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Rediff.com  » Getahead » George Ferris: Google's new doodle for Valentine's Day

George Ferris: Google's new doodle for Valentine's Day

Last updated on: February 14, 2013 12:14 IST
George Ferris google doodle

The Ferris Wheel in the doodle is a tribute to American engineer George Ferris who invented it and was born on February 14.


The doodle on the Google's home page today is celebrating American engineer George Ferris's 154th birthday.

George Ferris, the inventor of the Ferris Wheel, was born on February 14, 1859.

Since Ferrris' birth anniversary coincides with Valentine's Day, the interactive doodle features 16 different animated characters narrating their love stories that can be viewed on pressing the button with a love sign placed between the two arrows.

The doodle prominently displays a unique arrangement of wheels, a fitting tribute to the engineer who invented the Ferris wheel.

The story behind the Wheel goes thus:

In 1891, the directors of the World's Columbian Exposition issued a challenge to American engineers to build of a monument for the fair that would surpass the EiffelTower.

The planners demanded that the new structure be "original, daring and unique."

In 1893, George Ferris had heard news of the World's Columbian Exposition that was to be held in Chicago, Illinois.

Ferris proposed a wheel which would allow visitors to view the entire exhibition from it.

He temporarily called the rotating wheel "Out-Eiffel Eiffel." However, the planners feared that his design was not too safe.

Eventually, when the wheel which later came to be known as the Ferris Wheel was built, it had 36 cars, each of them featuring 40 revolving chairs and could accommodate up to 60 people.

At the annual fair that year, the Ferris Wheel was the centre of attraction.

It carried around 38,000 passengers daily, taking about 20 minutes to complete two revolutions for which customers were charged 50 cents.

It is believed that the original Ferris Wheel carried some 2.5 million passengers before it was finally demolished in 1906.

A civil engineering graduate, Ferris had started his career in the railroad industry eventually seeking his interest in building bridges.

He also founded his own company by the name GWG Ferris & Co in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which would test and inspect metals for railroads and bridge builders.

Ferris succumbed to typhoid fever and died on November 22, 1896. He was 37.