Eccentric wheels differ from conventional Ferris wheels in that some of the passenger cars are not fixed directly to the rim of the wheel, but instead slide on rails between the hub and the rim as the wheel rotates.
The Wonder Wheel is an official New York City Landmark.
The Wonder Wheel was invented by Charles Herman as an improvement on G.W.G. Ferris' giant wheel. Built for Herman J. Garms, Sr. between 1918 and 1920 by the Eccentric Ferris Wheel Company, it was opened on Memorial Day, 1920.
Herman originally called it the "Dip-the-Dip", promising to combine in his new invention the thrill of a scenic railway, the fun of a Ferris wheel, and the excitement of the Chute-the-Chutes. An article written about the ride in Science and Invention said the Wheel was a "real thrill like you have probably never had before-at least not at this great height."
On June 7, 1983, Deno D. Vourderis bought the Wonder Wheel from Fred Garms, whose father Herman had been its first owner-operator, and it became "Deno's Wonder Wheel". The Vourderis family restored the Wheel and made it the central attraction of "Deno's Wonder Wheel Park". In 1989, it was designated as a "New York City Landmark" by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Since it opened, over 35 million rides have been given on the Wheel.
The Wonder Wheel is 150 feel tall and weighs 200 tons. It has 24 fully enclosed passenger cars, each able to carry six people, giving a total capacity of 144 passengers. Sixteen of the cars slide inward on a snaking track, falling outward as the wheel rotates. The remaining eight cars are fixed to the rim, giving a traditional Ferris wheel experience to passengers.
The Wheel has a perfect safety record, due in part to the fact that the original owners were also construction men, ensuring during construction the highest standards of quality. Every year, the ride is overhauled and painted, to protect it from the harsh weather associated with New York winters.
The only time the wheel has stopped other than under the control of the operator was during the New York City blackout of 1977 on July 13, 1977; although the Wonder Wheel operates on electricity, the passengers were not stuck on the wheel, as the owners cranked the wheel around to get them off.
Mickey's Fun Wheel (previously Sun Wheel) is a 48.8-metre (160 ft) tall eccentric Ferris wheel at Disney California Adventure Park. There was also a replica in Yokohama Dreamland, Japan, but the park was permanently closed in 2002.
Coney Island has featured in numerous films, television shows, cartoons, and music videos, some of which show Wonder Wheel.
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