ROLLER COASTER PICTURES: 125 Years of Thrills

ROLLER COASTER PICTURES: 125 Years of Thrills
    1 of 6   Next >>
First True U.S. Roller Coaster

The 1885 patent (details pictured) for LaMarcus Thompson's "Roller Coasting Structure" certified the first coaster to be designed as a U.S. amusement ride.

The Coney Island, New York, attraction had opened in June 1884 and went by the name Switchback Railway. It cost only a nickel but was so wildly popular that it made Thompson a fortune. Its success inspired many imitators--and launched an industry that turns 125 in the U.S. in June 2009.

"That was more like a railroad on an incline, not an exciting roller coaster by today's standards," explained enthusiast Eric Gieszl, founder and editor of ultimaterollercoaster.com. "But it is what started it all."
—Excerpts from U.S. patent #310966 by LaMarcus A. Thompson
 
NEWS FEEDS    After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed. After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed.

Get our news delivered directly to your desktop—free.
How to Use XML or RSS




 

50 Drives of a Lifetime

Listen to your favorite National Geographic news daily, anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone. No wires or syncing. Download Stitcher free today.