Harry Traver built the perhaps one of the most famous roller coasters of all time, the Crystal Beach Cyclone. This wooden coaster reached speeds of about 60 mph, and reached 4 maximum vertical G forces, in 1927.

Picture Courtesy of Coaster-net.com

    The Puritas Springs Cyclone was known as one of the best terrain coasters ever built, boasting a great low lying out and back design, complete with a turn around at the top edge of a cliff.

Picture Courtesy of Coaster-net.com

    The Blue Streak in Woodcliffe Pleasure Park debuted as the world's tallest (127 feet) and fastest (65.5 mph) roller coaster. It held these records from 1928 to 1977, over 30 years after the coaster was sadly demolished.

Picture Courtesy of Coasterglobe.com

    George Ferris imagined, designed and eventually built the first Ferris wheel. The wheel stood 264 feet tall, higher than most in operation today.

    The very first computer was invented in 1936 by Konrad Zuse, and that was merely a calculator. That would have to mean that, the roller coasters and rides mentioned above were drawn out, built and operating long before the word computer was acknowledged. Which brings a few questions about: How did they manage without the modern technology of today?
    A roller coaster in today's up to date world is designed in many different computer programs, put together to calculate what can and cannot happen, what is thrilling and what isn't.

    The roller coasters of the golden age took a lot more than a few clicks of a mouse and half dozen cups of coffee. It took countless hours and millions of calculations (with pencil and paper, not calculators) patience, great mathematical skill, but most importantly it took vision.
    Without programs that three dimensionally render a design, you are left with your own imagination, or as some proved, things in nature. George Ferris stared at the waterwheel outside of his house for years before drawing the first plans for the biggest Ferris wheel ever created, in 1883. Fred Church designed his classic Aeroplane Coaster in 1928 based on the motion of a plane tail spinning out of control. The coaster was symmetrically perfect, with pacing that has still been untouched to this day.

Picture Courtesy of Coaster-net.com

    Trial and error also played a big role in the golden age. This term is nearly extinct in the computer era, but back then, there was no other way to test your design, than to truly test, your design. You build, you ride, and you fix mechanical errors. If a segment of the track needed more support, you added them in along the way. In today's society, such a thing is unheard of.
    Today, thanks to these technological advances, we have roller coasters beyond imagination. That is, beyond imagination, and more towards the record books. Take our very own Kingda Ka for instance. Harry Traver would have laughed for hours if you told him a roller coaster would some day exceed heights of 400 feet. And I am sure we are not done with the height barrier. We have rides that invert ten times, we have rides that break 100 mph. Almost every roller coaster built in the past ten years that isn't a clone, has held some kind of record.

    Sure, a record is wonderful to boast. But what happened to those rides that were built to ride for years and years! The rider ship on Kingda Ka will surely plummet when the record is eventually broken. No longer will Six Flags Great Adventure be able to boast two world records, and that will surely hurt its publicity. A ride like the Aeroplane Coaster, which boasted a brilliant ride, not a brilliant record, would surely please for years.
    It is amazing what guys like Harry Traver, Fred Church, and even George Ferris accomplished without any equipment necessary to build anything today. These men came up with an idea, and went for it. They didn't care about the records up for grabs, they just wanted to built a magnificent ride, that people around the world would want to come and see.

Special thanks to Coasterglobe.com and Coaster-net.com for the pictures
Inspired by an article in ACE's Rollercoaster

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