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The Rotor is an amusement park ride, designed by German engineer Ernst Hoffmeister in the late 1940s. The ride was first demonstrated at Oktoberfestmarker 1949, 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 a centrifugal force equivalent to between 1 and 1.5 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. The minimum rider height requirement for most Rotors is 36 inches with an adult and over 46 inches to ride alone.

All American Rotors were forced to be modified after an accident on Cajun Cliffhanger, which was a historic Rotor at Six Flags Great Americamarker. The floor was redesigned with a small plastic guard to prevent feet and toes from being wedged under the floor.

Although Hoffmeister was the designer, most Rotors were constructed under license. In Australia, the Rotors were built by Ted Hopkins of Luna Park Milsons Pointmarker. 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.


  • Australia - Three Rotors were built in Australia based on Hoffmeister's design. All had been demolished or destroyed by the 1980s, although a slightly redesigned Rotor was rebuilt for Luna Park Sydneymarker in 1995, which is still in operation.
  • United States - Several Rotors have been constructed in the United States since the 1960s. Most of these have since been demolished and replaced by other rides, although Chance Rotors continue to operate at Canobie Lake Parkmarker in Salem, New Hampshire, and Lake Compouncemarker in Bristol, Connecticut. There are also Rotors in operation at the COSI Columbusmarker Science Center in Columbus, Ohio, and the Sylvan Beach Amusement Park in Sylvan Beach, New York. An unmodified Rotor, Finnish Fling, operates at Worlds of Funmarker. Some notable Rotors in good condition are the Silly Silo at Adventureland marker, Tom's Twister at Six Flags St. Louismarker, and the Terrible Twister at Frontier Citymarker. Another Rotor, with an observation platform, appears at the yearly Puyallup Fairmarker in Puyallup, Washington.
  • France - A famous scene in The 400 Blows depicts Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud) riding a Rotor. Director François Truffaut is among the other riders.

Past appearances


  • Historical information boards located at Luna Park Sydneymarker
  • Francois Trauffaut's The 400 Blows(1959)

External links

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