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Roller Coaster History
The ride's origins were the Russian Ice slides in the middle of the 1600's. Ice Slides were wooden structures covered with ice.They were between 70 and 80 ft high.
In the early 1800's, the French built ramps with rollers. It was something like a conveyor belt in a factory. They used sleds to go down them.
In 1817 in France they first put wheels on the sleds which made two coasters called the Les Montagues Russes a Belleville (The Russian Mountains of Belleville) and the Promenades Aeriennes (The aerial Walk) which the both featured cars that locked into the track in some
Switchback Railway way.
Bellevilles ride was the first ride to lock the cars by having the axles slide into a groove cut into the track.
When the rides came more popular quickly the new ideas followed. Soon the sleds were being locked into tracks for their downhill runs. Rides like this appeared in the U.S.A.
In 1884 the first modern roller coaster called the Switchback Railway was built. It was built by LaMarcus A. Thompson at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York. This roller coaster had two side by side tracks. Passengers climbed to the top of a platform to reach the cars and traveled 600 feet downward . The top speed was 6 miles per hour. Thompson' s coaster was a huge success. The ride costed 5 cents per passenger.