John C. Allen

Last updated
John C. Allen
Born(1907-05-21)May 21, 1907
DiedAugust 17, 1979(1979-08-17) (aged 72)
OccupationRoller coaster designer
Years active1934–1979
Known for Philadelphia Toboggan Company manufacturers

John C. Allen (May 21, 1907 – August 17, 1979) was a roller coaster designer who was responsible for the revival of wooden roller coasters which began in the 1960s. He attended Drexel University. He started working for the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1934 as a coaster operator and rose to become president of the company by 1954. [1] He has designed more than 25 coasters and made significant contributions to roller coaster technology. [2] He once said, "You don't need a degree in engineering to design roller coasters, you need a degree in psychology." [3]


List of roller coasters

The following is a list of roller coasters were credited as designed by John C. Allen:

Nightmare Joyland 1949Demolished
Jet Flyer/Sea Dragon Gooding Zoo Park/Wyandot Lake/Jungle Jack's Landing/Adventure Cove) 1956Operating
Valley Volcano Angela Park 1956Demolished
FlyerDinosaur Beach1957Demolished
Ghost Town Jet / Mighty Lightnin' / Comet Rocky Glen Park 1959Demolished
Skyliner Lakemont Park 1960Operating
Golden Nugget Mine/Black Diamond Knoebels Amusement Resort 1960Operating
Tornado Wedgewood Village 1961Demolished
Starliner Miracle Strip/Cypress Gardens 1963Demolished
Blue Streak Cedar Point 1964Operating
Jeatstream Riverview Park 1964Demolished
Mr. Twister Elitch Gardens 1965Demolished
SkylinerFair Park1965Demolished
Swamp Fox Grand Strand Park/Family Kingdom 1966Operating
Cannon Ball Lake Winnepesaukah 1967Operating
Shooting Star Lakeside Park 1968Demolished
Zingo Bell's Amusement Park 1968Demolished
TornadoPetticoat Junction1970Demolished
The Racer Kings Island 1972Operating
Woodstock Express Kings Island 1972Operating
Great American Scream Machine Six Flags Over Georgia 1973Operating
CometFunway Amusement Park1973Demolished
Woodstock Express Kings Dominion 1974Operating
Rebel Yell/Racer 75 Kings Dominion 1975Operating
Woodstock Express Carowinds 1975Operating
Screamin' Eagle Six Flags St. Louis 1976Operating

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.

Wooden roller coaster Type of roller coaster

A wooden roller coaster is a type of roller coaster classified by its wooden track, which consists of running rails made of flat steel strips mounted on laminated wood. The support structure is also typically made of wood, but may also be made of steel lattice or truss, which has no bearing on a wooden coaster's classification. The type of wood often selected in the construction of wooden coasters worldwide is southern yellow pine, which grows abundantly in the southern United States, due to its density and adherence to different forms of pressure treatment.

Vertical loop Roller coaster inversion

The generic roller coaster vertical loop, where a section of track causes the riders to complete a 360 degree turn, is the most basic of roller coaster inversions. At the top of the loop, riders are completely inverted.

The Beast (roller coaster) Wooden roller coaster at Kings Island

The Beast is a wooden roller coaster located at Kings Island amusement park in Mason, Ohio. Designed and manufactured in-house for $3.2 million, the ride opened in 1979 as the tallest, fastest, and longest wooden roller coaster in the world. Decades later, it is still the longest, spanning 7,361 feet (2,244 m) across 35 acres (14 ha) of hilly terrain. Two lift hills contribute to the ride's duration of more than four minutes, which also ranks as one of the longest among roller coasters. A refurbishment in 2022 increased the angle of the first drop and lengthened the ride by 2 feet (0.61 m).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Son of Beast</span> Defunct wooden roller coaster

Son of Beast was a record-breaking wooden roller coaster located at Kings Island in Mason, Ohio, United States. Built and designed by the now-defunct Roller Coaster Corporation of America, it opened to the public on April 28, 2000, as the tallest and fastest wooden coaster in the world, neither of which have been surpassed in the years since its closure. It became the first wooden hypercoaster – a height class of 200 feet (61 m) or more – with its record-setting height of 218 feet (66 m). The coaster was also the first in the modern era to feature a vertical loop and reached a maximum speed of 78 mph (126 km/h). Son of Beast was themed as a sequel to one of the park's other signature attractions, The Beast.

Twisted Colossus Roller coaster at Magic Mountain

Twisted Colossus is a steel roller coaster located at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California. Originally designed and built by International Amusement Devices, the roller coaster opened as Colossus, a dual-tracked roller coaster, on June 29, 1978. It was the tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster in the world and the first with two drops greater than 100 feet (30 m). Colossus became well known after appearances in film and television, including the box-office hit National Lampoon's Vacation and the made-for-TV movie Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park. For 19 years, it has been the park's main attraction until the opening of Superman: The Escape.

Blue Streak (Cedar Point) Wooden roller coaster

Blue Streak is a wooden roller coaster located at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. Built by Philadelphia Toboggan Company, Blue Streak opened to the public on May 23, 1964, and is the park's oldest operating roller coaster. In 2013, it achieved its highest ranking of 27th among the world's top wooden roller coasters in the annual Golden Ticket Awards publication by Amusement Today.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">American Eagle (roller coaster)</span> Wooden racing roller coaster

American Eagle is a wooden racing roller coaster located at Six Flags Great America theme park in Gurnee, Illinois. It was the first wooden roller coaster designed by Intamin of Switzerland and was built in 1981 by the contracting firm Figley-Wright at a cost of $10 million. While most of the records have since been broken, American Eagle had the longest drop and fastest speeds among wooden roller coasters when it debuted and is still recognized as a top racing coaster in the United States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Iron Gwazi</span> Hybrid roller coaster in Tampa, Florida, U.S.

