Colombian Exhibition

During the summer of 1893 Chicago hosted a large fair called the Colombian Exhibition. There were approximately 75 million Americans then, and one out of every three Americans visited that exhibition.

The world’s first Ferris wheel was built in Chicago for the Colombian Exposition in 1893. Modern Ferris wheels are just little-bitty things compared to that one. It was taller than 20 men standing on each other’s shoulders (as tall as a 10-story building) and each “chair” was a coach that could hold 40 people. Between May 1 and November 1, 27 million people were treated to wonderful displays of modern science at the exposition such as brilliant electric night lighting by George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla.

Colombian Exhibition Ferris Wheel
Colombian Exhibition Ferris Wheel, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

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