600 years ago, roller coaster pioneers never would have imagined the advancements that have been made to create the roller coasters of today. The tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world is the Kingda Ka, a coaster in New Jersey that launches its passengers from zero to 128 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds (most sports cars take over four seconds to get to just 60 miles per hour). It then heaves its riders skyward at a 90-degree angle (straight up) until it reaches a height of 456 feet, over one and a half football fields, above the ground, before dropping another 418 feet (Coaster Grotto "Kingda Ka"). With that said, roller coasters are about more than just speed and height, they are about the creativity of the designers that build them, each coaster having its own unique way of producing intense thrills at a lesser risk than the average car ride. Roller coasters have evolved drastically over the years, from their primitive beginnings as Russian ice slides, to the metal monsters of today. Their combination of creativity and structural elements make them one of the purest forms of architecture.
The debate over where and when the first true roller coaster was created is a debate that is sure to continue for years to come. Most will say that the first man-made creation that uses the force of gravity for pleasure dates back to Russia, somewhere around the 1400s or earlier. These "Russian Mountains" were merely ice-coated slides made with wooden framework that people would slide down in toboggans, which were often simply blocks of ice. This concept soon became contagious among Russian villages, and eventually spread to Russian royalty. Obviously, a Russian prince wouldn't be caught dead sliding down a tiny rural slide on a block of ice; they built huge slides that were up to 50 feet high, and multiple city blocks long. The "Russian Mountains" remained the biggest thing in gravity-based thrills, until the... [continues]
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(2007, 01). Roller Coasters. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 01, 2007, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Roller-Coasters-104227.html
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"Roller Coasters." StudyMode.com. 01, 2007. Accessed 01, 2007. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Roller-Coasters-104227.html.