Arrow Dynamics

Last updated
Arrow Dynamics
IndustryAmusement Rides
Predecessor Arrow Development Company Inc
Arrow Huss Inc
FounderRonald Toomer
Otis Hughes
Brent Meikle
FateBankruptcy, assets bought by S&S Arrow
Successor S&S Worldwide
Headquarters Clearfield, Utah, United States
Key people
Ron Toomer
Alan Schilke
Products Roller Coasters
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 The 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

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Roller coaster</span> Rail-based amusement park ride

A roller coaster, or rollercoaster, is a type of amusement ride that employs a form of elevated railroad track designed with tight turns, steep slopes, and sometimes inversions. Passengers 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Steel roller coaster</span> 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Roller coaster inversion</span> Roller coaster element

A roller coaster inversion is a roller coaster element in which the track turns riders upside-down and then returns them to an upright position. Early forms of inversions were circular in nature and date back to 1848 on the Centrifugal railway in Paris. These vertical loops produced massive g-force that was often dangerous to riders. 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. Elements have since evolved from simple corkscrews and vertical loops to more complex inversions such as Immelmann loops and cobra rolls. The Smiler at Alton Towers holds the world record for the number of inversions on a roller coaster with 14.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Six Flags Magic Mountain</span> Theme park in Valencia, California

Six Flags Magic Mountain, formerly known and colloquially referred to as simply Magic Mountain, is a 262-acre (106 ha) amusement park located in Valencia, California, 35 miles (56 km) northwest of downtown Los Angeles. It opened on May 29, 1971, as a development of the Newhall Land and Farming Company and Sea World Inc. In 1979, Six Flags purchased the park and added the name "Six Flags" to the park's name.

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Great American Scream Machine (Six Flags Great Adventure)</span> Defunct steel roller coaster

Great American Scream Machine was a steel roller coaster located at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, New Jersey. The 173-foot-tall (53 m) ride opened in 1989 as the tallest and fastest looping roller coaster in the world, reaching a maximum speed of 68 mph (109 km/h). It was designed by Ron Toomer and manufactured by Arrow Dynamics, which built two other coasters with similar layouts – Shockwave at Six Flags Great America and Viper at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Great American Scream Machine featured seven inversions including a batwing and double corkscrew. Records set by the ride were succeeded by Viper the following year in 1990. It operated until July 2010 and was replaced by a stand-up roller coaster, Green Lantern, in 2011.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Corkscrew (Cedar Point)</span> Steel roller coaster at Cedar Point

Corkscrew is a steel roller coaster built by Arrow Development at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, United States. 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Werner Stengel</span> Roller coaster designer and engineer

Werner Stengel is a German roller coaster designer and engineer. Stengel is the founder of Stengel Engineering, also known as Ingenieurbüro Stengel GmbH.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Bat (Kings Island; opened 1981)</span> Defunct roller coaster at Kings Island

The Bat was a suspended roller coaster located at Kings Island amusement park in Mason, Ohio. Designed by Arrow Development, it was billed as the "first of its kind" in the world when it opened to the public on April 26, 1981. The suspended coaster concept was a radical departure from traditional roller coaster design, where guests ride below the track instead of above. Previous attempts to build coasters that hang from the track were unsuccessful and date as far back as the early 20th century. Arrow solved issues by utilizing modern technology in the design, including its tubular steel track developed in 1959 for Disneyland's Matterhorn Bobsleds.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Viper (Six Flags Darien Lake)</span> Steel roller coaster at Six Flags Darien Lake

Viper is a steel roller coaster located at Six Flags Darien Lake amusement park in Darien, New York, United States. Built by the newly-formed Arrow Huss, the ride opened in 1982 as the first roller coaster in the world to feature five inversions, surpassing Carolina Cyclone at Carowinds which featured four. Viper retained the inversions record until Vortex opened at Kings Island in 1987.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Runaway Mine Train (Six Flags Over Texas)</span> Steel roller coaster

Runaway Mine Train is a steel roller coaster located in the Boomtown section of Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, Texas. Built in 1966, Runaway Mine Train is the oldest roller coaster in the park.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shockwave (Six Flags Great America)</span> Defunct roller coaster

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">D. H. Morgan Manufacturing</span> Amusement attraction 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 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Corkscrew (Silverwood)</span> Roller coaster

Corkscrew is an Arrow Development prototype Corkscrew roller coaster located at Silverwood Theme Park in Athol, Idaho. 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 to 1989. 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".

Mine train roller coaster Type of steel roller coaster

A mine train roller coaster is a steel roller coaster whose trains often depict a set of mine carts, with the forward-most car or portions of it sometimes resembling a small steam locomotive. Most mine train roller coasters are themed in the style of a mine, a Western scene, or simply a mountain range.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of the roller coaster</span>

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 to invert riders.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hybrid roller coaster</span> Category of roller coasters

A hybrid roller coaster is a category of roller coasters that is defined as having the track made out of steel, while the support structure is made from wood. Though less common, this can also be flipped around, with the track made of wood with a steel running plate, and a support structure that is made of steel. An example of this is The Voyage at Holiday World. The wooden frame-steel track design of roller coaster is mostly known to be utilized by Rocky Mountain Construction in their I-Box track design, and Arrow Dynamic's Mine Train style roller coasters.


  1. 19 December 1988 Kokomo Tribune, pg. 11; "Coaster Rolling Toward Finish"
  2. Perry, Nick (July 26, 2002). "Arrow Development- A forgotten piece of Mountain View's past". Mountain View Voice. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
  3. 1 2 O'Brien, Tim (November 30, 1998). "Pioneers share Living Legend Award". Amusement Business. 110 (48): 20.
  4. 1 2 Gurr, Bob (November 27, 2013). "DESIGN: Those Were The Times – No.23 1955 Arrow Development – Ed Morgan and Karl Bacon". MiceChat. Retrieved 2013-11-28.
  5. "Arrow Story". Archived from the original on 2002-12-06. Retrieved 2008-01-02.
  6. 1 2 O'Brien, Tim (2006). Legends: Pioneers of the Amusement Park Industry. Ripley Entertainment. pp. 224–225. ISBN   9781893951136.
  7. Seifert, Jeffrey (December 2011). "Ron Toomer 1930–2011 (Obituary)". ACE News. American Coaster Enthusiasts. 34 (2).
  8. Seifert, Jeffrey (2006). "Arrow". RollerCoaster! Magazine. 28 (4): 11–14. ISSN   0896-7261.
  9. O'Brien, Tim (August 12, 2002). "S&S moves to snap up defunct rivals". Amusement Business. 114 (32): 1, 9.
  10. O'Brien, Tim (November 4, 2002). "S&S affiliate catches Arrow". Amusement Business. 114 (44): 8.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 "Roller Coaster History Timeline". Ultimate Rollercoaster. Retrieved 2011-11-27.
  12. "Runaway Mine Train – Six Flags Over Texas". Ultimate Rollercoaster. Retrieved 2011-11-27.
  13. "Controversy and Confusion Surround Geauga Lake Auction". American Coaster Enthusiasts. Archived from the original on 7 August 2016. Retrieved 16 February 2015.