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A Tilt-A-Whirl Tilt-A-Whirl in Saskatchewan.jpg
A Tilt-A-Whirl

Tilt-A-Whirl is a flat ride similar to the Waltzer in Europe, designed for commercial use at amusement parks, fairs, and carnivals, in which it is commonly found. [1] The rides are manufactured by Larson International of Plainview, Texas.



The ride consists of seven freely-spinning cars that hold three or four riders each, which are attached at fixed pivot points on a rotating platform. As the platform rotates, parts of the platform are raised and lowered, with the resulting centrifugal and gravitational forces on the revolving cars causing them to spin in different directions and at variable speeds. The weight of passengers in these cars (as well as the weight distribution) may intensify or dampen the spinning motion of the cars, adding to the unpredictable nature known as chaotic motion.

Physicists Bret M. Huggard and Richard L. Kautz came up with a mathematical equation that approximates the motion of the Tilt-A-Whirl. [2]


Herbert Sellner invented the Tilt-A-Whirl in 1926 at his Faribault, Minnesota, home. [3] In 1927, the first 14 Tilt-A-Whirls were built in Sellner's basement and yard. Sellner Manufacturing opened its factory in Faribault and the ride debuted at the Minnesota State Fair. [4] More than a thousand rides were eventually built. Some of the rides produced in the 1940s and 1950s are still in operation.

The earliest Tilt-A-Whirls were constructed of wood, powered by gas motors, and featured nine cars. Modern rides are constructed of steel, aluminum and fiberglass, and are powered by seven small electric motors, and has seven cars. [5] [6]

In 1995, Tovah Sellner took over Sellner Manufacturing after the loss of her husband Bruce Sellner; her daughter Erin Sellner joined her in 1998 and the two of them ran the business together. [7]

Modern Tilt-A-Whirls

Modern Tilt-A-Whirls cost in excess of US$300,000 to purchase. A Tilt-A-Whirl package comes with a choice to employ either the famous domed tipkarts (which were introduced back during the 1930s), or Waltzer-style open squat podkarts having headrest bars (that option was introduced by Sellner Manufacturing in 2003).

The oldest operating Tilt-A-Whirl is a 1927 model, traveling with Tom Evans United Shows in the US Midwest. Between six- and seven hundred Tilt-A-Whirls are in operation.

Conneaut Lake Park in Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania, still has its original Tilt-A-Whirl from 1949.


Tilt-a-Whirl Adventure Park USA UnknownOpenOpen-topped cars. Cars have desert scenes painted on them. Ride also referred to as Rattlesnake. [8]
Tilt-A-Whirl Adventureland (Iowa)
Open [9]
Tilt-A-WhirlAdventurer's Park (Brooklyn, New York)UnknownOpen [10]
Tilt-A-Whirl Alabama Splash Adventure
Open [11]
Tilt-A-WhirlAll Star Adventures (Wichita, Kansas)UnknownOpen [12]
Tilt-a-WhirlAmusements of America (Showman)UnknownOpen [13]
Tilt-a-Whirl Arnolds Park UnknownOpen [14]
Tilt-a-Whirl Bay Beach Amusement Park
Seasonal [15]
Tilt-a-Whirl Beech Bend Park UnknownOpen [16]
Unknown Bell's Amusement Park
Tilt-a-WhirlBelle City Amusements (Showman)UnknownOpen [17]
Tilt-a-Whirl Belmont Park UnknownOpenIncludes ice cream-shaped ride vehicles. [18]
Tilt-A-Whirl Bertrand Island Amusement Park UnknownClosed
Tilt-A-WhirlBig Rock Amusements (Showman)UnknownOpen
Tilt-A-Whirl Blue Bayou and Dixie Landin' UnknownOpen
Tilt-A-WhirlBlue Sky Amusements (Showman)UnknownUnknown
Tilt-a-Whirl Boblo Island Amusement Park UnknownClosed
Tilt-a-Whirl Bowcraft Amusement Park UnknownClosed
Tilt-O-World Buckroe Beach Amusement Park UnknownClosed
Unknown Bushkill Park UnknownClosedPurchased by and refurbished by Eldridge Park.
Tilt A WhirlButler Amusements (Showman)UnknownOpen
Tilt-a-Whirl Camden Park UnknownOpen
Tilt-A-WhirlCamp's Amusements (Showman)UnknownOpen [19]
Twist & Shout Canobie Lake Park UnknownOpenRelocated from Palisades Amusement Park. [20]
Tilt-a-Whirl Carousel Gardens Amusement Park UnknownOpenOpen-topped cars. [21]
Tilt-a-Whirl Casino Pier UnknownOpenOpen-topped cars. [22]
Tilt-a-Whirl Castle Park UnknownOpen [23]
Linus' Beetle Bugs Cedar Point
OpenPreviously known as Tilt-a-Whirl. Named after Peanuts character Linus. [24]
Tennessee Twister Dollywood
2004 [25]
Tilt-a-Whirl Elitch Gardens
(Denver, Colorado)
UnknownUnknownSeen in video footage dated 1980. [26]
Tilt-a-Whirl Fun Spot America Theme Parks (Kissimmee)UnknownOpen [27]
Tilt-a-Whirl Fun Spot America Theme Parks (Orlando)UnknownOpenOpen-topped cars. [28]
Tilt-a-WhirlFuntimes Fun Park
OpenOriginally at Geauga Lake. [29]
Turkey Whirl Holiday World & Splashin' Safari UnknownOpenIncludes turkey-shaped ride vehicles. [30]
Turtle Twirl Story Land UnknownOpenIncludes turtle-shaped ride vehicles. [31]
Tilt-a-Whirl Lagoon Amusement Park
Tilt-a-Whirl Land Of Make Believe UnknownOpen
Tilt-A-WhirlLong Park Park, Geneseo, NY, West Side of Conesus Lake19501990Tilt-A-Whirl Ride was sold at the Long Point Park Auction of the rides by Norton Auctioneers on September 1990. Not sure where the ride went from there as the newspaper's report listed many errors pertaining to the rides new owners.
Shark Frenzy Pacific Park
OpenIncludes shark-shaped ride vehicles.
Tilt-A-Whirl Seabreeze Amusement Park, Rochester, NY
HARLEY QUINN Wild Whirl Six Flags Over Georgia
OpenPreviously known as Harley Quinn Spinsanity.
Tilt-a-WhirlThomas Amusements (Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada)UnknownSeasonal [32]
TilterValleyfair!1976SeasonalPreviously known as Tilt-A-Whirl. Originally installed near the end of High Roller rollercoaster next

