The Big Engines That Could

On a blustery, chilly day in autumn of 1939, a dapper-looking man in his mid-forties climbed onto a railway station platform in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to watch the approach of a train. Amid billowing steam, shrouds of smoke, and rumbling loud enough to unnerve him, he watched an enormous locomotive scream past his vantage point. The sleek, sculpted machine, effortlessly pulling a passenger train,...
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George W. G. Ferris (1859-1896)

Around the world, Ferris wheels often symbolize the carefree days of summer. Yet, the engineer who “re-invented the wheel” is less remembered. George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. was born in Galesburg, Illinois, on February 14, 1859, one of ten children of George W. G. and Martha Edgerton (Hyde) Ferris. In 1864, the senior Ferris sold the family’s 1,200-acre dairy farm for the...
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