Iron Gwazi is a steel-track hybrid roller coaster at the Busch Gardens Tampa Bay theme park in Tampa, Florida. Originally built as a wooden dueling roller coaster with two separate tracks, Gwazi first opened to the public on June 18, 1999. It was constructed by Great Coasters International (GCI) and was named after a fabled creature with a head of a tiger and a body of a lion. Accordingly, the two sides of the wooden roller coaster's track were named lion and tiger. The roller coasters reached a height of 105.4 feet (32.1 m), featured a maximum speed of 51 mph (82 km/h), and reached a length of 3,508 feet (1,069 m) individually. Following rising maintenance costs and declining ridership, Gwazi was closed indefinitely in 2015.

Thunder Run (Kentucky Kingdom) Wooden roller coaster

Thunder Run is a wooden roller coaster at the Kentucky Kingdom amusement park in Louisville, Kentucky. The ride originally operated from August 1990 through to October 2009, when then-operators Six Flags abandoned the park. After remaining closed since 2009, Thunder Run reopened in May 2014 when Kentucky Kingdom reopened under new operators.

Twister (Knoebels Amusement Resort)

Twister is a wooden roller coaster located at Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, Pennsylvania. It is a recreation of the famous Mister Twister, a 1964 John C. Allen design.

The Racer (Kings Island) Amusement ride

The Racer is a wooden, racing roller coaster located at Kings Island amusement park in Mason, Ohio. It was designed by John C. Allen, well-known for his contributions to roller coasters during the mid-twentieth century, and debuted at the park's grand opening in 1972. It was thrust into the national spotlight after being featured in an episode of the popular TV sitcom The Brady Bunch in 1973 and is often recognized for playing a vital role in the roller coaster renaissance of the 1970s. The Racer inspired similar designs in other roller coasters, such as Racer 75 at Kings Dominion and the now-defunct Thunder Road at Carowinds. The Racer is also one of the few original Kings Island attractions still in operation today.

Woodstock Express (Kings Island) Wooden roller coaster

Woodstock Express is a wooden roller coaster located at Kings Island and designed by John C. Allen. It is located in the children's rides area of the park known as Planet Snoopy. The coaster has undergone four different name changes as the children's area in which it resides has been renamed and rethemed multiple times since the park opened. It has also been painted a number of different color schemes since its debut.

Python (Busch Gardens Tampa Bay) Defunct roller coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa

Python was a steel roller coaster located at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay theme park in Tampa, Florida. Built by Arrow Development and opened on July 1, 1976, it was the first roller coaster at Busch Gardens since the park opened in 1959. The roller coaster was located in the Congo section of the park near Stanley Falls Flume and later the Congo River Rapids. After 30 years of operation, Python closed on October 31, 2006 and was eventually replaced by Jungala, a family section of the park.

Thunderbolt (1925 roller coaster) Former roller coaster at Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York

The Thunderbolt was a wooden roller coaster located at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York. Designed by John Miller, it operated from 1925 until 1982 and remained standing until it was demolished in 2000.

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".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sea Dragon (roller coaster)</span> Wooden roller coaster at the Columbus Zoo

Sea Dragon is a junior wooden roller coaster located at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Powell, Ohio. The ride is in the Rides At Adventure Cove section of the zoo. Built by Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters (PTC) under famed designer John C. Allen, the roller coaster opened in 1956 as Jet Flyer. It was one of three junior wooden coasters that Allen designed shortly after becoming president of PTC in 1954 – the other two were Flyer at Hunt's Pier and Valley Volcano at Angela Park. They were based on earlier designs developed by another legendary coaster architect Herbert Schmeck, who was Allen's mentor. Following the dismantling of the other two coasters in the late 1980s, Sea Dragon became the oldest roller coaster from John Allen to remain in operation.

Curtis D. Summers was an American engineer and roller coaster designer credited for designing or providing structural engineering on 25 wooden roller coasters around the world. He earned a degree in Architectural Engineering from Kansas State University and was a registered engineer in 40 states.

Rocky Mountain Construction Roller coaster manufacturer.

Rocky Mountain Construction, often abbreviated as RMC, is a manufacturing and construction company based in Hayden, Idaho, United States. The company is best known for its I-Box track and Topper Track for wooden roller coasters.

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

Goliath is a wooden roller coaster located at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois. Manufactured by Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC) and designed by Alan Schilke, the roller coaster features RMC's Topper Track design and opened to the public on June 19, 2014. Goliath initially set three world records among wooden coasters, having the longest drop at 180 feet (55 m), the steepest angle of 85 degrees, and the fastest speed of 72 mph (116 km/h). It still holds the record for the longest drop and fastest wooden roller coaster. In addition, the ride also features two inversions and a maximum descent that reaches 15 feet (4.6 m) below ground level.


  1. Wooley, Eric (May 26, 2020). "How Every Modern Wooden Roller Coaster Traces Back to One Company". Coaster101. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  2. Marden, Duane. "Person = John C. Allen". Roller Coaster DataBase . Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  3. Ridgway, Andy (August 27, 2009). "The thrill engineers". BBC Science Focus . Retrieved August 31, 2020.

Further reading