Any biographical info on Herbert Schmeck?

Sunday, December 7, 2008 12:33 AM
birdhombre's avatar

A friend of mine thinks she might be related to Herbert Schmeck, designer of Knoebels' Phoenix, Dorney's Thunderhawk, and scads of others. Anyone know where he was born or lived? The only info I can find online seems to begin with his time at PTC.

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Sunday, December 7, 2008 7:47 AM

after doing a little research, it looks like Schmeck deisgn my first ride, the Yankee Canoball. It turns oyt he was Allan's unsterstudy while at PTC.


Coaster Junkie from NH
I drive in & out of Boston, so I ride coasters to relax!

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Sunday, December 7, 2008 9:58 AM

He was born in Berks County, Pa. and grew up in Reading. He worked at a cabinet shop in Reading then in 1915 starting working at Paragon Park. It is there that he met John Miller and hooked up with PTC.

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Sunday, December 7, 2008 11:40 AM

Hopman, you have that backwards. Schmeck learned from John Miller. and John Allen learned from Schmeck. Allen was the last person at PTC to build coasters. When he retired, PTC got out of the coaster building business.

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Sunday, December 7, 2008 2:44 PM

^ Okay. My mistake. (slaps selft upside head for being an idiot :) )

Am I at least right about the Cannonball being a Schmeck design?


Coaster Junkie from NH
I drive in & out of Boston, so I ride coasters to relax!

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Sunday, December 7, 2008 4:32 PM
birdhombre's avatar

Jeffrey Seifert said:


He was born in Berks County, Pa. and grew up in Reading. He worked at a cabinet shop in Reading then in 1915 starting working at Paragon Park. It is there that he met John Miller and hooked up with PTC.

Those were the magic words. This friend said all the Schmecks in Berks County are related. Funny, she also lives in Reading. Thanks for the tip!

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Sunday, December 7, 2008 6:43 PM

I wonder if she or any of the family has any drawings or old sketches he had stashed away somewhere?


Coaster Junkie from NH
I drive in & out of Boston, so I ride coasters to relax!

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Monday, December 8, 2008 9:41 AM

If you're interested in Schmeck, you may want to check out the excellent book recently published by ACE.

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Monday, December 8, 2008 9:57 AM
birdhombre's avatar

Excellent, I'll check that out. It looks like the Cuyahoga County Library has it. Thanks.

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Monday, December 8, 2008 2:30 PM

If the county doesn't have it, try your local Boader's or B&N.

I might be interested about that book too. Anybody have the title handy?


Coaster Junkie from NH
I drive in & out of Boston, so I ride coasters to relax!

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Monday, December 8, 2008 2:37 PM
birdhombre's avatar

Oops, I meant to post that. It's called Herbert P. Schmeck: the forgotten legacy / by Torrence Jenkins Jr. ; foreword by Thomas D. Rebbie. ISBN 0970398719 (or 9780970398710 in the newer system).

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Monday, December 8, 2008 4:45 PM

The ACE website doesn't appear to have a link anymore, but if anyone is interested in the book, send me an e-mail or PM and I can send you a PDF of an order form.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008 9:12 AM

Why wouldn't the ACE website have that link? They were pushing the book like crazy last year. Why the change in strategy?

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008 1:56 PM

Hopman said:after doing a little research, it looks like Schmeck deisgn my first ride, the Yankee Canoball. It turns oyt he was Allan's unsterstudy while at PTC.

John Miller, Not Allen :)

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008 3:14 PM

John Allen was more or less Herb Schmeck's understudy, who served as an understudy for designers like Bill Cobb and Curtis Summers.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008 3:17 PM

I stand corrected. Am I at least right about Schmeck doing the Cannoball? (If I put it that way, it sounds like either a horazontal hula position or a new dance. :) )


Coaster Junkie from NH
I drive in & out of Boston, so I ride coasters to relax!

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008 4:16 PM
rollergator's avatar

^Yes, that was one of his "family" designs. In general, one of the things I like about Schmeck's work is that it incorporated some of the wilder aspects of Miller's genius. John Allen's work is really good, but lacks some of the ferocity I enjoyed so much from his predecessors....he built wooden-coaster erquivalents of B&M stuff - reliable, fun (for the whole family), nothing too intense though. Schmeck....went wild. :)

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008 5:01 PM

but then there was traver :)

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008 7:07 AM

Correct me if i'm wrong, but I thought Schmeck had a hand in CP's Blue Streak as well.

On a lighter side, I wonder if we could a "Six Degrees," thing with classic coasters?


Coaster Junkie from NH
I drive in & out of Boston, so I ride coasters to relax!

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008 9:19 AM

I don't have the book in front of me but I don't think it was long after retirement that Schmeck passed away. I'm pretty sure Schmeck had nothing to do with PTC once Allen took over, even though it's obvious that Allen's first designs were heavily based on previous Schmeck designs. Maybe you're thinking of Allen being involed with the Beast after his retirement?

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