The roller coaster is a popular amusement ride developed for amusement parks and modern theme parks. LaMarcus Adna Thompson patented the first coasters on January 20, 1885. In essence a specialized railroad system, a roller coaster consists of a track that rises in designed patterns, sometimes with one or more inversions (such as vertical loops) that turn the rider briefly upside down. The track does not necessarily have to be a complete circuit, as shuttle roller coasters exhibit. Most roller coasters have multiple cars in which passengers sit and are restrained. Two or more cars hooked together are called a train. Some roller coasters, notably Wild Mouse roller coasters, run with single cars.
Steel roller coasters In 1959 the Disneyland theme park introduced a new design breakthrough with the Matterhorn Bobsleds. This was the first roller coaster to use a tubular steel track. Unlike conventional rails set on wooden railroad ties, tubular steel can be bent in any direction, which allows designers to incorporate loops, corkscrews, and many other maneuvers into their designs. Most modern roller coasters are made of steel, although wooden coasters are still being built. New designs and technologies are pushing the limits of what can be experienced on the newest coasters. Electromagnetically launched coasters are examples of such technologies.
Types of roller coasters: This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (March 2009) Today, there are two main types of roller coaster: Steel roller coasters Wooden roller coasters Steel coasters are known for their smooth ride and often convoluted shapes that frequently turn riders upside-down via inversions. Wooden coasters are typically renowned by enthusiasts for their rougher ride and "air time" produced by negative G-forces when the train reaches the top of hills along the ride. There are also hybrid roller coasters that combine a steel structure with wood tracks, or a wood structure with steel tracks. Modern roller coasters take on many different forms. Some designs take their cue from how the rider is positioned to experience the ride. Traditionally, riders sit facing forward in the coaster car, while newer coaster designs have ignored this tradition in the quest for building more exciting, unique ride experiences. Variations such as the stand-up roller coaster and the flying roller coaster position the rider in different ways to provide different experiences. Stand-up coasters involve cars that have the riders in a standing position (though still heavily strapped in). Flying coasters have the riders hanging below the track face-down with their chests and feet strapped in. Vekoma "Flying Dutchman" coasters have the riders starting out sitting above the track, then they fully recline so that the riders are looking at the sky. Eventually, they twist into the "flying" position. B&M flying coasters have the riders hanging below the track like in an inverted (hanging) coaster. To go into the flight position, the section of the car where the riders' feet are raised to the track. That way, they start in the flight position. In addition to changing rider viewpoint, some roller coaster designs also focus on track styles to make the ride fresh and different from other coasters. See Roller coaster elements for the various parts of a roller coaster and the types of thrill elements that go into making each roller coaster unique.