RollerCoaster History

Tuesday, April 23, 2002 2:36 PM
I'm doing a report on the history of rollercoasters and I was wondering if anybody knew of a website that had information like the dates of the first rollercoasters ever, who built them, recent innovations to coasters and their dates(Standup,steel,inverted ect), and maybe what the gp thought when rollercoasters were first introduced. thanks
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Tuesday, April 23, 2002 2:39 PM
Try the Roller Coaster Rollback here on Coasterbuzz. Or try http://www.coasterglobe.com where there is list of the history of inversions. I believe this site has some historical data as well: http://www.coasterquest.com
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Tuesday, April 23, 2002 2:54 PM

You can also try here:

http://www.coaster-world.com/history.shtml

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Im going to grab a cold one! WHAT? Walk to my computer! WHAT? Turn the thing on! WHAT? Log on to Coasterbuzz! WHAT? I said log on to Coasterbuzz!! WHAT?WHAT?WHAT?

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Tuesday, April 23, 2002 2:56 PM
Most of the GP thinks that coaster started at Coney Island and there are also many that think the Coney Island Cyclone was the first or oldest coaster built.
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Tuesday, April 23, 2002 3:24 PM
The American coaster did start at Coney. The sleds started elsewhere.

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Off with the trims!
My fellow Americans; Let's Roll!
Woodencoaster.com

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Tuesday, April 23, 2002 3:56 PM

The first American roller coaster was the Mauch Chunk Switchback Railway, which opened 12 years before Coney Island built its first coaster, it was apart of the orginal 18 mile long Mauch Chunk-Summit Hill Railway that opened in 1827, but when the mine closed down, the railway was transformed into a tourist attraction.

Also before Coney's coaster age was the Roller Toboggan in Haverhill, Massachusetts, which is where the name "roller coaster" was said to orginate. Even if you don't consider "Russian Mountains" as coaster, there was still another country before America that built the thrills of the roller coasters. France began to build a more sophisticated version of wood track slides appearing around Europe. These attractions were reffered to as Les Montagnes Russes and were enormously popular with the daring French. Numerous incarnations srang up and became cultural sensations in France. In 1817, a dual track from of these ride called Aerial Walks, opened in Paris' Beaujon Gardens. Aerial Walks was the first ride to use the standard cable systems to raise passenger vehicles.

Seeing even some enthusiasts still believe that the roller coaster started at Coney Island, you can see how blurry the history can be to some people. Though Coney Island can be credited for being the birthplace of the coaster industry in United States and the start of America's first coaster era.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2002 4:13 PM

Vertigo said:
Most of the GP thinks that coaster started at Coney Island and there are also many that think the Coney Island Cyclone was the first or oldest coaster built.


I know. Actually, the Wild One at SFA is 10 years older than the Cyclone, and it gets no recognition by the media.

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So...you can't handle a rollercoaster huh? Well...you ARE the Weakest Link! Goodbye!
Number 1 Batwing Fan!

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Tuesday, April 23, 2002 4:18 PM
Ok, I forgot about the Railway but I still think America started the coaster boom :)

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Off with the trims!
My fellow Americans; Let's Roll!
Woodencoaster.com

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Tuesday, April 23, 2002 4:28 PM

Well, the Russians are actually credited for inventing the coaster. The Russians made ice sleds, kind of similar to bobsleds. The French later then adopted it and put a wheel system on. Eventually they died out over in Europe. The Mauch Chunck Railway was basically a car on a 18 mile course. 17 miles ran down hill....sometimes with the car reaching 100 mph! This was popular but not extremely well known. Then Coney Island came along. Coasters started up popping up everywhere! Then WWII and all that took place. Then the good old Racer came around and started it all back up(atleast its credited for it)!

Well you know from there!

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It's his turn to feast, when you ride the Son of Beast.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2002 4:46 PM

The first American roller coaster was the Mauch Chunk Switchback Railway, which opened 12 years before Coney Island built its first coaster, it was apart of the orginal 18 mile long Mauch Chunk-Summit Hill Railway that opened in 1827, but when the mine closed down, the railway was transformed into a tourist attraction.

Muach Chunk-Summit Railway was credited with only having a max of 12.5 mph and had only one major drop, the entire course was not downhill but a flat scenic railway. When the mine closed down the ride was turned into more of a rideable attraction with a much shorter course, but added an extra 6 mph to it's speed.

The Russian ice slides were nowhere near a format of having anytype fo train an was extremely unsafe. You stood up on a similar structure of a sled(these sleds were most commonly carved from ice) and raced down a single drop. Russian Mountains were created by the French, who actually constructed the ride out of wood instead of using natural features.

The exact origin to where the true coaster actually started has been debted among amusement parks historians and coaster enthusiasts for decades. There are tons of reasons and evidence behing each of the group and probaby will never be resolved.

It's like asking who invented cards? The British were first to mass produce the game, but the cards were first printed in France. Though the British and French got the game from the Greek who took the concept from the Egyptians and added some more rules to the game.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2002 4:50 PM

Here's the site I consider the most in-depth and informative re: coaster history... http://history.amusement-parks.com/

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Any resemblance between this post and humor is purely coincidental. No robots were harmed in the filming of this episode...The sarcasm filter default has been left ON for your enjoyment.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2002 4:55 PM

www.coasters.eb.com

This has a lot of usful info.

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Are roller coasters my life? NO, but I certainly like them!

