Arrow Dynamics

Last updated
Arrow Dynamics
IndustryAmusement Rides
FateBankruptcy, assets bought by S&S Arrow
Predecessor Arrow Development Company Inc
Arrow Huss Inc
Successor S&S Worldwide
FounderRonald Toomer
Otis Hughes
Brent Meikle
Headquarters Clearfield, Utah, United States
Key people
Ron Toomer
Alan Schilke
Products Roller Coasters
Website   OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
Arrow Dynamics logo (1986-2000) ArrowDynamics.png
Arrow Dynamics logo (1986–2000)

Arrow Dynamics was an American manufacturing and engineering company that specialized in designing and building amusement park rides, especially roller coasters. Based in Clearfield, Utah, the company was the successor to Arrow Development (1946–1981) and Arrow Huss (1981–1986), which were responsible for several influential advancements in the amusement and theme park industries. Among the most significant was tubular steel track, which provided a smoother ride than the railroad style rails commonly used prior to the 1960s on wooden roller coasters. The Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland, built in 1959, was Arrow's first roller coaster project.


In 1975, Arrow Development introduced the first corkscrew style track Corkscrew, at Knott's Berry Farm that sent riders through a series of corkscrews. Arrow created several other "firsts" over the years, introducing the first suspended roller coaster in almost a century, The Bat, in 1981, and the world's first "hypercoaster", Magnum XL-200, which opened in 1989. They built the first 4th Dimension roller coaster, X2, which was designed by Alan Schilke in 2002.

Arrow Development's ownership changed three times between the 1950s and 1980s. Arrow Dynamics would eventually survive two bankruptcies and spin off a sister company, Fabriweld, primarily to build track, [1] by 1988. Arrow Dynamics eventually closed on December 3, 2001. S&S Worldwide purchased part of Arrow's remaining assets on October 28, 2002, and the remainder of the company was dissolved. In 2012, Sansei Yusoki Co. of Osaka, Japan, acquired a 77.3% interest in S&S - Arrow.



Arrow Dynamic's forerunner, Arrow Development, was founded in 1946 when Ed Morgan, Karl Bacon, Bill Hardiman, and Angus "Andy" Anderson, started a machine shop in Mountain View, California. [2] They started out selling used machine tools, building truck parts and repairing cars until about 1950 when they built their first merry-go-rounds for San Jose's Alum Rock Park. [3]

In 1953, they contacted Walt Disney, who was just beginning to plan a new type of amusement park in California. [4] Disney hired the company to help design and build the vehicles for Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. They would eventually design and build the ride systems for many of Disneyland's original and early rides, including Mad Tea Party, King Arthur Carrousel, Casey Jr. Circus Train, and Snow White's Scary Adventures. [3] Disney continued to use Arrow as Disneyland expanded. Arrow designed and built Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Autopia, and Alice in Wonderland in coming years as well as upgrading and renovating the King Arthur Carrousel. [4]

Roller coaster manufacturing

Matterhorn Bobsleds, the first Arrow Development roller coaster. MatterhornBobsled77 crwb.jpg
Matterhorn Bobsleds, the first Arrow Development roller coaster.

In 1959, Arrow Development designed what was to be their first of many roller coasters, the Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Built in conjunction with WED Imagineering, [5] the ride was the first modern tubular steel tracked roller coaster.

After construction of the Matterhorn, Disney bought a third of Arrow Development in an effort to keep them viable and at least partially in-house. Arrow had already developed rides for other customers, and had orders for more, so they moved into a larger plant in Mountain View. At the new location, Arrow developed vehicles, flumes and tracks for It's a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, Adventure Thru Inner Space, and the Haunted Mansion.

Arrow developed the modern log flume ride, eventually installing over 50 around the world, beginning with El Aserradero at Six Flags Over Texas in 1963. In the 1970s, the company perfected and brought back the looping roller coaster.

