Engineer George Washington Gale Ferris Jr., circa 1893.
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Head and shoulders, black and white illustration

Credit: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

After moving to Pittsburgh in the mid-1880s, engineer George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. established G. W. G. Ferris & Company, a firm of inspection engineers that tested metals at industrial sites and for bridges and railroads. Committed to constructing a structure that would rival the monumental Eiffel Tower, erected in Paris in 1889, and demonstrate "American genius," Ferris spent $25,000 of his own money to prepare detailed blueprints for the "gargantuan Ezekiel's Wheel," that he designed for the World Columbian Exposition of 1893.

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