Vintage Ferris Wheel Tablescape Inspiration

When Cuisine Kathleen posted her “summer whimsey” challenge, I knew that the time had come to bring out my vintage Ferris wheel and feature it in a vacation tablescape.

GotMyReservations Chein Disney Ferris Wheel

J. Chein Disney Ferris Wheel

I grew up with this toy and played with it whenever we visited my great-grandmother’s house. I was named after her, and the toy was passed down to me eventually. I had it evaluated at one of those appraisal parties and they said at the time that it was worth about $100, but to me it’s priceless and will be one of the last items to pass on to family members when it’s my turn. The Ferris wheel brings back good memories of playing at Grandma Jennie’s house.

GotMyReservations Disneyland Cousins

Music Man’s first cousins at Disneyland in 1962

Disneyland opened in 1955 in Anaheim, California, as an offshoot of Walt Disney’s creative mind and ingenious entrepreneurship. Families began flocking to this mother-of-all amusement parks, including mine. Unfortunately there are no photos of us at Disneyland from my father’s books, but my husband’s cousin serendipitously posted one of their family on Facebook today. Basically this was us, too, except that I had two brothers and no sisters.

J. Chein and Co. already were making a classic metal Ferris wheel as early as the 1930s, with clown and circus motifs lithographed on the tin. When Disney made plans to open Disneyland, a Chein Ferris wheel was commissioned using the Disney characters rather than the circus figures. The Disney Ferris wheel began to be distributed as early as 1952 to promote the amusement park opening (see links in text for sources). Apparently, one of these in mint condition sold for $1225 in 2007, but mine is well used and well-loved.

Since I love history and also love to share the provenance of some of my treasured items, this post was way too long to actually show my tablescape. Be sure to tune in tomorrow to my “wonderful world of Disney” tablescape.

I’m linking up today with Dawn’s History and Home Link party at We Call It Junkin’ and Marty’s Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life. Be sure to stop by and say hello!

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9 thoughts on “Vintage Ferris Wheel Tablescape Inspiration

  1. How cool that you still have that from back in the day!!! Like you said…priceless to you because of the memories it holds.

    My parents took us to Disneyland for the 1st time in 1963. That was the year of my first plane ride, too. I was just 5. I remember it all like it was yesterday. Even though home movies weren’t as common as they are now, my parents had the presence of mind to videotape our departure as we walked across the tarmac to get on the plane. And at Disneyland, I will forever remember the first sighting of Sleeping Beauty’s castle! I have never forgotten that, and felt pretty much the same way when I went back to Disneyland as an adult. Just giddy with excitement!!!

    This brings back great memories, Jennie. Thanks for sharing your little piece of whimsy, and I look forward to seeing the tablescape you created around it!

    • What a wonderful story, and it’s even more lovely that there is video to document your trip to Disneyland. I wish we had video and I’m sure my dad took a million photos that no longer exist.

  2. Hi, Jennie,
    I LOVE this ferris wheel!! I was raised in NY, and never thought I’d ever get to Disneyland. But I’ve now lived in CA for over 40 years and can actually hear the nightly firework display from Disneyland every night! I love family heirlooms and wish my family had honored them. I’ll be the one passing things on now, because I know how powerful those memories can be to future generations. I can’t wait to see your tablescape tomorrow! Rosie @ The Magic Hutch

    • I haven’t been to Disneyland since the 1970s myself; I’m sure it’s still wonderful and I wish I could see the fireworks!

  3. What a treasure you have there. Even if the appraised value is a lot, the sentimental value is still so much more. I hope you get many more years of enjoyment from this heirloom!

    • It’s just another family memory that hangs around my house, but it makes me smile when I see it. Thanks for visiting, Kim!

  4. Wow, Jennie, this ferris wheel toy is fabulous! I’ve never seen one, and we love Disney World in my family (we’re much closer to FL) so this is right up my alley. I’m so glad you shared it at the History & Home link party this week! The party is also for anything related to the home, so pretty much everything you write about is welcome anytime 🙂 Take care – Dawn @ We Call It

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