In 1975, Arrow installed one of the most important rides of its time, Corkscrew, which made its debut at Knott's Berry Farm as the world's first modern inverting coaster. Arrow made hundreds of coasters throughout the decades, including 17 Corkscrew-style coasters, 16 "runaway mine train" coasters like Cedar Creek Mine Ride and Adventure Express, custom-designed coasters like Loch Ness Monster, and Carolina Cyclone.

Some of Arrow Development's later projects included what were at the time the world's tallest roller coasters, such as Magnum XL-200 at Cedar Point in 1989, and Pepsi Max Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in 1994.

Reorganizations and bankruptcy

Arrow Huss logo (1981-1985) Arrow Huss Logo.jpg
Arrow Huss logo (1981–1985)

In 1971, Karl Bacon, Ed Morgan and Walter Schulze sold Arrow Development to Rio Grande Industries. At the time, Penn Central owned Six Flags and Rio Grande had plans to build theme parks of their own, purchasing Frontier Village in 1973. [6] :224 In the late 1970s, Arrow began teaching Vekoma how to build tubular track in their native Holland, and in return Vekoma became Arrow's European distributor. Rio Grande sold Arrow to the German manufacturing firm Huss Maschinenfabrik in 1981. The merger formed Arrow Huss. Dana Morgan, the son of Ed Morgan, was appointed the company's president, and Ron Toomer was made vice president and manager of engineering. Dana would leave the company and form Morgan Manufacturing in 1983. Although Arrow's coasters continued to sell well, Arrow Huss struggled financially, partially due to heavily investing in the Darien Lake theme park in New York, and the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition in New Orleans. [6] :225 Arrow Huss filed for bankruptcy in 1985, and 13 of the company's American officers negotiated a buyout. In 1986, the takeover was approved by the courts and the company re-emerged as Arrow Dynamics. Toomer served as president until 1993, Chairman of the Board until 1995, and as a consulting director until his retirement in 1998. [7]

In the late 1990s, Arrow Dynamic's bookings steadily decreased, with few installations toward the end of the decade. Despite attempts to keep up by implementing more updated design techniques, Arrow still found itself struggling to compete. Other manufacturers such as Bolliger & Mabillard and Intamin began to dominate the industry. [8]

Design and manufacturing costs for new, larger ride systems were increasing and competition grew. Bankruptcy loomed once again just as Arrow introduced the X (subsequently known as X2) at Six Flags Magic Mountain, a 4th dimension roller coaster designed by Alan Schilke. X opened to massive media attention and received an initially positive reception;[ citation needed ] however, several mechanical problems caused the ride to be closed for repairs during much of its first year of operation.

The company filed for bankruptcy again on December 3, 2001. At the end of October 2002, the remaining assets were sold to S&S Worldwide, a limited liability company related to amusement ride manufacturer, forming S&S Arrow. [9] [10] In November 2012, Sansei Yusoki Co., Ltd., of Osaka, Japan, acquired a 77.3% interest in S&S.


Magnum XL-200, the first roller coaster in the world to pass the 200 ft mark. Magnum1 CP.JPG
Magnum XL-200, the first roller coaster in the world to pass the 200 ft mark.

See also

Related Research Articles

Roller coaster Ride developed for amusement parks

A roller coaster is a type of amusement ride that employs a form of elevated railroad track designed with tight turns, steep slopes, and sometimes inversions. People ride along the track in open cars, and the rides are often found in amusement parks and theme parks around the world. LaMarcus Adna Thompson obtained one of the first known patents for a roller coaster design in 1885, related to the Switchback Railway that opened a year earlier at Coney Island. The track in a coaster design does not necessarily have to be a complete circuit, as shuttle roller coasters demonstrate. Most roller coasters have multiple cars in which passengers sit and are restrained. Two or more cars hooked together are called a train. Some roller coasters, notably Wild Mouse roller coasters, run with single cars.

Steel roller coaster type of roller coaster that is defined by having a track made of steel

A steel roller coaster is a roller coaster that is defined by having a track made of steel. Steel coasters have earned immense popularity in the past 50 years throughout the world. Incorporating tubular steel track and polyurethane-coated wheels, the steel roller coasters can provide a taller, smoother, and faster ride with more inversions than a traditional wooden roller coaster.

