Virginia Reel roller coaster

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Virginia Reel at Ontario Beach Amusement Park, Charlotte, Rochester, New York c. 1910

Virginia Reel was an older style of spinning roller coaster characterized by spinning circular "tubs" that zig-zagged down a flat-bottomed track.


Virginia Reels used a side friction-like track resembling a trench. The tubs, which had inward-facing seats built around the perimeter, spun freely on their chassis as they traveled around the track. Instead of big hills or banks, Virginia Reels featured many unbanked turns and switchbacks to spin their tubs as much as possible. Near the end of the ride were a few helices and a relatively steep drop into a tunnel.[1]


The Virginia Reel was designed by Henry Elmer Riehl, who named the ride after his daughter, Luna Virginia Riehl. The first Virginia Reel was built in 1908 at Luna Park, Coney Island,[2] where Henry Riehl was superintendent.

The last full-sized Virginia Reel was located at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in England until it closed in 1982.[3] The modern equivalent is the Spinning Wild Mouse roller coaster. There is one survivor, albeit in miniature form, at Joyland (Great Yarmouth) [4]

A similar ride around the same time, the Tickler, consisted of curved rails and posts forming a zig-zag route down an incline surface. Wheeled circular tubs freely rolled and spun down the incline, guided by the rails and bounced about by the posts.


  1. ^ Rutherford, Scott (2000). The American Roller Coaster. MBI Publishing Company. Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  2. ^ "Luna Park Goes Through a Little Extra Housecleaning". The New York Times. 1908-04-26. pp. SM6. Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  3. ^ "Pleasure Beach Postcards — Virginia Reel". Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  4. ^ "Tyrolean Tub Twist". The New York Times. 1908-04-26. pp. SM6. Retrieved 2013-04-01. 

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