Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The History Of The Bumper Car

The bumper car is an American invention. It is the generic name for a type of flat ride consisting of several small electric cars that draw their power from an overhead grid, which is turned off by the operator at the end of a session. They are also known as dodgem cars, or simply dodgems, the last name being the usual term in British English.

The metal floor is usually set up as a rectangular or oval track, and graphite is sprinkled on the floor to decrease friction. A rubber bumper surrounds each vehicle, and drivers ram each other as they travel. The controls are usually an accelerator and a steering wheel. The car can be made to go backwards by turning the steering wheel far enough in either direction, necessary in the frequent pile-ups that occur. Most carnivals and amusement parks require riders to be at least 42 inches or taller to ride and 52 inches or taller to drive the cars.

Although the idea of the ride is to bump other cars, safety-conscious (or at least litigation-conscious) owners often put up signs reading "This way round" and "No bumping".

Depending on the level of enforcement by operators, they are usually ignored by bumper car riders, especially younger children.

During their heyday (late 1920s through 1950s), the two major bumper car brands were Dodgem and the Lusse Brothers' Auto-Skooter. In the mid 1960s, Disneyland introduced hovercraft-based bumper cars called "The Flying Saucers," which worked on the same principle as an air hockey game; the ride was a mechanical failure and closed after a few years.

The current largest bumper car floor is located at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee IL, and is called the Rue Le Dodge (Rue Le Morgue during October for Fright Fest). The ride is 51 feet, 9 inches by 124 feet 9 inches or a total of 6455 square feet. An exact replica of the ride was built at California's Great America in Santa Clara CA, however in 2005 became a one way bumper car floor (as many have) adding a concrete island in the middle of the floor to promote the one way traffic. This made Rue Le Dodge at Six Flags Great America the largest floor. To find ot more go to: www.lusseautoscooters.com/history.html.

Research info gathered at: www.wikipedia.org

Now, here's a poem that bumps and grinds:

Eventually, A Horse

Or hailstorms to build split-level houses.
When both bells & birds stop. The big mouth
of a refrigerator. Or irony sitting on the
back porch. Girls with flowers to push broom.
The skinny sequoia in a newspaper. Lousy wig.
Lazy lock. A giant running backwards...

fistfuls of handy-wipes
doodles on a napkin

Trying to figure out the best way to
disguise a wish-bone.

One large alarm clock ticking
down the hole...

more sentimental rain
a self-indulgent cloud

I could donate my front door to science,
she teases, with her hand on the knob.

And you're about as natural as a freeway, I
reply, because I think the words hit & run.

You see how difficult gift-giving is?

Poem first published at: http://www.myfavoritebullet.com/
Visit my ezine: http://www.concelebratory.blogspot.com/
and music blog: http://www.medleymakersant.blogspot.com/
Copyright 2007 by Maurice Oliver. All Rights Reserved.


Anonymous said...

I really like when people are expressing their opinion and thought. So I like the way you are writing

Anonymous said...

I am reading this article second time today, you have to be more careful with content leakers. If I will fount it again I will send you a link