The University of Wisconsin Press

Popular Culture / American Studies


The Incredible Scream Machine
A History of the Roller Coaster
Robert Cartmell

Popular Press

"A good roller coaster is better than sex."—Michael Quinn, Letters to the Editor, Oui magazine, January 1978

In 1984 America celebrated the one hundredth anniversary of the first successful roller coaster device—La Marcus A. Thompson's switchback railway—erected at Coney Island. Although more than a century has gone by, the literature of the amusement park and its history is still in its infancy. Robert Cartmell examines every phase of roller coaster history, from the use of the roller coaster by Albert Einstein to demonstrate his theory of physics, to John Allen's use of psychology in designing one.

Robert Cartmell is professor in drawing and printmaking at the State University of New York at Albany. For America's Bicentennial in 1976 he initiated and organized an exhibit of the complete history of the roller coaster titled Coast to Coast Coasters. The exhibit, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution, toured the United States for two years.

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Cover of book is white with red writing and a black and white photo of a roller coaster.

LC: 87-070175 GV
258 p
p.   8 1/2 x 11
ISBN-10: 0-87972-342-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-87972-342-2
Paper $34.95 s

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Updated November 2, 2009

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