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A Tilt-A-Whirl

Tilt-A-Whirl is a flat ride similar to the Waltzer in Europe, designed for commercial use at amusement parks, fairs, and carnivals, in which it is commonly found.[1] The rides are manufactured by Larson International of Plainview, Texas.


The ride consists of seven freely-spinning cars that hold three or four riders each, which are attached at fixed pivot points on a rotating platform. As the platform rotates, parts of the platform are raised and lowered, with the resulting centrifugal and gravitational forces on the revolving cars causing them to spin in different directions and at variable speeds. The weight of passengers in these cars (as well as the weight distribution) may intensify or dampen the spinning motion of the cars, adding to the unpredictable nature known as chaotic motion.

Physicists Bret M. Huggard and Richard L. Kautz came up with a mathematical equation that approximates the motion of the Tilt-A-Whirl.[2]


Herbert Sellner invented the Tilt-A-Whirl in 1926 at his Faribault, Minnesota, home.[3] In 1927, the first 14 Tilt-A-Whirls were built in Sellner's basement and yard. Sellner Manufacturing opened its factory in Faribault and the ride debuted at the Minnesota State Fair.[4] More than a thousand rides were eventually built. Some of the rides produced in the 1940s and 1950s are still in operation.

The earliest Tilt-A-Whirls were constructed of wood, powered by gas motors, and featured nine cars. Modern rides are constructed of steel, aluminum and fiberglass, and it is powered by seven small electric motors, and has seven cars.[5][6]

In 1995, Tovah Sellner took over Sellner Manufacturing after the loss of her husband Bruce Sellner; her daughter Erin Sellner joined her in 1998 and the two of them ran the business together.[7]

Modern Tilt-A-Whirls[edit]

Modern Tilt-A-Whirls cost in excess of US$300,000 to purchase. A Tilt-A-Whirl package comes with a choice to employ either the famous domed tipkarts (which were introduced back during the 1930s), or Waltzer-style open squat podkarts having headrest bars (that option was introduced by Sellner Manufacturing in 2003).

The oldest operating Tilt-A-Whirl is a 1927 model, traveling with Tom Evans United Shows in the US Midwest. Between six- and seven hundred Tilt-A-Whirls are in operation.

Conneaut Lake Park in Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania still has its original Tilt-A-Whirl from 1949.

Bessemer, Alabama's amusement park Alabama Splash Adventure introduced a Tilt-a-Whirl ride to the public on May 19, 2018.[8]


Name Park Opened Closed Details
Tilt-a-Whirl Adventure Park USA Unknown Open Open-topped cars. Cars have desert scenes painted on them. Ride also referred to as Rattlesnake.[9]
Tilt-A-Whirl Adventureland (Iowa)
Open [10]
Tilt-A-Whirl Adventurer's Park (Brooklyn, New York) Unknown Open [11]
Tilt-A-Whirl Alabama Splash Adventure
Open [12]
Tilt-A-Whirl All Star Adventures (Wichita, Kansas) Unknown Open [13]
Tilt-a-Whirl Amusements of America (Showman) Unknown Open [14]
Tilt-a-Whirl Arnolds Park Unknown Open [15]
Tilt-a-Whirl Bay Beach Amusement Park
Tilt-a-Whirl Beech Bend Park Unknown Open [16]
Unknown Bell's Amusement Park
Tilt-a-Whirl Belle City Amusements (Showman) Unknown Open [17]
Tilt-a-Whirl Belmont Park Unknown Open Includes ice cream-shaped ride vehicles.[18]
Tilt-A-Whirl Bertrand Island Amusement Park Unknown Closed
Tilt-A-Whirl Big Rock Amusements (Showman) Unknown Open
Tilt-A-Whirl Blue Bayou and Dixie Landin' Unknown Open
Tilt-A-Whirl Blue Sky Amusements (Showman) Unknown Unknown
Tilt-a-Whirl Boblo Island Amusement Park Unknown Closed
Tilt-a-Whirl Bowcraft Amusement Park Unknown Closed
Tilt-O-World Buckroe Beach Amusement Park Unknown Closed
Unknown Bushkill Park Unknown Closed Purchased by and refurbished by Eldridge Park.
Tilt A Whirl Butler Amusements (Showman) Unknown Open
Tilt-a-Whirl Camden Park Unknown Open
Tilt-A-Whirl Camp's Amusements (Showman) Unknown Open [19]
Twist & Shout Canobie Lake Park Unknown Open Relocated from Palisades Amusement Park.[20]
Tilt-a-Whirl Carousel Gardens Amusement Park Unknown Open Open-topped cars.[21]
Tilt-a-Whirl Casino Pier Unknown Open Open-topped cars.[22]
Tilt-a-Whirl Castle Park Unknown Open [23]
Linus' Beetle Bugs Cedar Point
Open Previously known as Tilt-a-Whirl. Named after Peanuts character Linus.[24]
Tennessee Twister Dollywood
2004 [25]
Tilt-a-Whirl Fun Spot America Theme Parks (Kissimmee) Unknown Open [26]
Tilt-a-Whirl Fun Spot America Theme Parks (Orlando) Unknown Open Open-topped cars.[27]
Tilt-a-Whirl Funtimes Fun Park
Open Originally at Geauga Lake.[28]
Turkey Whirl Holiday World & Splashin' Safari Unknown Open Includes turkey-shaped ride vehicles.[29]
Tilt-a-Whirl Lagoon Amusement Park
Shark Frenzy Pacific Park
Open Includes shark-shaped ride vehicles.
HARLEY QUINN Wild Whirl Six Flags Over Georgia
Open Previously known as Harley Quinn Spinsanity.
Tilt-a-Whirl Thomas Amusements (Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada)
Seasonal [30]

