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Roller Coasters

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The French word for “roller coaster” is “montagnes russes” or “Russian mountains.” Since the origin of roller coasters, inventors have been improving the early designs that came from Russia to create astonishing amusement park thrill rides.


  • “Coaster History” by Gil Chandler, from Roller Coasters. Text copyright © 1995 by Capstone Press. Reprinted by permission of Capstone Press. Photograph copyright © 1987 by Tom Maglione. Reprinted by permission of Tom Maglione.
  • National Roller Coaster Museum and Archives. “History of the Roller Coaster.” 2013.
  • American Experience. “A Century of Screams: The History of the Roller Coaster.”
  • Pescovitz, David. "roller coaster". Encyclopedia Britannica, 28 Feb. 2023, Accessed 8 March 2023.
  • Levine, Arthur. “Ups and downs: The history of roller coasters.” USA Today. 7/28/2017.
  • Lallensack, Rachel. “14 Fun Facts About Roller Coasters.” Smithsonian. 8/16/2019.
  • Meares, Joel. “Catherine the Great Put Rollers on the World's First Coaster.” Wired. 12/27/2011.
  • Liebrenz-Himes, Marilyn. “The American Amusement Park: Its Inspiration and Evolution.” Vol. 11 (2003): The Romance of Marketing History.
  • Pursell, Carroll. “Fun Factories: Inventing American Amusement Parks.” Icon , 2013, Vol. 19, Special Issue Playing with Technology: Sports and Leisure (2013). Via JSTOR.
  • Mohun, Arwen P. “Amusement Parks for the World: The Export of American Technology and Know-How, 1900-1939.” , 2013, Vol. 19, Special Issue Playing with Technology: Sports and Leisure (2013). Via JSTOR.
  • Haynes, Christine. “The Battle of the Mountains.” Historical Reflections / Réflexions Historiques, Winter 2018, Vol. 44, No. 3 (Winter 2018). Via JSTOR.
  • Yoon, Richard. “The rise and fall and rise of the amusement park.” International Theme & Amusement Park Journal Vol. 2. No. 4. (2021).
  • Mental Floss. “The Roller Coaster's Thrilling History.” 12/16/2022.
  • Canfield, Victor. “Roller Coaster History Deduced from U.S. Patents.” 1/26/2012.
  • Princeton Graphic Arts Collection. “First Roller Coaster.”
  • King, John Glen. “A Letter to the Bishop of Durham, containing some Observations on the Climate of Russia, and the Northern Countries, with a View of the Flying Mountains at Zarsko Sello, near St. Petersburg.” 1780.
  • Louis Post Dispatch. St. Louis, Missouri · Saturday, September 29, 1883
  • “Roller Coasting.” Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois · Sunday, September 30, 1883
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