Last updated
Industry Manufacturing
Founded1888 (1888)
FounderJoseph Giovanola
Defunct2004 (2004)
Area served
Products Amusement rides, roller coasters

Giovanola Frères SA was a prominent steel manufacturing company based in Monthey, Switzerland. It was known for building electrical power stations, water storage tanks, pipelines, boilers, highway bridges, submarines, ski lifts and many other steel products. The company started out as a small metal forging shop, founded by Joseph Giovanola in 1888. Joseph Sr. died in 1904, and the company was taken over by his sons, the eldest of which, Joseph Jr., was just 17 years of age. By 1930 the company had grown to the point that it required a new factory which was constructed in Monthey. [1]


Giovanola built several submarines: the Auguste Piccard, the Ben Franklin and the F.-A. Forel. [2]

Amusement Rides

In the 1980s Giovanola entered the ride market serving as a subcontractor to Intamin, providing structural steel and parts for its roller coasters and other rides such as swinging ships. [3] Giovanola also fabricated entire rides such as the FreeFall which was also marketed by Intamin.

In the mid-1980s two Giovanola engineers, Claude Mabillard and Walter Bolliger, developed a new type of roller coaster track system utilizing a box beam spine. The new-style track first made its appearance on a production-model coaster sold by Intamin as a Space Diver. However, only one was sold to Six Flags Great America. It opened in 1985 as Z-Force. A year later Shockwave at Six Flags Magic Mountain, a stand-up coaster, opened utilizing the same box-beam track. [4] In 1987 Bolliger and Mabillard left the company and founded their own business, Bolliger & Mabillard. [3]

In 1998 Giovanola Amusement Rides Worldwide (GARW) was founded to sell amusement rides built by Giovanola Frères SA. Both companies were based in Monthey, Switzerland. The company remained in business for three years and sold three roller coasters: Goliath at Six Flags Magic Mountain, [5] Titan at Six Flags Over Texas and Anaconda at South Africa's Gold Reef City.

GARW filed for bankruptcy protection in 2001 after the completion of Titan at Six Flags Over Texas which ended the roller-coaster-building business. In 2000 a hydraulic penstock at the Bieudron Hydroelectric Power Station, which was manufactured by Giovanola Frères, failed, rendering the power station inoperative. That incident caused more financial problems for the already weakened company. In 2003-2004 the company filed for bankruptcy and ceased operation. [1] The factory was purchased by the municipality of Monthey and is currently managed by Gessimo, which sub-leases the space to multiple tenants. [6]

List of roller coasters

Giovanola is credited with building three roller coasters independently. [7] Giovanola served as the subcontractor on 22 roller coasters around the world. [7]

Anaconda Inverted Coaster Gold Reef City Flag of South Africa.svg South Africa1999Operating [8]
Goliath Hyper Coaster Six Flags Magic Mountain Flag of the United States.svg United States2000Operating [9]
Titan Hyper Coaster Six Flags Over Texas Flag of the United States.svg United States2001Operating [10]


Giovanola manufactured ropeways and ski lifts from 1949 until the 1970s. [11] The company is known for producing the Giovanola gravity clamp, a type of detachable grip, which was used on the company's own gondola lifts, as well as being licensed to many other manufacturers of the era, including Habegger, Von Roll, WSO Städeli, Hall, and Skirail. [11] As the gravity clamp does not meet modern safety standards, European law requires all systems in Europe built with this design to cease operations by 2025. As a result, these gondola lifts are becoming increasingly rare. [12]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Inverted roller coaster</span> Roller coaster with fixed trains running below the track

An inverted roller coaster is a roller coaster in which the train runs under the track with the seats directly attached to the wheel carriage. This latter attribute is what sets it apart from the older suspended coaster, which runs under the track, but swings via a pivoting bar attached to the wheel carriage. The coaster type's inverted orientation, where the passengers' legs are exposed, distinguishes it from a traditional roller coaster, where only the passengers' upper body parts, including the arms, are exposed.

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

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bolliger & Mabillard</span> Swiss roller coaster manufacturer

Bolliger & Mabillard, officially Bolliger & Mabillard Consulting Engineers, Inc. and often abbreviated B&M, is a roller coaster design consultancy based in Monthey, Switzerland. The company was founded in 1988 by engineers Walter Bolliger and Claude Mabillard, both of whom had worked for Giovanola.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Floorless Coaster</span> Type of roller coaster

A Floorless Coaster is a type of steel roller coaster manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard where riders sit with no floor underneath them, allowing their feet to swing freely just above the track. Development of the Floorless Coaster model began between 1995 and 1996 with Medusa at Six Flags Great Adventure opening on April 2, 1999, making it the world's first Floorless Coaster. Floorless Coasters also tend to have 3 to 7 inversions incorporated in the layout of the coaster.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Intamin</span> Swiss design and manufacturing company

Intamin Amusement Rides is a design and manufacturing company in Schaan, Liechtenstein. It is best known for creating thrill rides and roller coasters worldwide. The Intamin brand name is a syllabic abbreviation for "international amusement installations". The company has offices throughout the world, including three in Europe, three in Asia, and two in the United States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Batman: The Ride</span> Roller coasters at seven Six Flags parks

Batman: The Ride is an inverted roller coaster based on the DC Comics character Batman and found at seven Six Flags theme parks in the United States. Built by consulting engineers Bolliger & Mabillard, it rises to a height of between 100 and 105 feet and reaches top speeds of 50 mph (80 km/h). The original roller coaster at Six Flags Great America was partially devised by the park's general manager Jim Wintrode. Batman: The Ride was the world's first inverted roller coaster when it opened in 1992, and has since been awarded Coaster Landmark status by the American Coaster Enthusiasts. Clones of the ride exist at amusement parks around the world.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hypercoaster</span> Height class for roller coasters

