Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Verticle Rotations

Singapore Flyer

On this date in 1893, the first Ferris Wheel was opened at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. It was 264 ft. tall and took 20 minutes to complete two rotations. Currently, the world's tallest is the Singapore Flyer at 541 ft. tall. The London Eye, which was the world's tallest from 2000 to 2006, is the tallest European wheel at 443 ft. In America, we've got a dinky little wheel, the Texas Star at 212 ft. That's even smaller than the original Chicago wheel. :-(

Personally, I'm not big on Ferris Wheels. I'm slightly phobic towards heights. I can enjoy the thrill when it's brief, like when I'm riding a roller coaster, but, if I'm given time to think about it, realizing how high up I am freaks me out. It's the whole looking down thing. If I just contemplate the horizon, I can't easily put things into scale. When I look down, I can see ant-sized little people and toy cars. That's when I start getting tensed up.

Ferris Wheel at the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago

But I can appreciate the attraction of Ferris Wheels.

The Singapore Flyer has a rotation time of 37 minutes, taking the riders up to an equivalent of 42 stories high! Each observation capsule can hold up to 28 passengers. Here's a vid:

The London Eye is my favorite, having a fantastic view of historic landmarks of the city. It's not just a ride. It's an observation platform from which the passengers can appreciate the urban environment from high above. That's very cool. Here's a vid:

The Diamond and Flower Ferris Wheel is the tallest in Japan at 390 ft. This is a more old-fashioned type of wheel with smaller passenger cars, holding up to six riders, and a 17 minute rotation time, for "maximum kissing time". Here's a vid:

The Texas Star is the biggest Ferris Wheel in the Americas. Yeah, it might not reach the same heights as the Asian or European wheels, but it can lay on the speed with 1.5 revolutions per minute!!! Now, that's not something I'd recommend after eating those fried balls of butter or friend beer at the Texas State Fair. Yeehaw!!! Here's a vid:

Here in SoCal, we don't have any big wheels, but we do have Mickey's Fun Wheel, also known as Mickey's Vomit Wheel. It's 160 ft. tall and has a 9 minute rotation with gondolas that slide on interior rails depending on wheel position. Observe the horror in this vid:

Here's a link to the Ferris Wheel Wikipedia page.


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