View Single Post
Old 06-16-2019, 06:30 AM
panache45's Avatar
panache45 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: NE Ohio (the 'burbs)
Posts: 45,414
June 16, 1884: The first purpose-built roller coaster, LaMarcus Adna Thompson's "Switchback Railway", opens in New York's Coney Island amusement park.

For five cents, riders would climb a tower to board the large bench-like car and were pushed off to coast 600ft (183m) down the track to another tower. The car went just over 6mph (9.7km/h). At the top of the other tower the vehicle was switched to a return track or "switched back" (hence the name). This track design was soon replaced with an oval complete-circuit ride designed by Charles Alcoke and called the Serpentine Railway. In 1885 Phillip Hinkle developed a lift system which appeared in his ride called Gravity Pleasure. The Gravity Pleasure also featured cars in which the passengers could face forward instead of in the awkward bench-like seats of the first two roller coasters.

Not to be outdone, in 1886 LaMarcus Adna Thompson patented his design of coasters that included dark tunnels with painted scenery. Thompson built many more roller coasters across the country which were called "The L.A. Thompson Scenic Railway". Some of these operated until 1954.