to the Giant Tilt Ride. It was moved next to the entrance of Wild Thing rollercoaster in 1996 when that was built.

It was moved again in 2014 underneath the figure 8 portion of Wild Thing with the installation of the

Route 66 area. [33]

Giant Tilt RideValleyfair!1976ClosedThis was the only Super Tilt model of Tilt-A-Whirl ever manufactured by Sellner Manufacturing Company, Inc. It

featured 14 cars in two rows and was strangely placed right next to Valleyfair!'s other Tilt-A-Whirl ride. [34]

Incidents and accidents

On September 22, 2018, A Tilt-A-Whirl operated by Thomas Amusements in St. John's, Newfoundland malfunctioned when two of the cars crashed into each other causing the top of one of the cars to fall off and on to the platform. No serious injuries resulted but some of the passengers suffered minor injuries. [35]

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  2. Kautz, R.L., and B.M. Huggard. 1994. Chaos at the amusement park: Dynamics of the Tilt-A-Whirl. American Journal of Physics 62(January):59.
  3. Silverman, Stephen M. (2019). The Amusement Park: 900 Years of Thrills and Spills, and the Dreamers and Schemers Who Built Them. Running Press. ISBN   9780316416474 . Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  4. says, Tami Schluter (2018-09-16). "A Spin Through History In The 'Birthplace Of The Tilt-A-Whirl'" . Retrieved 2020-05-01.
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  14. "Tilt-A-Whirl". Arnolds Park. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
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  19. www.mwdwebdesign.com, Matt's Web Design-. "Tilt-A-Whirl". Campy's Amusements. Retrieved 2020-07-15.
  20. "Twist & Shout | Canobie Lake Park". www.canobie.com. Retrieved 2020-07-15.
  21. "Rides in Carousel Gardens Amusement Park". New Orleans City Park. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  22. "casino-pier-breakwater-beach-bwb-attractions-tilt-a-whirl". Casino Pier & Breakwater Beach. Retrieved 2020-08-04.
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  26. "Elitch Gardens - 1980 - Super 8 footage". www.YouTube.com. Retrieved 2022-11-12.
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  31. "Turtle Twirl". Story Land. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  32. "ABOUT US - Thomas Amusements | amusement park | rides |family activities | Newfoundland".
  33. This information complied from actual park maps, a Sellner Manufacturing Company, Inc. advertising postcard and from working and visiting the park during some of the actual changes.
  34. This information compiled from actual park maps and a Sellner Manufacturing Company, Inc. advertising post card.
  35. Newfoundland, CBC (2018-09-22). "Minor injuries after Tilt-A-Whirl malfunctions at Thomas Amusements, say police". CBC NL. Retrieved 2018-09-24.

Further reading