LaMarcus Adna Thompson (March 8, 1848 – May 8, 1919) was an American inventor and businessman most famous for developing a variety of gravity rides. Thompson was born in Jersey, Licking County, Ohio on March 8, 1848. In his adolescence he became a skilled carpenter. In 1873 he began operating a grocery store in Elkhart, Indiana. There he began designing a device to manufacture seamless hosiery. He made a fortune in that business, but failing health forced him to quit it. Thompson is best known for his early work developing roller coasters, and is sometimes called the "Father of the Gravity Ride". He did not invent the roller coaster. The history of the roller coaster dates back to at least the 17th century, and John G. Taylor obtained an earlier patent under the name "Inclined Railway"; however, over his lifetime, Thompson accumulated nearly thirty patents related to roller coaster technologies. An example is the patent granted 22 Dec. 1885 for the Gravity Switch-back Railway.
Thompson's Gravity Pleasure Switchback Railway opened at Coney Island in 1884. A (6 mph) ride cost 5 cents. Eventually he built many more, both in the U.S. and in Europe. In 1887, along with designer James A. Griffiths, he opened the Scenic Railway on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, N.J. He was managing director of the L. A. Thompson Scenic Railway Company, 220 West 42nd St., incorporated in 1895.
He died at his home, Thompson Park, Glen Cove, Long Island, on May 8, 1919 aged 71.
The roller coaster is a popular amusement ride developed for amusement parks and modern theme parks. LaMarcus Adna Thompson obtained a patent regarding roller coasters on January 20, 1885, which were made out of wood, but this patent is considerably later than the "Russian mountains" described below. In essence a specialized railroad system, a roller coaster consists of a track that rises in designed patterns, sometimes with one or moreinversions (such as vertical loops) that briefly turn the rider upside down. The track does not necessarily have to be a complete circuit, as shuttle roller coasters demonstrate. Most roller coasters have multiple cars in which passengers sit and are restrained. Two or more cars hooked together are called a train. Some roller coasters, notably wild mouse roller coasters, run with single cars.
In 1827, a mining company in Summit Hill, Pennsylvania constructed the Mauch Chunk gravity railroad, an 8.7-mile (14.0 km) downhill track used to deliver coal to Mauch Chunk (now known as Jim Thorpe), Pennsylvania. By the 1850s, the "Gravity Road" (as it became known) was providing rides to thrill-seekers for 50 cents a ride. Railway companies used similar tracks to provide amusement on days when ridership was low. Using this idea as a basis, LaMarcus Adna Thompson began work on a gravity Switchback Railway that opened at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York in 1884. In 1885, Phillip Hinkle introduced the first full-circuit coaster with a lift hill, the Gravity Pleasure Road, which was soon the most popular attraction at Coney Island. Not to be outdone, in 1886 LaMarcus Adna Thompson patented his design of roller coaster that included dark tunnels with painted scenery.
Today, there are two main types of roller coaster:
Tallest Roller coaster operating:
Height 197 ft (60 m)
Since: June 2009 – present
Fastest Roller coaster operating:
Speed: 72 mph (116 km/h)
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