The Wonderful World of
A History of the Thrilling Ride
The Start of Roller Coasters
The origin of the roller coaster was the
seventeenth century Russian Ice Slides.
These were simply wooden slides covered in
a layer of ice that was a few inches thick.
By 1817, France had two
coasters- the Les
Montagues Russes a
Belleville and Promenades
Aeriennes. Les Montagues
Russes a Belleville was Les Montagues Russes a Belleville
equipped with axles to
slide down the track’s
groove, keeping the carts
locked onto to the track.
The first roller coaster to have loops was located in
Frascati Gardens, Paris. Its hill was 43 feet high
and the loop was 13 feet wide.
It was tested very well before the first people were
permitted to ride. Sadly, it only ran for about
twenty seasons before it went out of style.
The first American coaster was built in
Pennsylvania’s mountains. It was called the
Mauch Chunk Switchback Railway.
Unlike the modern roller coasters, this ride was
more like a trip on a runaway train.
In 1884 La Marcus Adna Thompson opened his
first roller coaster at Coney Island in Brooklyn,
New York. It was named the Switchback
Charging only 5 cents per ride, he made hundreds
of dollars every day.
By 1884 a complete circuit
coaster was made by
In 1885 a lift made from
chain or cable carried the
car up the first hill, a
invention by Phillip
Some trolley companies created amusement parks
so people would travel on weekends more often.
Leap the Dips is one of the few roller coasters that
exists from this time, and is actually the oldest
coaster still running in the world. It was built in
1902 by E. Joy Morris and is located at
Lakemont Park, Pennsylvania.
Beginning the 1900’s
In the 1920’s there were between 1,500 and
2,000 roller coasters.
John A. Miller Inventions
Brakes for the station
He also created seven Flying Turns roller
coasters between 1931 and 1939.
Because of the depression, the amount of
coasters went from between 1,800 and
2,000 in 1930 to 245 in 1939.
In the 1940s to 1960s many rides had to
close down due to “white only” rules. They
ran out of money having only a section of
the public permitted in.
In the 1950s roller coasters for children
were very popular.
An example of one of these coasters was
the Little Dipper.
The 60s and 70s
In the 60s, many of the family-owned
amusement parks were replaced with
large theme parks.
Six Flags was one of these theme parks, and
during this time became very successful.
King’s Island was the first park with a
signature coaster. It was designed by
John Allen and named Racer.
By the 1970s wood was beginning to be
replaced with steel in the roller coasters
that were being built.
The 80s was the beginning for suspended
and stand-up coasters.
The Bat was the first suspended roller coaster, but it failed because of design problems.
The first of these had difficulties, so they
didn’t last long.
The Big Bad Wolf at Busch Gardens was one
of the first successful suspended roller
In 1984 a stand-up coaster called the King Cobra
opened at King’s Island.
Other parks got very similar designs to this one.
The Best and Most Extreme Roller
Steel Dragon 2000
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