Another wheel whose construction was supervised by Bassett was the famous Riesnrad Great Wheel in Vienna. This was begun in November 1896 and completed in June 1897. It was an immediate success and became a permanent addition to the Vienna skyline. It has been in operation every since, I'm not sure if it is still there but I think it might be. It was severely damaged by fire as a result of bombs on 8 April 1945 but was soon in action again. Several stunts have taken place on this wheel. On one occasion a woman climbed from a car and suspended herself by her teeth from a rope at the bottom of the car. She refused to get down when the wheel was stopped and when it started up again completed a full circuit. On another occasion a woman took a horse on the top of a car for a complete circuit. Also a troupe of acrobats performed handstands on the top of a car as the wheel went round.
Several medallions have been struck for this wheel. I have 2 good luck medallions one dated 1968 and another as late as 1984. Some of these good luck pieces vary because at one time the number of cars on the wheel altered.
I have a first day cover showing a stamp with the wheel on to commemorate 200 years of the Prater, where the wheel is, which was issued in 1982. Also an Italian telephone card with the wheel on.
Bassett now turned his eyes towards Paris and suggested a big wheel for the Paris Exposition. The pride of my collection is the plate issued to commemorate the exposition and now well over 100 years old. In 1889 construction began on "La Grande Roue". It was only a few hundred yards from the Eiffel Tower on the Avenue de Suffren. It was a feature of Paris for many years and was demolished after World War 1. Its 40 cars were used as temporary housing for people displaced during the war. No known medals are available but I have it on a small consome token.
During the millenium an illuminated ferris wheel was erected in Place de la Concorde. I have a piece from the paper showing part of it.
I have other medallions of big wheels from various funfairs in the world, one from Rome, one from Jeddah and several from different places in England.
When the London Eye was proposed I wrote to them, enclosing a sample of the medals issued for the Earls Court Wheel, and suggesting they should issue them for sale to people having a ride. They never took it up but I'm sure they would have made a lot of money if they had. A medallion is a souvenir that can last for years, can be produced fairly economically and make a profit selling for even a small price.