Pretzel Amusement Ride Company
The Pretzel Amusement Ride Company was a famous manufacturer of pretzel dark rides. Pretzel built over 1400 pretzel rides and sold them to carnivals and parks. The pretzel ride was invented by Marvin Rempfer. Leon Cassidy was Marvin's partner in the Pretzel Amusement Ride Company. Both names are on the patent. Leon Cassidy patented the single-rail dark ride in 1928 along with Marvin Rempfer. The company originated in Tumbling Dam Park on the banks of Sunset Lake in Bridgeton, New Jersey. A rider said that "It felt like I was turned and twisted like a Pretzel", so the name Pretzel was chosen. A large heavy pretzel design was originally affixed to the front of each car to prevent the car from flipping backwards. In 1929, a standard Pretzel ride had five cars, 350 feet of track, and was one and a half minutes per ride. A pretzel ride sold for $1,200.
Portable pretzel rides for carnivals weighed about 9 tons. They were unloaded from a huge moving vans and set up. For the first 3 decades, Pretzel rides were single story. In the late 1950s, they started making double decker (2 story) rides. The ride carts were hoisted to the 2nd story by a lift chain. Leon Cassidy was not in favor of the double decker. The Mad Giant was 17 tons, 40'x 8' on trailer, and 70'x30' when opened up. It took about 5 hours to set it up. Pretzel also made spinning rides, including a famous one for Coney Island.
The rides were usually themed. A few of the rides were : Pretzel Ride (1930), The Caveman, Haunted House, Lost Mine, Gold Nugget, Thunderbird Jr. Ride, Toonerville Trolley, Whirlo, Kiddie Circus, Devil's Cave/Pirate's Cove/Bucket O' Blood (the same ride rethemed), Devils Inn, Winter Wonderland, Orient Express, Mad Giant, Laff in the Dark, Laff in the Dark with spinning cars, Laffland, Pirates Cave, Pirates Den, Paris After Dark, Arabian Nights Tunnel of Love/Casper's Ghostland, Treasure Island, Spook-A-Rama, Le Cachot/Safari/Zoomerang, and 3 Dante's Infernos. The Haunted Pretzel in Historic Bushkill Park, Easton, PA was built in 1927, and was one of the oldest surviving dark rides in the U.S. until it was destroyed by a flood in 2004.
Conneaut Lake Park has one of the few remaining Pretzel Dark Rides in operation, with their Devil's Den dark ride.
Leon's son William Cassidy ran the company after his father. William Cassidy sold the rights to build the rides in 1979.
- Luca, Bill. "William Cassidy and The Pretzel Amusement Ride Company". Send 'em Out Laffing. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
- Send 'Em Out Laffing The History of the Pretzel Amusement Ride Company