Coaster History, I.E Pearce and Philadelphia Toboggan
Reading about coaster history two very significant developers seem to be forgotten. Fred W. Pearce built and operated 27 coasters in the U.S. from the early 1900's to 1972 and yet no mention of Mr. Pearce's endeavours. Philadelphia Tobbogan designed and built a number of coasters as well as other rides and yet they also seem forgotten. I would be courious to hear history buff comments. As the grandson of Mr. Pearce and having grown up in amusement parks and operating the wooden coasters I am saddened at the history loss. The early ice slides and such were indeed the beginning, however what about the real begining of coasters as we know them and wooden coaster era?
The history section of this site has a paragraph on the Pearce family and has a writeup on PTC. PTC does tend to be broken up into the John Miller, Herb Schmeck and John Allen coasters in most works, but I don't find many of the books that contain anything beyond a summary of early coasters to ignore either of these contributors. (My alias here pays tribute to a John Miller coaster reworked by Herb Schmeck.) Where are you finding histories that lack the Pearce and PTC contributions? I'm curious, thanks.
> Reading about coaster history two very
> significant developers seem to be forgotten. Fred
> W. Pearce built and operated 27 coasters in the
> U.S. from the early 1900's to 1972 and yet no
> mention of Mr. Pearce's endeavours.
The short answer to the lack of Fred Pearce history is the lack of Fred Pearce information. There are few (if any?) detailed primary sources that give a lot of information about Fred Pearce. When I wrote the history for URC I included some info., but most of mine said nothing that Cartmell did not cover in his book. I know people are hoping to unearth more information on the Pearce family, but at this point there is little to go on.
> Tobbogan designed and built a number of coasters
> as well as other rides and yet they also seem
> forgotten. I would be courious to hear history
> buff comments. As the grandson of Mr. Pearce and
> having grown up in amusement parks and operating
> the wooden coasters I am saddened at the history
> loss. The early ice slides and such were indeed
> the beginning, however what about the real
> begining of coasters as we know them and wooden
> coaster era?
I will disagree about the PTC. I think this company has been very well researched. What I consider to be the two best coaster histories, Scott Rutherford's "The American Roller Coaster" and Robert Cartmell's "The Incredible Scream Machine" both have a good amount of information on the company. In addition, Charles J. Jacques, Jr. wrote two editions of his Amusement Park Journal dedicated to the company, one called "The Roller Coasters of the PTC" and the other "The Carousels of the PTC." While there is no definitive history of the company, it can be pieced together rather easily from several good sources. One reason you might not see the PTC name a lot is because, as Shooting Star pointed out, coaster history has moved more towards recognizing the indiviuals instead of the company approach that the PTC took. For instance, they referred to their coasters as a PTC ride and the designer was rarely mentioned. I feel that in the URC history there is a good amount of information on Allen, Miller and Schmeck for the size work it is.
If you will remember my husband & I visited you & your family a few years back. We had hoped to write a book on the Pearce history & someone in your family was going to digitize your archives & send us a CD. We have since lost contact with you, is a CD available? We are still interested in pursuing this.
Carol & Scott Holmes
* This post was modified at 5/3/12 9:16:01 PM *
(My alias here pays tribute to a John Miller coaster reworked by Herb Schmeck.)
...and my first ever coaster BTW, circa 1958.
Talk about history!