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Tuesday, April 23, 2002 5:02 PM
I was looking at the timeline for the coaster-world timeline and it didn't say anything about opening of the coney island cyclone

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Are roller coasters my life? NO, but I certainly like them!

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Tuesday, April 23, 2002 7:02 PM

You can talk about Russian mountains (still used as the term for rollercoaster in many countries), the Mauch Chunk Railway, and other rollercoaster predecessors; but La Marcus Thompson's "Switch Back Railway" built at Coney Island in 1884 was the first ride to incorporate most of the features of the modern rollercoaster. It pioneered running trains on track on an elevated structure built for the purpose of entertainment.

Russian mountains used sleds or modified sleds with wheels running on flat surfaces without rails. The Mauch Chunk was built to haul coal not entertain people and was actually 18 miles of railroad track running down hill at round level most of the time. I'll bet it was a cool trip, but most people would look at it and not think that it was a rollercoaster.

The Switch Back Railway resembled a modern wooden coaster in almost every respect excep it's lack of turns. It also started the craze of construction that directly resulted in the modern coaster.

By the way, The Coney Island Cyclone was built in 1927. 41 years after the Switch Back Railway. I'm not certain, but it may be the oldest survivng coaster with a steel structure. There a several older coasters, and there were earlier coasters with steel structures, but I don't know of any earlier coasters with steel structures that are still around. Note: The track is wood, just the structure is steel.

*** This post was edited by Jim Fisher on 4/23/2002. ***

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Tuesday, April 23, 2002 7:22 PM

www.ultimaterollercoaster.com also has a nie history section on it. Just search for History of Roller Coasters and there is a section of the site related to roller coasters. There is a lot of informative information on there. I wrote a 21 page essay on this stuff :) Good times.

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Dave

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Tuesday, April 23, 2002 7:46 PM

The Mauch Chuank Switchback Railway was built souly for entertainment, this is totally different and was built in 1872 not the Muach Chunk-Summit Railway that was built in 1937(which is what you're talking about) The Aerial Walk featured more characteristics related to the common roller coaster than L. A. Thompson's Switchback Railway. Aerial Walk actually used a chain lift and has curving drops as well. Roller Toboggan featured a complete figure 8 circuit that dropped and dove around a roller skating ring.


Jim Fisher said:The Switch Back Railway resembled a modern wooden coaster in almost every respect excep it's lack of turns. It also started the craze of construction that directly resulted in the modern coaster.


Have to remember that there were many version's of the Switchback Railway by many different designers. L.A. Thompson's Switchback Railway at Coney Island was the third of the Switchback Railways. Mening, before you can grant that as the first true American coasters, you have to consider the ones before. Go to the library and check out....The American Roller Coaster by Scott Rutherford. This book will explain in depth each of the coasters that has been apart of the battle of what was the first true coaster. You'll find out a lot more than what you guys are saying now, becuase what you guys are saying now is about as true as George Washington and the Cherry Tree.

The exact origin to where the true coaster actually started has been debted among amusement parks historians and coaster enthusiasts for decades. There are tons of reasons and evidence behing each of the group and probaby will never be resolved. So don't think that coasterbuzz is the magic place will this will be resolved, becuase it will just turn into the world's longest thread and have no advancement on the original arguement.

*** This post was edited by Vertigo on 4/23/2002. ***

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Tuesday, April 23, 2002 11:32 PM

The oldest continuously operating rollercoaster is the Scenic Railway, built in 1913 at Luna Park Melbourne, Australia.

Also, I'm mighty impressed with your ability to make yourself an expert on the history of coasters, Vertigo. ;)

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So what if the best coaster in Australia is a second hand Arrow?
http://www.totalthrills.com

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Wednesday, April 24, 2002 3:21 PM

Vertigo:

I dont' have to go to the library to check out "The American Roller Coaster". I own a copy. On page 14 Rutherford describes La Marcus Thompson's "Switch Back Railway" as "The First True American Roller Coaster".

According to Rutherford, the Mauch Chunk was built as a coal hauler in 1827. By 1829 it was carrying passengers as well. It was variouly modified over the years. In 1872 it ceased operation as a coal hauler due to competition from a conventional railroad using a new tunnel. From that time on it was a tourist only operation until its closing in 1937.

The road bed of the Muach Chunk still exists. It has a gentle even slope and looks just like any other abandoned railroad road bed. (I've seen portions of it.) It in no way resembles a roller coaster as we know them today.

You state that the "Switch Back Railway" was the third scenic railway. Can you provide dates and locations for earlier scenic railways?

I personally find that arguing about rollercoasters before La Marcus Tompson is like arguing about people who discoverd America before Columbus or flew before the Wrights. If others did it before, they didn't make any change in the world. Columbus and the Wrights changed the world. La Marcus Thompson changed the amusement park.

Obviously, devices bearing some resemblance to roller coasters go far back. I really don't care where anyone chooses to start their own chronology, but don't ridicule other people, especially when your own "facts" seem confused.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2002 3:24 PM
Two years ago I did a report too. I found all the info I needed for the really old coasters at www.rollercoaster.com including a funny story about a guy (don't remember his name) who built a rollercoaster so rough they put a nurse's station after the exit. People came off with broken ribs! I don't know if the site is still up though.

*** This post was edited by smallsof04 on 4/24/2002. ***

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Wednesday, April 24, 2002 3:25 PM

LOL Good example, but Columbus didn't discover anything! ;)

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