It was a hell of a Roller coaster ride !!!
Posted January 19th, 2014
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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.



The oldest roller coasters are believed to have originated from the so-called "Russian Mountains", which were specially constructed hills of ice, located especially around Saint PetersburgBuilt in the 17th century, the slides were built to a height of between 70 and 80 feet (24 m), consisted of a 50 degree drop, and were reinforced by wooden supportsSome historians say the first real roller coaster was built under the orders of Russia's Catherine the Great in the Gardens of Oranienbaum in Saint Petersburg in the year 1784. Other historians believe that the first roller coaster was built by the French. The Les Montagnes Russes à Belleville (The Russian Mountains of Belleville) constructed in Paris in 1817 and the Promenades Aeriennes both featured wheeled cars securely locked to the track, guide rails to keep them on course, and higher speeds. 


The name Russian Mountains to designate a roller coaster is preserved in most Latin languages. Ironically, the Russian term for roller coasters is  ("amerikanskiye gorki"), which means "American Mountains". It is said to have originated from an early American design where slides or ramps were fitted with rollers over which a sled would coast. Another explanation is that it originated from a ride located in a roller skating rink in Haverhill, Massachusetts in 1887. A toboggan-like sled was raised to the top of a track which consisted of hundreds of rollers. The inventors of this ride, Stephen E. Jackman and Byron B. Floyd, claim that they were the first to use the term "roller coaster". The term jet coaster is used for roller coasters in Japan, where such amusement park rides are very popular. In Scandinavian languages, the roller coaster is referred as "mountain-and-valley railway"

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.


By 1919, the first underfriction roller coaster had been developed by John Miller. Soon, roller coasters spread to amusement parks all around the world. Perhaps the best known historical roller coaster, The Cyclone, was opened at Coney Island in 1927. In 1972, when The Racer was built at Kings Island in Mason, Ohio (near Cincinnati). Designed by John Allen, the instant success of The Racer began a second golden age, which has continued to this day. In 1959 Disneyland introduced a new design breakthrough with Matterhorn Bobsleds. This was the first roller coaster to use a tubular steel track.


In 2006, NASA announced that it would build a system using principles similar to those of a roller coaster to help astronauts escape the Ares I launch pad in an emergency.


Today, there are two main types of roller coaster:

Tallest Roller coaster operating: 

Name: Colossos Place
Heide Park, Germany 

Height 197 ft (60 m)

Since: June 2009 – present

Fastest Roller coaster operating:

Name: Goliath
Place: Six Flags Great America, United States

Speed: 72 mph (116 km/h)


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