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The History of Theme Park Inventions


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The famous Coney Island Cyclone rollercoaster

The famous Coney Island Cyclone rollercoaster sits idle against the snow covered ground January 23, 2005 at Coney Island in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

Photo by Stephen Chernin/Getty Images
John A. Miller has been called the "Thomas Edison" of rollercoasters.

John Miller was a prolific inventor who was granted over 100 patents, and invented many of the safety devices used in today's roller coasters, including the 'Safety Chain Dog' and 'Under Friction Wheels'. Miller designed toboggans before starting work at the Dayton Fun House and Riding Device Manufacturing Company, which later became the National Amusement Device Corporation. Together with partner Norman Bartlett, John Miller invented his first amusement ride (patented on October 14, 1926) called the Flying Turns ride. The Flying Turns was the prototype for the first roller coaster ride, however, it did not have tracks. Miller went on to invent several roller coasters with his new partner Harry Baker. Harry Baker built the famous Cyclone ride at Astroland Park, Coney Island.

Roller Coaster History from Patents

It is generally believed that the first roller coaster in the United States was built by L. A. Thompson and opened at Coney Island, New York, in June, 1884. This ride is described by Thompson's patent #310,966, Roller Coasting
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