Even though roller coasters look like the height of modern technology the fact is they have been in use for a long time. LeMarcus Adna Thompson claimed the first roller coaster in 1885 but some historians even claim that the first one was actually commissioned by Catherine the Great of Russia in 1784.
Roller coasters had their “golden age” around the turn of the century. Their popularity began declining during the Great Depression of the thirties when people could no longer afford to pay to go to amusement parks. However, in 1972, they became popular again with the advent of The Racer at King’s Island. The Racer was a roller coaster that later became two side-bye-by coasters that “raced”, one going forward and one going backward, through its track.
The advent of steel tracks in 1959 for roller coasters forever changed their makeup. Steel could be bent whereas the old wood materials could not, and designers could now use more thrilling turns and twists as well as adding more of them to each ride.
Wooden roller coasters have their own merits. King’s Island, located in Cincinnati, Ohio, has the largest drop at 214 feet. It is also the tallest at 218 feet. The Beast, also located at King’s Island, is the longest wooden roller coaster in the world. It is 7400 feet long. This also makes it the longest roller coaster in the world, regardless as to whether it is made of wood or steel. That is one long ride!
Most roller coasters work with momentum. They begin by being pulled slowly up a hill, where they then pick up speed and take off at a fast pace. Others, however, are launched right from the beginning of the ride. These rides take off faster and are usually capable of picking up more speed a long the way.
Although most roller coasters make a loop, or a circuit, they do not have to. Roller coasters that do not make a circuit are called “shuttle coasters.” While most coasters consist of a long train, with the carts hooked together, some are single cars.
There are also roller coasters that have their cars suspended. In these coasters, the riders let their feet dangle in the air as their car speeds down the track. Some riders report that these types of roller coasters offer a smoother ride.
In modern amusement parks there is often a mixture of wood and steel coasters for visitors to enjoy. The tallest of the steel coasters is called the Kingda Ka and is located at Six Flags in Jackson, New Jersey. It is also the fastest roller coaster in the world accelerating up to 128 mph.
The longest steel roller coaster in the United States is located in Sandusky, Ohio, at Cedar Point Park and is 6595 feet long.
Located in Tennessee, Dollywood might not be known for its rides, but it still has the 5th steepest roller coaster in the world. The Mystery Mine coaster drops down at a 95 degree angle.
People tend to love roller coasters for the thrilling sensation and adrenaline inducing blood rush they get from riding them. They’re fun, and relatively safe, and only last a couple of minutes. It is not everyday that you can be shot into the air, thrown upside down a couple of times, and scream bloody murder-only to finish your funnel cake a couple of minutes later.
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