New coupling for roller coasters
Frederick Church patented a new type of roller coaster train with articulated couplings and flanged wheels in the 1920’s. The cars were two-seaters and reminded the riders of a bobsled operation. Connections were made by coupling each car with a ball and socket joint, allowing the cars to negotiate curves with tighter radiuses. The new type of car fits perfectly on a more twisted track plan, which developed into the Bobs style roller coaster. Originated in Venice and Ocean Park, California, the generic Bobs ride soon spread across the United States with installations in New Orleans, Detroit, Chicago, Revere Beach, Savin Rock, Peewaukee, Toledo, Sandusky and San Diego. The photograph from a train of the Revere Beach Cyclone clearly identifies the flanged railroad type wheel. Which eliminated the need for a side friction wheel, still used today.
The last remaining original Prior and Church cars still operate on the Roller Coaster at the Western Washington Fair in Puyallup, Washington.