We are incredibly fortunate to be living in this day and age. Could you imagine living back when you were bragging that your oldest relative lived to the ancient age of 30? If it weren’t for our ancestors we wouldn’t be here today. We get to stand on the shoulders of generations of hard working, intelligent people, intent on changing the world. Now we live in an era with smart phones, tablets, smart watches, the ability to stream your favorite TV show anytime, cars that drive themselves, and most importantly gluten free pancakes! Surprisingly, innovation in the last century hasn’t only been limited to Apple products and breakfast foods. Amusement ride
technology has changed immensely and there have been a few key trend setters steering the industry. Let’s take a look back at some prominent amusement ride trail blazers over the past 114 years.
1901 – The Loop-the-Loop Roller Coaster Opens at Coney Island
The Loop-the-Loop was the first amusement ride to use an elliptical loop, which is now the standard modern day loop. This innovation significantly decreased the g-forces felt by riders. All amusement rides before this one used the antiquated circular loop. The circular loop was extremely dangerous and caused many injuries. The Flip Flap Railway in Boston’s Sea Lion Park featured a circular loop that had a reputation for snapping necks due to the 12 g’s that it placed on riders. If you are a physics nerd and want to learn more about modern clothoid loops, this Gizmodo article does a great job of explaining Why Roller Coaster Loops are Never Circular. Although the Loop-the-Loop at Coney Island was much safer than its predecessors, it was still uncomfortable and intimidating. For this reason, more people wanted to watch the roller coaster rather than ride it. The majority of the revenue that the Loop-the-Loop collected came from spectators paying to watch the amusement ride from an observation deck. The Loop-the-Loop eventually went out of business in 1910 due to low throughput. The next clothoid loop roller coaster would not be built for another 67 years, but Coney Island’s Loop-the-Loop paved the way for the modern day amusement rides we know and love.
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