Rotor (ride)

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Interior of the Rotor at Luna Park Sydney. The ride is in mid-cycle, and the riders are stuck to the wall of the barrel by the force of friction combined with their inertia. The yellow lines on the barrel wall indicate the level the floor is at during different points of the ride; the higher line is level with the floor when the ride begins. Rotormidcyclelunapraksyd.JPG
Interior of the Rotor at Luna Park Sydney. The ride is in mid-cycle, and the riders are stuck to the wall of the barrel by the force of friction combined with their inertia. The yellow lines on the barrel wall indicate the level the floor is at during different points of the ride; the higher line is level with the floor when the ride begins.

The Rotor is an amusement ride designed and patented by German engineer Ernst Hoffmeister in 1948. The ride was first demonstrated at Oktoberfest 1949, [1] and was exhibited at fairs and events throughout Europe, during the 1950s and 1960s. The ride still appears in numerous amusement parks, although travelling variants have been surpassed by the Gravitron.


Design and operation

The Rotor is a large, upright barrel, rotated at 33 revolutions per minute. The rotation of the barrel creates an inward acting centripetal force supplied by the wall's support's force, equivalent to almost 3 g. Once the barrel has attained full speed, the floor is retracted, leaving the riders stuck to the wall of the drum. At the end of the ride cycle, the drum slows down and gravity takes over. The riders slide down the wall slowly. Most Rotors were constructed with an observation deck.

Although Hoffmeister was the designer, most Rotors were constructed under license. In Australia, the Rotors were built by Ted Hopkins of Luna Park Milsons Point. In the United States, two main companies were responsible for production; the Velare Brothers and the Anglo Rotor Corporation. A dispute between these two companies was resolved when the construction rights to touring Rotors were assigned to the Velare Brothers, while permanent-standing Rotors (later becoming known as Chance Rotors) became the domain of ARC.


Facade of Rotor at Luna Park Sydney Rotorlunaparksyd.JPG
Facade of Rotor at Luna Park Sydney

Past appearances

  • A scene in The 400 Blows depicts Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud) riding a Rotor. Director François Truffaut is among the other riders.
  • The 2006 film Candy's opening scene features actors Abbie Cornish and Heath Ledger riding the Rotor in Sydney's Luna Park, while actor Geoffrey Rush watches them from above.
  • In the 1976 television series Charlie's Angels , the heroines capture a criminal by trapping him into a Rotor ride and turning it on; as such, he became stuck to the wall and couldn't escape.
  • In the season 4 Cleveland Show episode "Spins, Pins, and Fins!", after breaking into an abandoned amusement park, Cleveland, Lester, Holt, and Tim become trapped while riding the park's Rotor after Lester, who was supposed to be operating the ride, jumps into the ride to join the rest of his friends.

See also

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  1. Canfield, Victor (2 July 2015). "Rotors". Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  2. Michelson, Harry (9 December 2018). "A Brief History of the Rotor". The Amusement Parkives. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  3. "Park Is Ready For Opry Month". The Pittsburgh Press. April 30, 1965. p. 14. Beginning Sunday an old favorite, the Rotor, will be at the amusement center, brought back by requests.
  4. Sloan, Nick (2017-10-18). "Worlds of Fun announces closing of Finnish Fling". KCTV 5 News. Retrieved 2018-04-30.