Arrow Dynamics

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Arrow Dynamics
Industry Amusement Rides
Fate Bankruptcy, assets bought by S&S Arrow
Predecessor(s) Arrow Development Company Inc
Arrow-Huss Inc
Founded 1946 (as Arrow Development Company)
Founder(s) Karl Bacon
Ed Morgan
Bill Hardiman
Angus Anderson
Defunct 2002
Headquarters Clearfield, Utah, United States
Key people Karl Bacon
Ed Morgan
Ron Toomer
Products Roller Coasters, Log Flumes, Auto Rides

Arrow Dynamics was a roller coaster and amusement ride design company based in Clearfield, Utah, United States. Formerly known as Arrow Development (1946-1981) and Arrow-Huss (1981-1986), Arrow Dynamics was responsible for some of the most influential advancements in the roller coaster industry. Among the biggest was the tubular steel track design for roller coasters, which provided a smoother ride than flat rails commonly used at the time on wooden roller coasters. The design was the company's first foray into the roller coaster industry and was used on their first roller coaster, the Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland, in 1959. Following its success, Disney invested in Arrow, who would continue designing trend-setting roller coasters over the next 45 years.

In 1975, Arrow introduced Corkscrew, a roller coaster at Knott's Berry Farm that sent riders through a series of looping spirals. Though it wasn't the world's first roller coaster to invert its riders, it was the first in modern times. The use of tubular steel and spiraling design provided a smooth and safe experience absent from earlier looping coasters in the 1800s. Arrow reached additional milestones over the years by introducing the first suspended roller coaster in almost a century, The Bat, which opened in 1981, and the world's first hypercoaster, Magnum XL-200, which opened in 1989.

All the success wasn't without hardship, however. The company's ownership changed hands several times through the 1970s and 1980s, and it was forced to declare bankruptcy on more than one occasion. Though it was able to persevere under new ownership and re-emerge from its second bankruptcy in 1986 forming the successful Arrow Dynamics, the company eventually met its demise on December 3, 2001, when the company filed for its final bankruptcy. S&S Worldwide purchased a portion of Arrow's assets on October 28, 2002, but the remainder of the company was ultimately dissolved.

History[edit]

Beginnings[edit]

Arrow Dynamic's forerunner, Arrow Development, was founded in 1946 when Ed Morgan, Karl Bacon, Bill Hardiman, and Angus "Andy" Anderson, started a small machine shop at 243 Moffett Boulevard, just north of downtown Mountain View, California.[citation needed] They started out small, building playgrounds, merry-go-rounds and other rides for local amusement parks.[1]

In 1953, they contacted Walt Disney, who was just beginning to plan a new type of amusement park in California.[2] Disney admired Arrow's work and hired the company to help design and build the ride systems for many of Disneyland's original and early rides, including Mad Tea Party, King Arthur Carrousel, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Casey Jr. Circus Train, and Snow White's Scary Adventures.[1]

While Arrow was designing and testing these rides, Walt Disney made frequent trips to Mountain View to check on their progress. Then the rides were quickly shipped down to Anaheim to be ready for the park's opening. Disney continued to use Arrow as he expanded Disneyland. The company went on to build Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Autopia, and Alice in Wonderland in coming years.[2]

Move toward roller coaster manufacturing[edit]

Matterhorn Bobsleds, the first Arrow Development roller coaster.

In 1959, Arrow Development designed what was to be the first of their many roller coasters, the Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Built in conjunction with WED Imagineering,[3] the ride was the first modern tubular steel tracked roller coaster in the world.

After construction of the Matterhorn, Disney bought a third of Arrow Development and Arrow moved into a larger plant at 1555 Plymouth in Mountain View, CA. At the new location, Arrow went on to develop new ride systems for Disney and developed the vehicles and tracks for It's a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, Adventure Thru Inner Space, and the Haunted Mansion.

When Arrow wasn't developing rides for Disney, it was creating rides for other amusement parks. It developed the modern log flume ride, which can be seen around the country in many amusement and theme parks today, with the first being El Aserradero in 1963. In the 1970s, the company perfected and brought back the loop into modern roller coasters.