Incidents and accidents[edit]

On September 22, 2018, A Tilt-A-Whirl operated by Thomas Amusements in St. John's, Newfoundland malfunctioned when two of the cars crashed into each other causing the top of one of the cars to fall off and on to the platform. No serious injuries resulted but some of the passengers suffered minor injuries.[31]


  1. ^ Rides for Amusement Parks, Carnivals, and Fairs – Made in the USA Archived 2006-11-09 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Kautz, R.L., and B.M. Huggard. 1994. Chaos at the amusement park: Dynamics of the Tilt-A-Whirl. American Journal of Physics 62(January):59.
  3. ^ Silverman, Stephen M. (2019). The Amusement Park: 900 Years of Thrills and Spills, and the Dreamers and Schemers Who Built Them. Running Press. ISBN 9780316416474. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  4. ^ says, Tami Schluter (2018-09-16). "A Spin Through History In The 'Birthplace Of The Tilt-A-Whirl'". Retrieved 2020-05-01.
  5. ^ Editor, DOUG McDONOUGH Herald Managing (2011-01-25). "Larson International acquires Tilt-a-Whirl manufacturer". Plainview Daily Herald. Retrieved 2020-05-01.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  6. ^ "THE TILT-A-WHIRL™ – Larson International". Retrieved 2020-05-01.
  7. ^ "Tilt-A-Whirl Factory". American Profile. 2005-05-01. Retrieved 2020-05-01.
  8. ^ Holloway, Seth (2018-05-19). "Alabama Splash Adventure Opening with New Expansions On Saturday May 19, 2018 (Preview Pictures And Videos)". The Cutoff News. Retrieved 2018-09-11.
  9. ^ "Outdoor Attractions – Adventure Park USA". Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  10. ^ "Adventureland Resort". www.adventurelandresort.com. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  11. ^ "Rides & Attractions". Adventurer's Park Family Entertainment Center. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  12. ^ "Park Attractions | Alabama Adventure & Splash Adventure". www.alabamasplash.com. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  13. ^ "Go-Karts, Miniature Golf, Bumper Boats, Video and Redemption Games and more! - All Star Adventures". www.allstarwichita.com. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  14. ^ "Amusements of America - Carnival & Amusement Rides: Tilt-A-Whirl". www.amusementsofamerica.com. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  15. ^ "Tilt-A-Whirl". Arnolds Park. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  16. ^ wdd. "Family Rides". Beech Bend Park. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  17. ^ "Our Midway | Belle City Amusements Inc". Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  18. ^ "Tilt-A-Whirl". Belmont Park. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  19. ^ www.mwdwebdesign.com, Matt's Web Design-. "Tilt-A-Whirl". Campy's Amusements. Retrieved 2020-07-15.
  20. ^ "Twist & Shout | Canobie Lake Park". www.canobie.com. Retrieved 2020-07-15.
  21. ^ "Rides in Carousel Gardens Amusement Park". New Orleans City Park. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  22. ^ "casino-pier-breakwater-beach-bwb-attractions-tilt-a-whirl". Casino Pier & Breakwater Beach. Retrieved 2020-08-04.
  23. ^ "Castle Park - Rides & Attractions". Castle Park. Retrieved 2020-08-04.
  24. ^ "Linus' Beetle Bugs - Planet Snoopy | Cedar Point". www.cedarpoint.com. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  25. ^ "About Dollywood". www.dollywood.com. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  26. ^ "Tilt-a-Whirl-TEMPORARILY CLOSED". Fun Spot America. 2015-04-20. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  27. ^ "Tilt-a-Whirl". Fun Spot America. 2015-04-18. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  28. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DA_exCRvojQ
  29. ^ "Turkey Whirl". Holiday World. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  30. ^ http://www.thomasamusements.com/about-us/
  31. ^ Newfoundland, CBC (2018-09-22). "Minor injuries after Tilt-A-Whirl malfunctions at Thomas Amusements, say police". CBC NL. Retrieved 2018-09-24.

Further reading[edit]

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