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History of the Roller Coaster

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Roller Coasters have had a long and bumpy ride to becoming the most well-known (and often feared!) amusement park attractions, whether they give you an adrenaline rush or make you toss  your cookies a roller coaster is always a ride to remember. Find out all about how they were invented in The History of the Roller Coaster.

Russian Roller Coaster

Inventing the roller coaster was a slippery slope – literally! The very first version of a roller coaster is thought to have been invented by Russians in the 16th and 17th centuries near Saint Petersbourgh, when the Russians created enormous slides out of ice, with wooden supports. The “Russian Mountains” or slides reached 70 or 80 feet tall and had 50 foot drops. The riders would careen down the slide and crash land in sand piles.

The Fast French 

After seeing the marvel of the “Russian Mountains” the French adopted the idea, but found when they tried to replicate the ice structures in their home country it would often melt too fast so they started to construct them out of wax and added wheels to the sleds, and in 1817 they created “The Russian Mountain of Belleville” – the very roller coaster to have the sled attached to the track. From there the French developed new and more complex tracks that included twists and turns and began to link the carts that held riders together.

American Amusement Parks

France wasn’t the only nation to latch on to this new thrilling idea, by the mid 1800s roller coasters had made the trip to America with the first one being built in the hills of Pennsylvania, it was called the Mauch Chunk Switchback Railway. The track they used was originally meant to transport coal but was turned into a scenic tour of the mountain where passengers could pay a whopping $1 to ride up the mountain and back. Years after LaMarcus Adna Thompson developed the first wooden roller coaster which opened on Coney Island in New York in 1884, wooden roller coasters soon started popping up across America at fairs and amusement parks everywhere!

 In 1927 The Cyclone, one of the most famous roller coasters in history, opened on Coney Island. Roller coasters now exist all over the world, and some say celebrate August 16th as National Rollercoaster Day in honor of the first official roller coaster patent.

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