We can all remember the first time we went to a funfair or a theme park. Kids running around with wide eyes and even wider smiles. Parents frantically trying to catch up with their children as they demand candy floss and fizzy drinks. They can be a fantastic way to spend a day or two and some lucky people even manage to stay for a week. There are some truly awesome theme parks in existence today, but what did we do before they came to be? Here we can look at how they were devised and who was responsible for these terrific family based distractions.
The First Ferris wheel
George W. Ferris built the first Ferris wheel in eighteen ninety three in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was a bridge builder and also built railways for a living. He understood that the wheel needed to be constructed from structural steel. Ferris was asked to build the wheel for the World's Fair in Chicago that year. The organizers wanted something that would rival the Eiffel Tower in design and effect. The finished article was regarded in awe and wonderment and it consisted of a wheel with over two hundred and fifty feet of diameter. This was supported by two one hundred and forty foot towers connected by a forty five foot axle. The Ferris wheel was such a success that it made over seven hundred thousand dollars during its time at the World's Fair.
The First Roller Coaster
John A. Miller was a famous inventor who design toboggans amongst other high speed contraptions. He worked for the aptly named 'Dayton Fun House' and was tasked with designing a new kind of high adrenaline ride. In nineteen twenty six he invented something called the 'Flying Turns ride' this was to be the world's first roller coaster prototype. In fact the ride did not have any tracks and was fairly dangerous by today's safety standards. The first patented roller coaster was credited to L.A. Thompson in eighteen eighty four. This was revealed to the public at Coney Island, New York.
The World's First Carousel
No theme park or funfair would be complete without the invention of the carousel or magic roundabout. The word is devised from the French language and it means 'merry-go-round'. History tells us that the first carousels were seen in sixteen twenty in Bulgaria. Instead of wooden horses on poles, there were real animals hanging from poles being spun out by the centrifugal force. It's hard to imagine these would one day develop into every young child's favorite ride.
The First Theme Park
It is reported that the world's first theme park was the Bartholomew Fair and this was operating in England as early as eleven thirty three! The inception of World's Fairs were thought to be the blueprint for modern theme parks. The first of these was Crystal Palace in eighteen fifty one near London, England. Their purpose was to celebrate the industrial strength of the host country. Who was to know that these would develop into the amusement ginats that we know and love today?
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