A hypercoaster can mean one of two things:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Green Lantern (Six Flags Great Adventure)</span> Steel roller coaster

Green Lantern, formerly known as Chang, is a stand-up roller coaster located at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, New Jersey. Green Lantern stands 155 feet (47 m) tall and features a top speed of 63 miles per hour (101 km/h). The 4,155-foot-long (1,266 m) ride features five inversions and a duration of approximately 212 minutes. This steel coaster was designed and built by Swiss manufacturer Bolliger & Mabillard.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Riddler's Revenge</span> Stand-up roller coaster

The Riddler's Revenge is a steel stand-up roller coaster located at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard, the ride opened as the park's eleventh roller coaster on April 4, 1998, setting multiple world records among stand-up coasters. Originally located in the Movie District section of the park, which later became Metropolis in 2017, The Riddler's Revenge was also the park's single biggest investment at a cost of $14 million. It features a height of 156 feet (48 m), a maximum speed of 65 mph (105 km/h), six inversions, and a track length of 4,370 feet (1,330 m).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Psyclone (roller coaster)</span> Defunct roller coaster

Psyclone was a wooden roller coaster located at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Santa Clarita, California. Designed by Curtis D. Summers and constructed by the Dinn Corporation, the roller coaster opened to the public on March 23, 1991. Psyclone's design was modeled after the well-known Coney Island Cyclone roller coaster, a historical landmark located at Coney Island in New York City. It featured eleven hills, five high-speed banked turns, and a 183-foot-long (56 m) dark tunnel. Bolliger & Mabillard, a company that builds steel roller coasters, manufactured the trains for Psyclone.

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

Firebird is a floorless roller coaster located at Six Flags America in Prince George's County, Maryland. The roller coaster had originally debuted in 1990 as a stand-up roller coaster named Iron Wolf at Six Flags Great America. It was later relocated to Six Flags America in 2012 and renamed Apocalypse, under which it operated until 2018.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fourth-dimension roller coaster</span> Type of steel roller coaster

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Giant Inverted Boomerang</span> Steel roller coaster

A Giant Inverted Boomerang is a type of steel shuttle roller coaster manufactured by the Dutch firm Vekoma. The ride is a larger, inverted version of Vekoma's popular Boomerang sit down roller coasters. As of May 2023, four installations of the model are operating, with another one under construction.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Flashback (Six Flags Magic Mountain)</span> Defunct roller coaster

Flashback was a steel roller coaster made by Intamin of Switzerland. The coaster was located in the Six Flags Plaza area of Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California. The model of the ride, a Space Diver coaster, was intended to be mass-produced, however, Flashback was the only installation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dive Coaster</span> Roller coaster model

The Dive Coaster is a steel roller coaster model developed and engineered by Bolliger & Mabillard. The design features one or more near-vertical drops that are approximately 90 degrees, which provide a moment of free-falling for passengers. The experience is enhanced by unique trains that seat up to ten riders per row, spanning only two or three rows total. Unlike traditional train design, this distinguishing aspect gives all passengers virtually the same experience throughout the course of the ride. Another defining characteristic of Dive Coasters is the holding brake at the top of the lift hill that holds the train momentarily right as it enters the first drop, suspending some passengers with a view looking straight down and releasing suddenly moments later.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Goliath (Six Flags Fiesta Texas)</span> Steel inverted roller coaster

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wing Coaster</span> Type of roller coaster

Wing Coaster is engineering firm Bolliger & Mabillard’s designation for its winged roller coaster designs. Winged roller coasters are a type of steel roller coaster where pairs of riders sit on either side of a roller coaster track in which nothing is above or below the riders. B&M began development on the first Wing Coaster between 2007 and 2008 leading to the opening of Raptor at Gardaland on 1 April 2011. There were sixteen B&M-designed Wing Coasters either under construction or operating worldwide as of December 2020.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Goliath (Six Flags New England)</span> Steel shuttle roller coaster

Goliath was a steel shuttle roller coaster located at Six Flags New England in Agawam, Massachusetts. Manufactured by Vekoma, the ride originally opened as Déjà Vu at Six Flags Magic Mountain in 2001. The ride was a larger, inverted version of Vekoma's popular Boomerang sit-down roller coasters. In 2021, the park removed the ride from its map indicating it would not reopen for the remainder of the season. In late 2021, demolition of the coaster began.


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  2. Dubuis, Etienne (10 June 2011). "A la découverte du Léman". Le Temps (in French). Geneva . Retrieved 2014-11-01.
  3. 1 2 "GIOVANOLA: THE MISSING LINK BETWEEN B&M AND INTAMIN" (in French). 7 March 2018. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  4. Marden, Duane. "Shockwave  (Six Flags Magic Mountain)". Roller Coaster DataBase . Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  5. "Six Flags - Goliath
  6. "Site industriel et artisanal" . Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  7. 1 2 Giovanola -
  8. Marden, Duane. "Anaconda  (Gold Reef City)". Roller Coaster DataBase . Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  9. Marden, Duane. "Goliath  (Six Flags Magic Mountain)". Roller Coaster DataBase . Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  10. Marden, Duane. "Titan  (Six Flags Over Texas)". Roller Coaster DataBase . Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  11. 1 2 "Giovanola". (in French). Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  12. "Giovanola-Dernière? Seilbahn Les Marécottes - La Creusaz". YouTube (in German). Seilbahn TV. 19 January 2020. Archived from the original on 2021-12-13. Retrieved 14 September 2020.