Bumper cars are one of the most iconic, popular, and lengthy amusement park rides available to both adults and children. Bumper car rides, which were first created in the early 1920s by a firm called Dodgem, have been a humorous and unpredictable method to release pent-up energy for nearly a century.
While you may be familiar with adult and child bumper cars at amusement parks and indoor entertainment venues such as PINSTACK, you may not be aware of the sometimes terrifying, sometimes humorous, and always fascinating truths behind the original versions of these rides. Here are 5 fascinating facts about early bumper cars that will make you grateful for today’s rides. Buy the gifts for kids.
The earliest bumper cars were not meant to collide with one another.
Bumper cars for young and old nowadays are all about crashing into each other as often and as forcefully as possible. The humor and fun of the ride come from the unpredictable movements of the automobiles both before and after crashes.
However, in the early 1920s, the sole purpose of bumper cars was to prevent collisions (hence the name “Dodgem” given to the first bumper cars and the firm that manufactured them). Collisions were punished in one Russian version on bumper cars for adults by an immediate suspension of the ride.
What was the purpose of the first bumper vehicles not to bump? Because they would disintegrate.
Dodgem’s marketing of bumper cars for children and adults as a collision avoidance game had a good reason: the cars would usually fall apart upon impact. Cars that slammed into the ride’s sides, for example, would frequently have trouble restarting. The cars were frequently glued back together after the ride had closed at the end of each day.
A single kick was also known to dent the automobiles. The nightly ritual for those who ran the rides included hammering dents out of the bodies of each car. Other times, following a crash, fragments (and perhaps occupants) would fly. And, by the end of the first season, all of the Dodgem automobiles were beyond repair and were burned out. The automobiles’ flimsiness stemmed mostly from their use of tin as a construction material, which offered no protection or longevity.
The early adult and child bumper vehicles were not driveable.
Bumper cars appeal to both adults and children since they may be driven around the arena. And part of the fun is directing them at the other players to cause collisions that send the automobile spinning around the room.
The original bumper cars, on the other hand, were not particularly maneuverable. Although they came with steering wheels, one reviewer described the steering as “relative,” indicating that the car only steered in a general direction.
Bumper cars for adults and children have proven to be more popular than expected.
The bumper cars (Dodgems) received mixed reviews at first. Scientific Americans, for example, criticized not only the lack of competent steering but also classified the cars as “unmanageable” in general. Despite these negative criticisms, the crowds queuing to ride the new bumper cars for adults and children spoke volumes about the thrilling, unforgettable joy that the new amusement park attraction was capable of providing, not only despite but because of its unpredictability.
The design of bumper cars for adults and children has improved throughout time, but the excitement they provide has stayed consistent.
Of course, bumper cars have improved dramatically in terms of design, steering, and safety during the previous century. To protect feet, the formerly open side of the car was shuttered. Seatbelts were installed to keep passengers from being flung out of the vehicle. Bumpers were added to the automobiles to reduce the impact, and the cars were strengthened to withstand damage in collisions.
The design was also tweaked to improve stability and mobility. And the vehicle’s power source was relocated entirely to the floor, removing the ceiling-to-floor metal bar that previously restricted bumper car movement.
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