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Transcript of Edwin Prescott
Edwin Prescott died in December of 1931 at 90, most likely of old age.
The Loop the Loop concept was revived and improved in the 1970s. At today’s massive theme parks, the modern definition of excitement requires having numerous loops through which whole trainloads of screaming passengers can be somersaulted at high speed. A trip to an amusement park should remind us of the mastermind who created the Centrifugal Railway.
The roller coaster was designed by Edward A. Green and manufactured by Prescott. Edwin Prescott's Loop the Loop was built at West 10th Street, Coney Island in 1901. The ride showcased engineering that greatly improved on the Flip Flap roller coaster. The track was made of steel, the loop was larger, but most importantly it was an ellipse which provided a safe ride. The Loop the Loop limped along until World War One, making money by charging people admission to the viewing area. Without consistent revenue, the ride barely survived. Many more paid to watch than to ride and the coaster faded into bankruptcy. Loop the Loop was one of the first looping roller coasters when it first opened.
The public didn't want to ride the roller coaster because the first looping ride caused severe neck injuries. But Edwin Prescott's “Centrifugal Railway” (later named the Loop the Loop) was one of the most colorful rides at Coney Island. His 1898 version called for a circular loop, but the desired shape placed too much strain on the bodies of riders. Prescott improved upon his original design by patenting his elliptical-loop design in 1901. Investors soon followed.
On August 16th, 1898, the roller coaster is patented by Edwin Prescott. He called it the Centrifugal Railway. In his 1987 history of the roller coaster, The Incredible Scream Machine, author Robert Cartmell wrote: “There were no harnesses like today’s rides, yet the Loop the Loop claimed an amazing safety record. The cars had rubber wheels, carried four passengers, and used only centrifugal force to remain on the tracks, nothing else! Many advertisements claimed a glass of water on the Loop the Loop’s seats made the trip without spilling a drop."
Constructor of the Loop the Loop Roller coaster
Edwin Prescott was born into a wealthy farming family in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire. His father died when he was 12 years old. Prescott could only attend winter terms at local schools. Edwin Prescott was self-educated about mechanics and increased his learning by attending evening business classes at Comer's Commercial college in Boston.
Prescott invented many things, one of them being "door hangers" which helped smooth the operation of sliding pocket doors. When he was very successful with this product, in 1880, Prescott moved to Arlington with his wife and three children. He started working on the Arlington school committee. He invented many things from the dough kneader and mixer, wagon jacks, to cattle stanchions and handles for operating window blends. Finally, in 1898, he invented the Loop the Loop which claimed the amazing safety record.
The problem with the roller coaster was that it could only hold four people every five minutes (per ride).