Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters

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Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters, Inc.
Type Private
Industry Manufacturing
Founded 1904 (1904)
Headquarters Hatfield, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Area served Worldwide
Key people Tom Rebbie (President/CEO)
Products Amusement rides, roller coasters
Owner(s) Tom Rebbie
Website Official website

Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters is one of the oldest existing roller coaster manufacturing companies in the world. Based in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, it was established in 1904 by Henry Auchey and Chester Albright under the name Philadelphia Toboggan Company. The company manufactured carousels, wooden roller coasters, toboggans (roller coaster cars) and later, roller coaster trains.

History[edit]

Philadelphia Toboggan Company built and designed roller coasters from 1904 to 1979. Notable designers included Joe McKee, John A. Miller, Herbert Schmeck, Frank Hoover, and John C. Allen. When Allen retired in 1976, the company stopped designing roller coasters but continued to work on coaster projects until 1979 when it exited the coaster-construction industry for good.[1]

The company manufactured carousels in addition to roller coasters, which were known for their elaborate carvings and decorations. Lead carvers included Daniel Carl Muller, Leo Zoller, John Zalar, and most importantly, Frank Caretta. Fine examples of the company's carousels (manufactured 1904–1934) exist throughout the United States. A few of the rides the Philadelphia Toboggan Company built include the Rollo Coaster at Idlewild Park in 1938, and the carousel for the same amusement park in 1931. The company also manufactured Skee Ball machines for many years. In 1926, PTC was granted a trademark on a new name, Philtobco.

Flying Turns[edit]

Developed by J. Norman Bartlett and John Miller, the Flying Turns coasters garnered the attention of PTC. Recognizing the ride's potential, PTC signed a licensing agreement with Bartlett and Miller to market the ride in North America — with the exception of the state of California.[2] With the arrival of the Great Depression, PTC built only one in 1931, at Rocky Point Amusement Park. The coaster was engineered by Herbert Schmeck, but was not without its problems. The ride opened late in the summer and Schmeck was required to stay on site for some time before he was able to get the ride operating consistently. The ride was damaged beyond repair by a Nor'easter on September 21, 1938.[2]

Schmeck actually engineered a second flying turns for Hershey Park in August 1941. Due to the United States entering World War II, and the resulting rationing of building materials, the roller coaster was cancelled and never built. It would have been located in the park next to what is now the Wave Swinger, and part of where the Comet lift hill is located.[3] Though Bartlett and Miller went on to build several more Flying Turns-type coasters, PTC never proposed another.[2]

PTC Today[edit]

On November 27, 1991, Tom Rebbie and Bill Dauphinee purchased the Philadelphia Toboggan Company from its former owner, the late Sam High (1934–2011). The 87-year-old company changed its name to Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters and Rebbie was appointed president. Rebbie bought out Dauphinee in 2007 to become the sole owner and the name was slightly modified to Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters, Inc. (PTCI). The company continues to manufacture roller coaster trains, queue gates and fin brakes.[4]

Wooden roller coasters[edit]

This table only includes PTC coasters that are still operating.

Most wooden roller coasters operate with PTC trains[citation needed]
Opened Name Park
1923 Thunderhawk Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom
1927 Wildcat Lake Compounce
1927 Racer Kennywood
1934 Blue Flyer Blackpool Pleasure Beach
1936 Yankee Cannonball1 Canobie Lake Park
1938 Rollo Coaster Idlewild Park
1941 Thunderbolt Six Flags New England
1946 Comet Hersheypark
1951 Comet Waldameer Park
1956 Sea Dragon Zoombezi Bay
1959 Wedgewood Tornado Wedgewood Village in Oklahoma City
1964 Blue Streak Cedar Point
1966 Swamp Fox Grand Strand Amusement Park, renovated in 1992 when park reopened as Family Kingdom Amusement Park
1967 Cannon Ball Lake Winnepesaukah
1972 Woodstock Express Kings Island
1972 The Racer Kings Island
1973 Great American Scream Machine Six Flags Over Georgia
1974 Woodstock Express Kings Dominion
1975 Woodstock Express Carowinds
1975 Rebel Yell Kings Dominion
1976 Screamin' Eagle2 Six Flags St. Louis
1976 Thunder Road3 Carowinds
1985 Phoenix4 Knoebels
1987 Skyliner5 Lakemont Park
1994 Comet6 The Great Escape
2006 Meteor7 Little Amerricka
2010 Little Dipper8 Six Flags Great America
2011 Black Diamond9 Knoebels Amusement Resort

