Ice Slides. It’s hard to believe that these were the predecessors to our 400 plus foot tall behemoths, but that’s where it all started. Ice Slides were first built in 17th century Russia. They entertained through the cold, harsh winter. The simple wooden structures were towers, with a long ramp of ice and snow going downwards.
The image above shows a simple ice slide. The Russian Ice Slides became very popular among Russians including Russian Royalty. Russian Ice Slides weren’t safe, the carts offered limited controls (as they were made of wood and ice) and the cars would have accidents.
Next came a French ice slide, but the ice melted in the French climate, so the French came up with a different idea. They attached wheels to carts and rolled down the hill! Still, accidents were a major issue. It was in 1817 when “Les Montagues Russes a Bellevilles” opened. It was the first ever roller coaster as it used a track for the carts. The same year “The Aerial Walk” as pictured above opened in the Heart Shaped track shown above. Next came the little train that set the stage for the coaster boom of the modern world, The Mauch Chunk Gravity Railway. Thank you for reading Part #1 of The Art of Amusement, Part #2 is coming soon!
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