Loop-the-Loop - Coney IslandIt’s August 16th, National Roller Coaster Day. On this day 114 years ago, Edwin Prescott patented a looping roller coaster, which later became the Loop-the-Loop at Coney Island. There’s information out there on the interwebs that lazily report this as the day that the first roller coaster was patented. From what I’m gathering, this day was tied to Prescott’s patent for a looping coaster, not the first roller coaster or even the first looping roller coaster.

According to Ultimate Roller Coasters’ Roller Coaster History Guide and an article (called “Prescott Street”) on a Massachusetts news site, Prescott patented his own looping coaster on this day 1898.

Interestingly, the loop design that Prescott patented was too circular and produced too many g-forces. He altered it, making it an ellipse, before it debuted at Coney Island as Loop-the-Loop. It was one of the first looping roller coasters in the World when it opened in 1901.

Apparently, it was only successful for a while. Guests were charged admission to a viewing area and eventually people were more interested in watching it than riding it. Loop-the-Loop was eventually removed as ridership dwindled.

To help celebrate National Roller Coaster Day, here’s my favorite commercial of all-time. You can view it below for free!:

How did you celebrate National Roller Coaster Day? Leave a comment below. Image via Ultimate Roller Coasters courtesy of Adam Sandy. All rights reserved.

About The Author

Founder of CoasterCritic.com. My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

13 Responses

  1. Matt

    Happy Birthday Coaster Critic! I celebrated national coaster day by editing my top 20 coasters, watching povs in descending order of my top 10 coasters, and best of all…getting out there and riding some coasters at dorney park! (my home park) I was greeted by absurd long lines for a thursday night, but it was still very fun! I got some of the best rides I have ever got on Steel Force, Hydra, and Talon. Maybe its because it was dark. Or maybe it was because it was national roller coaster day!

    • CoasterCritic

      Thanks Matt. Good to know that someone got to ride some coasters on Coaster Day. I'm sure one day I will too. I still need to get back to Dorney for Hydra.

      • DRU

        I was pleasantly surprised by Hydra. It always amazes me when the smaller coasters like this deliver so well on the goods. Your gonna love the way it uses the hilly spot it sits on. That little slow-motion rollout of the station is funner than it looks…

  2. Kurt Dahlin

    That is a great commercial! Thanks for sharing.

    I knew this wasn’t the anniversary of the first coaster being patented. Some quick fact checking late last night told me that. I think Six Flags Great America was the only park I saw that got it right today. Amazing how many others blindly reported false facts.

    • CoasterCritic

      I'm actually guilty of reporting it incorrectly in the past thanks to other sites doing the same. I went back and corrected it in my previous posts though.

      After visiting Six Flags Great America recently, I'm not surprised at all that they got it right. That park seems to be a step above in a lot of ways.

  3. Gearhart

    Nice call on the Prescott patent. I celebrated a couple days early (to catch some Perseid meteor shower viewing), but just got back from a great visit to Silverwood with some rides on two hidden wooden gems. The powerhouse CCI twister Tremors (that goes underground 4 times) and the airtime machine Timber Terror. Also checked out last year's new addition Ricochet Rapids with a section of WhiteWater West's new MEGAtube, amazing! Had a loaded raft that was so heavy it went nearly vertical dropping into the tube and I flew a good 4 or 5 inches off the raft. Worth the trip to the middle of nowhere, if you get the chance, go.

  4. DRU

    Happy coaster day!
    I was solo at Great Adventure today Dorney yesterday. I did't even know it was Coaster day…Dumb luck!
    I think El Toro surpasses it reputation. That air is downright scary! I guess I never truly felt "ejector air" until today. WOW! I can't wait to go back. I also agree with your take on King Da Ka. It is great but it would be epic if they had an actual coaster after that sick launch and great height.

  5. @mattmcirvin

    I'm afraid I didn't do anything very coaster-related on the day.

    I remember looking up some old coaster patents in connection with a peculiar claim connected to the town where I live (Haverhill, Massachusetts).

    There's a claim that the word "roller coaster" actually originated with a ride in Haverhill that operated from 1887 to 1890, which was actually a sort of indoor toboggan slide with lots of small wheels on the track (making it a literal "roller coaster"). The building also had a roller skating rink in it, and the bottom of the slide went around the rink; there was a vertical lift to return the sleds to the top.

    I'm not entirely convinced about the etymology of "roller coaster"; the company itself seems to have called it a "roller toboggan". But I did figure out exactly where the ride was (it's now a public parking lot). And from later patent filings, it appears that the Haverhill Roller Toboggan Company built some conventional roller coasters later on.

    • CoasterCritic

      Pretty interesting. I've actually never thought about the origin of the word roller coaster.

      • @mattmcirvin

        Real roller coasters (the "side-friction" type, without upstop wheels) predate the Haverhill toboggan slide, but they were often called "scenic railways", "gravity roads" or "Russian mountains" (which of course is still what roller coasters are called in many languages). The actual origin of the term "roller coaster" seems somewhat obscure.

  6. Mike M.

    For Coaster Day, I was gearing up in the DMV area for a weekend tour of BGW and King’s Dominion. Mission completed. Got on just about every coaster I wanted to.


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