1Originally built in 1930 as Roller Coaster for Lakewood Park in Waterbury, Connecticut.
2This was the last coaster designed and built by PTC. John Allen retired when this coaster was completed.
3This coaster was designed by Curtis D. Summers based on PTC plans. Some sources indicate it was built in-house by Taft, others attribute PTC.
4Originally built in 1947 at Playland Park (San Antonio, TX) as The Rocket. The park closed in 1980 and the coaster was relocated to Knoebels in 1985.
5Originally built in 1960 at Roseland Park, Canandaigua, New York. The park closed in 1985 and the coaster was relocated to Lakemont Park in 1987.
6Originally built in 1949 at Crystal Beach Park (Crystal Beach, Ontario Canada). The park closed in 1989 and the coaster was dismantled in 1990. It sat in storage until 1993. It was then relocated to The Great Escape in 1994.
7Originally built in 1953 as Little Dipper for Kiddytown in Norridge, Illinois then moved in 1966 to Hillcrest Park where it operated until 2003.
8Originally built in 1950 as Little Dipper for Melrose Kiddieland.
9Originally built in 1960 as Golden Nugget for Hunt's Pier, Wildwood, New Jersey. It is the only steel coaster ever manufactured by PTC.

Carousels[edit]

This table only includes PTC carousels that are still operating or in restoration. Most PTC carousels were numbered, so they are easily identified. Most have been moved from their original opening locations.

PTC # Owner City, State Year Built
6 Kit Carson Co. Fairgrounds Burlington, Colorado 1905
15 Palisades Center Mall, removed 2009[5] West Nyack, New York 1907
17 Six Flags Over Georgia Atlanta, Georgia 1908
18 Carousel Center Syracuse, New York 1909
19 Euclid Beach (in restoration) Cleveland, Ohio 1910
21 Six Flags Magic Mountain Valencia, California 1912
30 Luna Park, Melbourne St Kilda, Melbourne Australia 1913
33 Como Park St. Paul, Minnesota 1914
35 Six Flags St. Louis Eureka, Missouri 1915
39 Lake Winnepesaukah Rossville, Georgia 1916
43 Puyallup Fair Puyallup, Washington 1917
44 Kings Dominion Doswell, Virginia 1917
45 Woodland Park Zoo Seattle, Washington 1918
46 Walt Disney World Lake Buena Vista, Florida 1917
47 Hersheypark Hershey, Pennsylvania 1919
49 Louisville Zoo Louisville, Kentucky 1919 [1]
50 City of Hampton Hampton, Virginia 1920
51 Elitch Gardens Denver, Colorado 1925–1928
53 Charles Walker Griffin, Georgia 1920
54 Battleship Cove Fall River, Massachusetts 1920
59 Peddler's Village Lahaska, Pennsylvania 1922
61 David and Jane Walentas Brooklyn, New York 1922
62 Santa Monica Pier Santa Monica, California 1922
67 Carowinds Charlotte, North Carolina 1923
72 Kiddieland Melrose Park, Illinois 1925
75 Gillians Wonderland Pier and Island Waterpark Ocean City, New Jersey 1926
76 Valleyfair Shakopee, Minnesota 1925
79 Kings Island, formerly Coney Island, Cincinnati (1926–1971) Mason, Ohio 1926
80 Holyoke Heritage State Park Holyoke, Massachusetts 1927–1929
83 Idlewild Park Ligonier, Pennsylvania 1931
84 Canada's Wonderland Vaughan, Ontario, Canada 1928
85 Carousel Station (formerly part of Paragon Park) Hull, Massachusetts 1928
87 Family Kingdom Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (mechanism only - Horses Replaced - formerly Asbury Park, NJ, Casino) 1929

PTC Coaster Cars Only[edit]

The following roller coaster was not built nor designed by PTC but began operating with 6 PTC trains but now currently operates with 4 PTC trains due to a minor flaw in track design that did not allow a train to be brought back into the station before the other train arrives in the braking block causing ride interruption.

Opened

Name

Park

1981 American Eagle Six Flags Great America

Funhouse items[edit]

Laffing Sal - automated funhouse character/amusement device

PTC was involved with the booming dark ride and funhouse business since before WWII, spawning off the company Funni-Frite of Columbus, Ohio.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rutherford, Scott. The American Roller Coaster, MBI Publishing, 2000, p. 12
  2. ^ a b c Rutherford, Scott. "PTC built one Flying Turns at Rocky Point; Hershey's ride was designed, but never built", Amusement Today, 2004, Volume 8, Issue 8.2, p. 23
  3. ^ Jenkins Jr., Torrence (2006). Herbert P. Schmeck: The Forgotten Legacy. Knepper Press. pp. 91–93. 
  4. ^ Seifert, Jeffrey. "This Month in History," Amusement Today, Volume 15, Issue 8.2, p. 3
  5. ^ PALISADES CENTER REPLACES HISTORIC CAROUSEL - New York Post - August 27, 2009
  6. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 

External links[edit]