Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Search: first roller coaster
Why: I watched this video of Space Mountain with the lights on. The Zippin Pippin in Memphis first opened in 1912.
Answer: In the mid-1600s, Russians built tall slides covered with sheets of ice several inches thick. Riders climbed stairs and slide down the ice at 50° angles. Catherine the Great supposedly loved this entertainment "fit for royalty" and even had structures built on her own property.
The earliest wheeled roller coaster may have been at the Gardens of Orienbaum in St. Petersburg. Built in 1784, it had carriages that rolled in grooved tracks.
In 1817, 2 coasters were built in France called Les Montagues Russes a Belleville (The Russian Mountains of Belleville) and Promenades Aeriennes (The Aerial Walk). The Belleville was the first to use the modern technology that has each car's axle fit into a groove carved in the track.
The first looping roller was located in Frascati Gardens in Paris in 1846. The hill was 43 ft tall and the loop was 13 ft wide.
Source: Ultimate Rollercoaster
The More You Know: Lisa and I went on our first upside-down rollercoasters the same day, at Busch Gardens Williamsburg between 4th and 5th grade. We went on 3 upside-downers that day. On the way home, in her parents' minivan, Lisa puked all over me.