First Steel Coaster

Wednesday, April 11, 2001 6:31 AM
I should know this, and I used the search option, but what was the very first steel coaster constructed in the U.S? I am pretty sure it was by Arrow...?
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Wednesday, April 11, 2001 6:39 AM
I heard somewhere that it was the Materhorne Bobsleds at Disneyland built by Arrow. On the RCDB the date for this ride is 1959.

However, I am not sure if this meant just the first steel coaster to use the "modern" tubular track, or the first large scale coaster.

For instance, Knoebels High Speed Thrill Coaster is listed as 1955 (4 years prior to the Materhorne) and steel, but this is considered a "kiddie" coatster and also uses the "square" track.

Also, not sure of some of the early wild mice / mad mice.
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Wednesday, April 11, 2001 7:23 AM
Aren't Wild Mouse coasters about just as old... if not older, than 1959?

I don't know where specifically... but I thought those were the first main-stream steel coasters.
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Wednesday, April 11, 2001 7:30 AM

Dawg Byte said:
"Aren't Wild Mouse coasters about just as old... if not older, than 1959?

I don't know where specifically... but I thought those were the first main-stream steel coasters."



Thats what I meant by the last line in my post... I was not sure about wild mice.

I am not sure of the details, like I said, but I believe what the source I read was talking about was the first coaster to use the tubular track design was the Materhorne.

Then again, I could be way off base on all of this. *** This post was edited by SLFAKE on 4/11/2001. ***
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Wednesday, April 11, 2001 4:01 PM
If you all want to be technical I think the earliest coaster was the Switchback Railway, which was the first coaster ever made in the US.... I think the track was made of steel. There were no supports. It was a mine train ride in PA that was used to transport coal. It was not a woodie because the track was always lieing on the track or almost always. The track might have been on some bridges or something.... but I think Switchback Railway was the first steel coaster. It reached speeds of 60 miles an hour down hills but was never meant to go up and down like the coasters of today. It was made in the 1800's I forget the exact year, I could look it up. The track was steel if I recall, if I am wrong then I am sorry to everyone... My mind is fuzzy at the moment.

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Dave
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Wednesday, April 11, 2001 4:12 PM
My earlier post was incorrect. I thought my data was wrong. Here is hopefullt the correct infomation for everyone. This is an excerpt from a paper I had written about roller coasters. The sources are correct and the data is absolutely 100 percent true.

"The largest and longest coaster ever built in North America was also the first, the Gravity
Road at Mauch Chunk, (now Jim Thorpe) Pennsylvania. Built in 1827, the original
function of the winding, point-to-point railroad was to move coal from a mine at the top
of Mt. Pisgah down to boats on the Lehigh Canal. The railway trains of coal could roll
downhill via gravity. A brake operator on each train kept it from getting out of control.
Once the coal cars were unloaded, mules retraced the route, hauling the empty cars back
to the mine. “The engineering marvel captured public fancy, and soon the Gravity Road
was also providing rides for tourists.” Altogether, the Gravity Road was 18 miles of a
continuous circuit. Rides such as this, known as switchbacks, were built for entertainment,
caught on, and were appearing at amusement parks throughout the country."

That was the first roller coaster that ran on steel track that lied on the ground for most or maybe all of the time. I believe someone could classify that as the first steel coaster. I may be wrong by calling it a steel coaster but in my mind I believe it was unless someone can prove or tell me otherwise.

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Dave
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Wednesday, April 11, 2001 4:12 PM
I thought SFMM boasted that their mine train coaster was the oldest....I could be wrong.
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Wednesday, April 11, 2001 4:20 PM
The actual term “roller coaster” was most likely originated from La Marcus A. Thompson, a roller coaster designer. His 1885 patent for his Switchback Railway, was titled “Roller
Coasting Structure,” hence, over time, the name evolved into the phrase roller coaster
which became the classification name used for all roller coasters.
He was the man that began using the name that later became the classification for the thrill rides of today. I hope this helps and that is your history lesson for the day. Goodnight!

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Dave
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Wednesday, April 11, 2001 4:49 PM
SFMM YA RIGHT! I beleive the first steel coaster in the U.S would have to be Disneylands Matterhorn Bobsleds!
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Wednesday, April 11, 2001 4:57 PM
ACE15, I believe those (epsecially the LaMarcus Thompson Switchback Railway) were wooden. Yes they had steel rails, but the steel was on top of wood, just like all of today's wooden coasters. The first all steel coaster? Probably one of those old wild mice like the one at Lakemont. First tubular steel was without a doubt the Matterhorn Bobsleds.
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- Peabody
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Wednesday, April 11, 2001 7:03 PM
The first coaster with tubular steel rails was the Matterhorn Bobsleds. As far as I know all of the mice from this period had wood track, and at least some of the mice that came later had steel rails rather than tubular track.

There were a number of coasters built around the turn of the century that had steel track of one design or another, but they really weren't direct ancestors of modern steel coasters. Similarly, the Mauch Chunk has no direct line of ancestry to modern coasters which really had there roots in the scenic railway and perhaps the Russian Mountains.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2001 9:32 PM
Jim couldn't have said it any better. Thanks! Saves me a lot of typing!
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www.angelfire.com/oh4/tk173
An unnerving stillness in the woods of southern Indiana beckons for you on May 11th.....
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Thursday, April 12, 2001 12:08 PM
Ditto

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Decisions determine destiny; Destiny determines decisions.
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Thursday, April 12, 2001 12:14 PM
OK...what was the very first steel *looping* coaster as we know them today?
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Thursday, April 12, 2001 12:23 PM
I'm taking a guess at this...

First modern steel coaster in the US to turn you upside down was Corkscrew at KBF (now at Silverwood)?
First modern steel looping coaster (at least in the US) was Revolution at MM?

(not counting the attemptes near the turn of the century what were more neck breakers than coasters... besides, weren't these wood?)
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"Twenty three stories tall, painted grey, and the old people said termites was eatin' it up..."
- From Bill Cosby's "Rolland and the Rollercoaster"
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Thursday, April 12, 2001 1:02 PM
According to Guide to Ride 2000, under the Little Dipper at Memphis Kiddie Park in Brooklyn, Ohio, it states, "This junior coaster opened with the park in 1952 and may be the oldest steel coaster in North America." It was designed by Herschell and is 12 feet tall.
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Beast Crew 2001!!!
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Thursday, April 12, 2001 5:39 PM
There were a number of steel kiddie coasters in the 50's that had steel structures an track. These were generally portable in design even if installed at a fixed location. On all of these that I have seen the track involved a steel wheel running on a rail, not a modern plastic covered wheel running on a circular tube.

A number of the turn of the century looping coasters had steel track. Lina Beecher apparently built several looping caosters which featured steel track and in at least one case a clothoid type loop. Prescott's famous Flip Flap Railway at Atlantic City also had steel track and an elliptical loop. I think these early loopers probably died out because they carried just one or tqo riders through a loop. This resulted in a ride that people were only interested in riding once and that had very low capacity.
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Thursday, April 12, 2001 6:23 PM
Wait... Kiddie Park in Cleveland is still open? Wow, that's inner city. I thought that thing closed years ago. I used to go there all the time as a kid.

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Jeff
Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
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Sunday, April 15, 2001 4:45 PM
Jeff:
http://www.memphiskiddiepark.com/
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Sunday, April 15, 2001 5:09 PM
Wow... I had no idea. Good for them. It's cool that they've been able to survive.

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Jeff
Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
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