Roller Coasters

By ~ Laura Zahn

The History Of Roller Coasters

The origin of roller coasters comes from Russian ice slides; a drop made completely of ice and occasionally bumps at the end (David Bowers 1). These ice slides were very popular when they first started, but they were also difficult to maneuver so for a fee a person who was skilled would guide you with their skills (David Bowers 1). According to David Bowers, “In France the weather does not permit a slide made of ice, so a French businessman created a slide that didn't have to be made of ice; therefore, he made the slide out of wood as well as the sled which had rollers on the bottom.” Bowers explains the evolution from Russian ice slides to wooden slides. (David Bowers 2). Since this worked well, models were soon invented indoors, and the more accidents that occurred the more people wanted to ride them to get more skills at driving the sleds (David Bowers 2). During the 1850s in France an attempt at a loop-the-loop was made, and the first roller coaster in America was The Mauch Chunk Railway (David Bowers 2). Which was used for transportation, but people could pay $1 to ride it (David Bowers 2).

Types of Roller Coasters

Depending on how the roller coaster track is structured there are 2 major types of roller coasters. The wooden tracks were made of mostly wood and parts that hold the cart in place (Tom Harris 2). Wooden tracks were designed similar to a train (Tom Harris 2). The whole track is supported by wooden or steel beams; similar to how houses are supported (Tom Harris 3). In wooden roller coasters it is possible but rare for them to flip upside down; this is possible because the structure is actually pretty flexible (Tom Harris 3). Because of the wooden structure, it is challenging to create twists and turn, so wooden roller coasters mostly go up and down (Tom Harris 3). The second type of roller coaster was made of steel. Steel roller coasters had more movement; thus, the roller coaster world transformed during the 1950s (Tom Harris 4). As claimed by Tom Harris, “As the name suggests, these tracks consist of a pair of long steel tubes. These tubes are supported by a sturdy, lightweight superstructure made out of slightly larger steel tubes or beams.” (Tom Harris 4). Tom explains the structure of steel tracks, and how the track is held up by steel tubes and beams.The wheels of this type of roller coaster consisted of nylon or polyurethane. The steel carts have several sets of wheels; some that run along the bottom and others that run along the side (Tom Harris 5). What this does is keep the cart in place with the track; which, is very important during turns and twists of the track (Tom Harris 5). Of the two major types of roller coasters there are 8 other types that they consist of (Tom Harris 8). These 8 types are, sit down, stand up, inverted, suspended, pipeline, bobsled, flying and fourth dimension the difference between all the types is either how you sit or stand, where the track is attached to the cart or how the coaster moves (Tom Harris 8).

Famous Roller Coasters

In the United States there are many famous roller coasters. A famous steel roller coaster is the Kingda Ka which is at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, New Jersey (Linda K. 2). According to Linda K., “With a height of 456 feet, a drop of 418 feet, and a speed of 128 mph, this mighty beast is the tallest and fastest in the United States.” Linda claims the Kingda Ka is the fastest and highest roller coaster in the US (Linda K. 2). Some thrill roller coasters that are ranked as top are Top Thrill Dragster in Ohio , Millennium Force in Ohio , Goliath in California and Superman The Escape in California (Linda K 3-6). Wooden Roller Coasters that are ranked as top are Son of Beast which is in Ohio, El Toro in New Jersey, The Voyage in Indiana, Mean Streak in Ohio and The Boss in Missouri. (Linda K. 7-11).

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