National Roller Coaster Day Has Blurred By, But Hatfield’s Link to the Thrill Ride Is Always Present

big wooden hill with cars on it
Image via Michael Horwood at
PTC's coaster, The Twister, at Knoebels Amusement Park and Resort, Elysburg, Pa.

Aug. 16, National Roller Coaster Day, was cause for Brandon Goldner of CBS3 to strap into the story of how a Hatfield company — Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters (PTC) — played a critical role in developing this theme park classic.

PTC was founded in 1904 in Germantown but eventually migrated to Montgomery County.

It supplied its brand of thrill rides to parks as nearby as Dorney, Knoebels, and Hershey and as far away as Canada.

Of the nearly 150 coaster installations across the U.S., 25 are still operating, with the oldest — dating to 1917 (and updated since) — continuing to generate screams in a Six Flags America park in Md.

Although the company no longer designs the attractions, it continues maintaining them.

For PTC President/CEO Tom Rebbie, the wooden vs. steel debate is a nonissue; he clearly prefers the former.

“[A wooden coaster is] a living, breathing organism,” Rebbie said. “It expands when it gets wet so the trains will go a little slower. It contracts when it’s really hot, and the wood will make the trains go a little bit faster.

“”It’s the noise. It’s the thrill, the bang, the wind in your ear.

“It feels like it’s not safe, but it is safe,” he concluded.

For admission to more information on Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters, queue up at CBS3.

This PTC history is all-encompassing, highlighting the company’s coasters, carousels, and Skee Ball product lines.
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