First invented by Herbert Sellner in 1926, the Tilt-A-Whirl has certainly stood the test of time, with over 1,000 units manufactured and an estimated 600 of these operating throughout the USA and abroad.
The ride consists of seven cars, each fixed to a pivot pin on each platform. These platforms then roll around a circular track of hills and valleys at 6.5 rpm, putting changing centrifugal and gravitational forces on the cars, making them tip and spin randomly.
Due to the truly random nature of the Tilt-A-Whirl’s motion, it has often been the basis for mathematical analysis. Mathematical models indicate that when the platforms travel at very low speed along the track, the cars complete one backward revolution as their platforms go over each hill. At high speeds, a car swings to its platform’s outer edge and stays locked in that position. It is unlikely that the Tilt-A-Whirl’s inventor performed such mathematical analysis, but instead used simple practical experiments with scale models.
The Tilt-A-Whirl can handle over 500 passengers an hour and a portable unit can fit onto a single 40 ft trailer. Each unit sells for around US$250,000.