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Roller Coasters Began As Hills Of Ice In 17th Century Russia ( 2 Videos)

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Each year on August 16th, you will find people at amusement parks and theme parks across the country participating in National Roller Coaster Day.

J.G. Taylor received one of the earliest patents for an inclined railway in 1872.  In 1878, Richard Knudsen received a patent for an inclined-plane railway.  For years, history has believed the first roller coaster in America opened at Coney Island on June 16, 1884.

Thanks to the digital age and many archived news papers being digitized, and article was discovered reporting the anticipated excitement of J.G. Taylor’s elevated railway in 1872 at Rocky Point, Rhode Island. According to the Providence Evening Press from June 18, 1872, the reporter describes a ride of 400 feet where nine passengers are given a shove and gravity does the rest.

  • The oldest roller coasters are believed to have originated from the so-called “Russian Mountains.”  Built in the 17th century, these were specially constructed hills of ice that were located near Saint Petersburg, Russia.  The slides were made to a height of 70 to 80 feet consisting of a 50-degree drop and were reinforced by wooden supports.
  • Roller coaster loops are never circular, but instead, are designed with an upside down “teardrop” shape. This is because perfectly circular loops will subject riders to up to 6Gs of g-force, causing them to get injured.
  • Many modern roller coasters are designed by Werner Stengel, a German engineer that pioneered heart lining, the principle of having the track twist/rotate around the rider’s heart line.
  • Ferrari owns the largest indoor theme park in Abu Dhabi. Their roller coaster, the Rosso, is the world’s fastest with it reaching 150mph in 5 seconds. (Video below)
  • On June 16, 1884, America opened their very first roller coaster at Coney Island, in Brooklyn, New York. Called the Switchback Railway roller coaster, which reached a breakneck speed of six mph, for the cost of a nickel.
  • Walt Disney World’s Expedition Everest took six years to design and create. While its height, length, and speed are fairly average as far as coasters go, it’s set apart by its storyline—a yeti guarding the “forbidden mountain”—and the fact that it can go forward and backward during a single ride. Expedition Everest is the most expensive roller coaster in the world, coming in at $100 million.
  • Parisians wanted to partake in the outdoor fun that the Russians made famous, but the warmer weather in France quickly turned the ice into water. As a result, they added wheels onto the sleds, and designed a track for the ride. In 1817, the first modern roller coaster was brought to life in the famed City of Light. Another milestone set in 19th century Paris was the very first roller coaster featuring a loop.
  • The tallest roller coaster is located in the Six Flags Great Adventure Park, New Jersey. Kingda Ka roller coaster reaches up to a whopping height of 465 feet!
  • Japan’s Nagashima Spa Land is home to the longest roller coaster in the world. The Steel Dragon 2000 has a track which covers 8133 feet.

Now you can experience a ride on the World’s Fastest Roller Coaster…hang on!


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