As a kid the ferris wheel was one of my favorite rides. The first ones I rode were at the Fulton County Fair. Back then you just sat down in the chair and the guy swung a small wooden bar in front of you and snapped it in until it clicked. There wasn't anything holding us in, in fact a few of my friends used to stand up when we were stuck at the top. I was mortified!
Did you ever seen the movie East of Eden? There's a scene in it with James Dean and Julie Harris in a ferris wheel.
A few years ago I took this photo of a ferris wheel at the Marion County Fair.