Its a funny old world, funfair operators are spending ever increasing amounts of money on the latest and greatest rides, one of the newest in the UK cost a reputed £1.5 million!
However some of the traditional rides we offer such as the Ferris Wheel are just as popular as the modern rides. One outfit Carter’s Steam Fair have built an incredibly successful business based on vintage rides, some such as the carousel is still a regular on the modern funfair, but many of their rides are of a type funfair operators ended up cutting up for their scrap value, yet presented by Carters they are still pulling the modern generation in.
On a recent trip to Vienna we were reminded of this situation when we visited the historic Prater theme park on the outskirts of the city. They actually had 2 giant wheels, one a modern type such as you would see at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland or Edinburgh Christmas festival, the other a wheel installed in 1897.
Designed and constructed by a British engineer called Walter Bassett (ex Royal Navy) it was until 1985 the largest extant wheel in the world. Its full history can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiener_Riesenrad .
The funny thing was the vintage wheel was twice the price of the modern wheel, and had a substantial queue, whilst the modern wheel hadn’t even bothered opening.
The pictures below were snapped whilst we were in Vienna, except for the close up with the 2 people in, that is actually a lip from the James Bond film The Living Daylights and shows Timothy Dalton and Maryam d’Abo.