A 19th-Century Amusement Ride-Cum-Death Trap
November 15, 2011
The 19th-century bourgeoisie were always looking for new thrills, which usually came to them in the form of books, dining, and theater. This theoretical design for an amusement ride featured by an 1891 issue of Scientific America would have knocked their top hats off. Conceived by one Monseiur Charles Carron of Grenoble, the apparatus, a 40-foot-long bullet-shaped steel container, would have been dropped from the top of the Eiffel Tower, free-falling roughly 1,000 feet through the air toward a 200-feet deep champagne-flute well. The fifteen passengers aboard the plummeting craft–secured to their seats with straps–would have experienced a “mixture of desire and fear of exposing one’s self to it [the fall] that will constitute a new source of perturbations.”
The capsule would have been lined with springs to aid in mitigating any tremors incurred during the fall, while the receiving funnel pool would absorb the bulk of the crash shock. Needless to say, Carron’s design is heavily contingent on ideal conditions and would not have functioned as envisioned outside a vaccum. Regardless, Carron’s folly would have offered patrons the thrill of a lifetime, plunging them 178 mph through space, twice the speed of the fastest vehicle at the time (the locomotive). The fact that it would have probably sent them to their death only reinforces the link to a more recent, equally sensational and daring project, the Euthanasia Coaster. What better way to go than in euphoria?
The Euthanasia Coaster