125 years ago today, the first Ferris wheel premiered. Designed and built by George Ferris Jr. for an exposition in Chicago, the amusement ride measured 264-feet tall (80m) and was intended to rival the Eiffel Tower, centerpiece of the 1889 Paris Exposition. (1893)
A technological advance based on the three wooden wheels at Asbury Park, Atlantic City, and Coney Island, NY (built the prior year by William Somers), the Ferris wheel rotated on a 71-ton axle with two 16-foot-diameter cast-iron spiders weighing 53,031 pounds.
MORE Good News on this Day: (Happy Summer Solstice!)
- Halifax, Nova Scotia was founded (1749)
- The first Constitution of its kind in human history was established as the supreme law of the United States when New Hampshire became the 9th state to ratify it, after it was drafted one year earlier in Philadelphia (1788)
- Columbia Records introduced the LP (long-playing record album) in a public demonstration at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City (1948)
- The Supreme Court ruled that Americans are free to burn the country’s flag under the protection of the First Amendment (1989)
- Jean Michel Jarre played a charity concert in Katowice, Poland for deaf and hearing-impaired children as part of his Oxygene Tour, with proceeds going toward build a healing center for deaf children near Warsaw where a plaque now bears the French musician’s name (1997)
- The law against homosexuality in the United Kingdom – Section 28 – was repealed in Scotland with a 99 to 17 vote. (2000)
- SpaceShipOne became the first privately funded spacecraft to achieve spaceflight (2004)
- The first International Yoga Day was celebrated, led by the yoga-loving Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (2015)
And, on this day in 2015, Apple Music reversed its policy on paying musicians, one day after Taylor Swift said she was refusing to allow streaming of her latest album “1989”.
In an open letter to Apple, Swift said she was unhappy with the three-month free trial offered to subscribers, saying “We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.” Apple now pays artists for music streamed during trial periods.
Happy 51st Birthday to eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. The computer geek entrepreneur became a billionaire at age 31 when the company’s stock was offered for sale to the public three years after the first eBay auction in 1995.
Omidyar and his wife Pamela are well-known philanthropists through their Omidyar Network, and the son of Iranian immigrant parents has involved himself in online journalism as the head of investigative reporting and public affairs for his own news service, the Honolulu Civil Beat. (1967)
Other Notable Birthdays: Ray Davies, Co-founder and frontman for The Kinks (74)