Roller coaster inversion Section of inverted track on a roller coaster

A roller coaster inversion is a roller coaster element in which the track turns riders upside-down and then returns them an upright position. Early forms of inversions, dating as far back as 1848 on the Centrifugal Railway in Paris, were vertical loops that were circular in nature. They produced massive g-force that was often dangerous to riders, and as a result, the element eventually became non-existent with the last rides to feature the looping inversions being dismantled during the Great Depression. In 1975, designers from Arrow Development created the corkscrew, reviving interest in the inversion during the modern age of steel roller coasters. Since then, the elements have evolved from simple corkscrews and vertical loops to more complex inversions such as Immelmann loops and cobra rolls. Featuring fourteen inversions, The Smiler at Alton Towers holds the world record for the number of inversions on a roller coaster.

Stand-up roller coaster type of roller coaster

A stand-up roller coaster is a roller coaster designed to have the passengers stand through the course of the ride.

Arrow Development was an amusement park ride and roller coaster design and manufacturing company, incorporated in California on November 16, 1945, and based in Mountain View. Arrow was founded by Angus "Andy" Anderson, Karl Bacon, William Hardiman and Edgar Morgan. Originally located at 243 Moffett Boulevard, they relocated to a larger facility at 1555 Plymouth Street after Walt Disney Productions purchased one third of Arrow in 1960. They also had offices at 820 Huff Avenue.

Ronald Valentine Toomer was an American roller coaster designer credited for designing 93 roller coasters around the world. He graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1961 with a degree in mechanical engineering and was a part of the design team responsible for the Apollo spacecraft heat shield.

Great American Scream Machine (Six Flags Great Adventure) Defunct roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure

Great American Scream Machine was a steel roller coaster located at Six Flags Great Adventure. The 173-foot tall ride was built in 1989 as the fastest looping roller coaster in the world, reaching speeds up to 68 mph. It was designed by Ron Toomer and built by Arrow Dynamics, which built its sister coasters Shockwave at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois and Viper at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California. All three coasters have three loops after the lift hill, a batwing, and a double corkscrew. Scream Machine succeeded its sister coaster Shockwave as the tallest and fastest looping coaster in the world, but relinquished the claim to its other sister coaster Viper. Both Shockwave and Scream Machine only held the claim for one year. Although a roller coaster of the same name exists at Six Flags Over Georgia, that ride is an out and back wooden roller coaster.

Corkscrew (Cedar Point) steel roller coaster at Cedar Point

Corkscrew is a steel roller coaster built by Arrow Development at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, United States. When built in 1976, it was the first roller coaster in the world with 3 inversions. The coaster, which features Arrow's first vertical loop, was built during the same time period as The Great American Revolution at Magic Mountain. However, Revolution opened seven days prior and is therefore credited as the first modern-day coaster to feature a vertical loop.

Viper (Six Flags Magic Mountain) steel roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California

Viper is a steel roller coaster located in the Baja Ridge area of Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California. Viper is the last operating roller coaster with seven inversions to be built by American manufacturer Arrow Dynamics. The other two, Shockwave at Six Flags Great America and the Great American Scream Machine at Six Flags Great Adventure, were demolished in 2002 and 2010, respectively. The roller coaster replaced a HUSS ride type named Condor.

The Bat (Kings Island; opened 1981) amusement ride

The Bat was a suspended roller coaster located at Kings Island amusement park in Mason, Ohio. Designed by Arrow Development, the ride was billed as the first and only suspended roller coaster in the world when it opened to the public on April 26, 1981. The model took several years to develop and was considered a prototype by Arrow. Though the ride was very popular, it was plagued with mechanical problems and frequent closures that led to a short lifespan. The ride was permanently closed in 1983 after only three seasons and removed from the park in April 1985.

