“Never hesitate to go far away, beyond all seas, all frontiers, all countries, all beliefs.”Amin Maalouf, Leo Africanus
The Mesopotamians invented the wheel 5,500 years ago. Three centuries later, the Greeks and Chinese put them on axels. Movement: Chariots, carriages, the first internal combustion engine. Trains, cars, planes, buses, motorbikes. So many destinations.
But this is a story about a wheel, an engine, and going nowhere. Going round and round, stopping, looking around, going still. A story and journey for innocents – romantics, dreamers, and children – to the top of the world, then back to the point of departure.
In 1891, an American engineer, George Ferris, sketched an idea on a napkin at a banquet: a wheel, 76.2 meters high, that would spin, operated by two 1000 horsepower reversible engines. For 50 cents per person, 2,160 could ride for twenty minutes to the top … and see Chicago.