Arrow Development began to make significant advancements in the roller coaster industry as well as major installations throughout the United States. In 1975, Arrow installed one of the most important rides of its time, Corkscrew, which made its debut at Knott's Berry Farm as the world's first modern inverting coaster. Arrow made dozens of coasters throughout the decades, including several Corkscrew-style coasters, many "runaway mine train" coasters like Cedar Creek Mine Ride and Adventure Express, custom-designed coasters like Loch Ness Monster, and Carolina Cyclone. Arrow Dynamics made large advancements not only in roller coaster technology but also in many other fields, such as in water rides (creating the hugely popular log flume rides), as well as many other family-style rides.

Some of Arrow Development's later projects included what were at the time the world's tallest roller coasters, such as Magnum XL-200 at Cedar Point in 1989 and Pepsi Max Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in 1994.

Reorganizations and bankruptcy[edit]

Arrow Huss Logo (1981-1985)
Arrow Dynamics Logo (1986-2000)

In 1972, founders Karl Bacon and Ed Morgan decided to retire and sold Arrow Development to Rio Grande Industries. At the time, Penn Central owned Six Flags and Rio Grande had plans to build several theme parks of their own, in addition to owning a coaster-building company.[4] After almost a decade of ownership, Rio Grande sold Arrow in 1981 to the German manufacturing firm, Huss Maschinenfabrik, which merged with Arrow Development to form Arrow-Huss. Dana Morgan (Ed Morgan's son) was appointed president and Ron Toomer was made vice president and manager of engineering. Although the Arrow coasters continued to sell well, Huss got into financial trouble, partially due to heavily investing in Darien Lake theme park in New York and the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition in New Orleans.[5] Arrow Huss filed for bankruptcy protection in 1985, and 13 of the company's American officers negotiated a buyout. In 1986, the takeover was approved by the courts and the company re-emerged as Arrow Dynamics. Ron Toomer served as President until 1993, then Chairman of the Board until 1995, then as a consultant director until his retirement in 1998.[6]

In the late 1990s, Arrow Dynamic's workload steadily decreased, with few installations toward the end of the decade. Other manufacturers such as Bolliger & Mabillard had entered the field, and Arrow was no longer the dominant steel coaster manufacturer. Bankruptcy loomed once again as Arrow made their final attempt to stay afloat with X (now known as X2) at Six Flags Magic Mountain, a 4th dimension roller coaster designed by Alan Schilke. X opened to massive media attention and received an initially positive reception.[citation needed] However, several mechanical problems caused the ride to be closed for repairs during much of its first year of operation.

The company finally fell into bankruptcy in 2001. At the end of October 2002, the company's assets were sold to S&S Arrow, a limited liability company related to amusement ride manufacturer S&S Worldwide.[7][8]

Milestones[edit]

Magnum XL-200, the first roller coaster in the world to pass the 200 ft mark.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b O'Brien, Tim (November 30, 1998). "Pioneers share Living Legend Award". Amusement Business 110 (48): 20. 
  2. ^ a b Gurr, Bob (27 November 2013). "DESIGN: Those Were The Times – No.23 1955 Arrow Development – Ed Morgan and Karl Bacon". MiceChat. Retrieved 28 November 2013. 
  3. ^ "Arrow Story". Archived from the original on 2002-12-07. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 
  4. ^ O'Brien, Tim. Legends: Pioneers of the Amusement Park Industry, Ripley Entertainment Inc., 2006, p:224
  5. ^ O'Brien, Tim. Legends: Pioneers of the Amusement Park Industry, Ripley Entertainment Inc., 2006, p:225
  6. ^ Seifert, Jeffrey. Ron Toomer 1930-2011 (Obituary), ACE News, Vol. 34, Issue 2, Dec. 2011, American Coaster Enthusiasts (publisher)
  7. ^ O'Brien, Tim (August 12, 2002). "S&S moves to snap up defunct rivals". Amusement Business 114 (32): 1, 9. 
  8. ^ O'Brien, Tim (November 4, 2002). "S&S affiliate catches Arrow". Amusement Business 114 (44): 8. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "Roller Coaster History Timeline". Ultimate Rollercoaster. Retrieved 27 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "Runaway Mine Train - Six Flags Over Texas - Roller Coasters". Ultimate Rollercoaster. Retrieved 27 November 2011. 
  11. ^ Marden, Duane. "Double Loop  (Geauga Lake & Wildwater Kingdom)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 27 November 2011. 

External links[edit]