Few of the folks gazing at the sun setting over Las Vegas’s mountains from the High Roller know where it was made. They’re too busy taking selfies, jostling for a view of the Strip or playing drinking games as they ride the world’s largest Ferris wheel.
Bigger than the London Eye or the Singapore Flyer, the observation wheel is 550 feet tall, made out of 7.2 million pounds of steel. The 112 cables that hold it together are each 225 feet long. Together, 25,256 feet of chain pull the wheel and its riders, encapsulated in 28 glass pods, each weighing 44,000 pounds. The wheel turns constantly, a rate of one foot per second. The riders say it feels like floating.
The High Roller was built in many different parts of the world including China, Japan, France, Sweden, Italy but the heavy lifting is done by equipment from an unassuming town in Germany’s rust belt. The company responsbile is likewise little-known, though the family-owned Mittelstand company has been churning out machines for 273 years – longer even than Siemens.