QUESTION: What is generally considered the oldest, continuously used amusement park in the United States?
A). Coney Island, NY
B). Cedar Point, OH
C). Lake Constance, CT
D). Idlewild, PA
Two of the newest additions to the wild and wonderful collection here at the American Treasure Tour are Dodgem Bumper Cars! Dodgem was the first manufacturer of bumper cars ever. They filed for a patent in 1920, and the next year, the fun began! Their cars did not have batteries. Instead, they received their power with wooden poles that had metal 'spoons' on top that brushed against the ceiling of the attraction. Electrical power in metal plates sent a current to the motor and the bumper car moved. The cleaner the connection in the spoon, the faster the car. Waiting in line for their chance to bump, many kids looked out for the best cars so that they could claim them for their turn and speed through the arena, bumping their friends, dodging others, and just having fun.
Max and Harold Stoehrer of Methuen, Massachusetts designed the Dodgem. The first cars were not necessarily safe, honestly. They had upright seats and the steering wheel was at the top of a pole coming directly from the floor. The tin cars were very vulnerable to denting, and after a full day's usage had to be banged back into place for the next day. Of course, Dodgem technology improved over the years, but not fast enough for some. It was a few years after their introduction that two cousins, Joseph and Ray Lusse, introduced the Lusse Auto Skooter, direct competition with the Dodgem and, as far as the Stoehrers were concerned, in direct violation of their patent. Regardless, both companies survived the crisis and produced these delightful rides for years to come. In 1961, Dodgem was sold to none other than the Allan Herschell Company. If you don't know who they were, then keep checking back in with the blog. They are of great importance to the world of amusement parks and automatic music. Alas, the change did not have a lasting impression. Dodgem disappeared completely in the 1970's. Well, not entirely completely. Come on by and visit ours here at the Treasure Tour!
ANSWER: C). Lake Constance, CT. Opened in 1846 as a picnic site, the attractions began appearing shortly thereafter and it has been going strong ever since. The other three are all on the top ten oldest attractions list.