Viper (Six Flags Darien Lake) steel looping roller coaster at Six Flags Darien Lake

Viper is a steel looping roller coaster located at Six Flags Darien Lake Amusement Park near Buffalo, New York. This was the first large ride at the park and the first roller coaster of its type anywhere in the world to have five inversions. The ride was built by the newly merged Arrow Huss. It opened in 1982. The coaster opened with the potential of running three trains at once, but only one or two trains are necessary for maintaining a steady operation of the coaster. The coaster's trains include seven cars; riders are two across with two rows in each car. The track was originally all black, but it was repainted to a green track with black supports when Six Flags took over Darien Lake. In 2010, Darien Lake repainted the Viper all black again.

Phantoms Revenge amusement ride

Phantom's Revenge is a steel roller coaster at Kennywood amusement park in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania. When it opened as Steel Phantom in 1991, it featured the fastest speed and longest drop of any roller coaster in the world. The ride was originally manufactured by Arrow Dynamics but was later modified and renovated by D.H. Morgan Manufacturing prior to the 2001 season, when it reopened as Phantom’s Revenge. The changes included an increased drop and track length, as well as the removal of its four inversions. It features a unique characteristic of having a second drop that is longer than its first.

Runaway Mine Train (Six Flags Over Texas) Roller coaster at Six Flags Over Texas

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Shockwave (Six Flags Great America) Roller coaster at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois

Shockwave was a roller coaster manufactured by Arrow Dynamics at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois. Standing 170 feet (52 m) tall and reaching speeds of 65 miles per hour (105 km/h), it opened in 1988 as the world's tallest and fastest looping roller coaster with a record-breaking seven inversions: three vertical loops, a boomerang, and two regular corkscrews. Shockwave was closed in 2002 and has been dismantled.

D. H. Morgan Manufacturing defunct American manufacturer

D. H. Morgan Manufacturing, later simply known as Morgan, was a manufacturer of roller coaster trains, custom amusement rides, roller coasters, children's rides and other amusement devices. Founded in 1983, the company was originally headquartered in Scotts Valley, California. In 1991, the company moved to La Selva Beach, California and into a new 55,000 square-foot indoor manufacturing facility that also featured an acre of outdoor space. That facility was later increased to 75,000 square feet. The company produced a variety of rides from 1983 until 2001, but is probably best known for its steel hyper coasters.

Tennessee Tornado roller coaster at Dollywood

The Tennessee Tornado is a roller coaster at Dollywood amusement park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, United States. It debuted April 17, 1999, and was Dollywood's first major coaster expansion as well as one of Arrow Dynamics' last major coasters. The ride opened in a valley location previously occupied by Thunder Express, an Arrow Dynamics Runaway Mine Train roller coaster relocated from Six Flags St. Louis in 1989 and opened in 2002 at Magic Springs and Crystal Falls.

Corkscrew (Silverwood) roller coaster at Silverwood

Corkscrew is an Arrow Development prototype Corkscrew roller coaster located at Silverwood Theme Park. Ten exact replicas of this same design were produced 1975–1979 at other scattered parks, followed by numerous other installations around the world featuring updated supports. After being sold as the prototype, this corkscrew originally operated at Knott's Berry Farm from 1975–89. Developed by Ron Toomer of Arrow Dynamics, a Utah-based design firm, the "Corkscrew" was the first modern steel inverting roller coaster open to the public, with identical models opening at three other parks days later.

Roller coaster elements are the individual parts of roller coaster design and operation, such as a track, hill, loop, or turn. Variations in normal track movement that add thrill or excitement to the ride are often called "thrill elements".

History of the roller coaster aspect of history

Roller coaster amusement rides have origins back to ice slides constructed in 18th-century Russia. Early technology featured sleds or wheeled carts that were sent down hills of snow reinforced by wooden supports. The technology evolved in the 19th century to feature railroad track using wheeled cars that were securely locked to the track. Newer innovations emerged in the early 20th century with side friction and underfriction technologies to allow for greater speeds and sharper turns. By the mid-to-late 20th century, these elements intensified with the introduction of steel roller coaster designs and the ability for them to invert riders.


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