Roller Coaster Opens at Coney Island

Lemarcus Adna Thompson, a former Sunday school teacher invented the roller coaster which opened in June 1884 by the L.A. Thompson Scenic Railway Company at Coney Island, NY, USA. It traveled along a wooden and steel track 450 feet long at a speed of 6 miles per hour. The cars started from a peak and ran downgrade, the momentum carrying the cars up an incline. The passengers got out, the attendants pushed the train over a switch to a higher point on a second track, and the passengers returned. The highest drop was only 30 feet. Thompson obtained a U.S. patent on January 20, 1885, for a roller-coasting structure and another patent on December 22, 1885, on a gravity switchback railway. The first high-speed roller coaster was The Cyclone, which opened on June 26, 1927 at Coney Island. Its one-and-a-half minute ride hit speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.

      June, 1884
      Lemarcus Adna Thompson
      Sunday school teacher
      Coney Island, NY, USA

Additional Information:

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  • Switchback Railway – Wikipedia
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  • January 1884: First U.S. Patent for a Roller Coaster
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