The ‘Gravity Switch Back Railway’ Was the Original Roller Coaster – Here’s the Patent Drawing
My invention relates to a gravity double track switchback railway to be used as a source or means of pleasure and amusement; and it consists of certain new and novel fea-‘ tures, to be hereinafter more fully described, whereby passengers may be carried from a certain starting-point at any convenient or suitable elevation in a vehicle or car over a series of descending and ascending longitudinal planes by the gravity momentum acquired by the car in its passage over the planes to the opposite end of the course…
See the full patent filing here & thanks to EDN for the tip about this wonderful invention, they wrote up an article about it here.
And someone made a 3D model to visualize its operation – the video includes some old-timey postcards (and music) as well:
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