and in many ways the most impressive of the great wheels: the Ferris Wheel.