Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters
|Headquarters||Hatfield, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.|
|Tom Rebbie (President/CEO)|
|Products||Amusement rides, roller coasters|
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.
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.
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.
Developed by J. Norman Bartlett and John Miller, the Flying Turns coasters came to 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. 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 experienced 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 storm on September 21, 1938.
Schmeck actually engineered a second Flying Turns for Hershey Park in August 1941. Due to the entry of the United States in World War II, and the resulting rationing of building materials, the roller coaster was 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. Though Bartlett and Miller went on to build several more Flying Turns-type coasters, PTC never proposed another.
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.
Wooden roller coasters
This table only includes PTC coasters that are still operating.
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.
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.
Beginning before World War II, PTC was involved with the booming dark ride and funhouse business. It spawned the company Funni-Frite Industries of Lancaster, Columbus, and (later) Pickerington, Ohio, which ceased manufacturing operations in 2000.
- Laffing Sal - automated funhouse character/amusement device
- Philadelphia Toboggan Company Carousel Number 15, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.
- Skee-Ball Inc. PTC owned Skee-Ball from 1945 until 1971 when it was spun off as a separate company.
- Rutherford, Scott. The American Roller Coaster, MBI Publishing, 2000, p. 12
- Rutherford, Scott (2004). "PTC built one Flying Turns at Rocky Point; Hershey's ride was designed, but never built". Amusement Today 8 (8.2). p. 23.
- Jenkins Jr., Torrence (2006). Herbert P. Schmeck: The Forgotten Legacy. Knepper Press. pp. 91–93.
- Seifert, Jeffrey. "This Month in History," Amusement Today, Volume 15, Issue 8.2, p. 3
- "Palisades Center Replaces Historic Carousel". New York Post. August 27, 2009. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
- "Hershey Park Opens Sunday". Harrisburg Telegraph. May 14, 1945. p. 14.
Following the practice of having something new every year, the Park has disposed of the carrousel, which has brought untold pleasure to thousands of children, and purchased one of the finest merry-go-rounds that has ever been built in this country.
- "Hershey Park Opens Sunday". Gettysburg Times. May 15, 1945. p. 8.
- Bussabarger, Kara (July 25, 2008). "PTC 49 Carousel at Louisville Zoo". Retrieved September 20, 2015.
- (PDF) http://esq.h-cdn.co/assets/cm/15/06/54d453969ae59_-_Carousel_News_and_Trader_BW_Borrelli_JUNE_2010.pdf. Missing or empty
- Staff (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
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