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# Tilt-A-Whirl

Tilt-A-Whirl is one of the best-known flat rides, designed for commercial use at amusement parks, fairs and carnivals in which it is commonly found. The rides are manufactured by Sellner Manufacturing of Faribault, Minnesota.

The Tilt-A-Whirl is a platform-type ride, consisting of seven freely-spinning cars that hold four riders each, which are attached at fixed pivot points on a rotating platform. As the platform revolves, parts of the platform are raised and lowered, and the resulting centrifugal and gravitational forces on the cars cause them to randomly spin in different directions and at variable speeds. The weight of passengers in these cars may intensify or dampen the spinning motion of the cars, adding to the random nature of the motion. Mathematicians call this random nature chaotic motion. Sellner requires all riders to be 46 inches or taller unless they ride with an adult; however, no infants are allowed.

Physicists Bret M. Huggard and Richard L. Kautz came up with a mathematical equation that approximates the motion of the Tilt-A-Whirl. Although it was without knowledge of chaos theory that Herbert Sellner invented the ride, in his patent text he clearly demonstrates an appreciation of chaos -- "A further object is to provide amusement apparatus wherein the riders will be moved in general through an orbit and will unexpectedly swing, snap from side to side or rotate without in any way being able to figure what movement may next take place in the car."

## History

Herbert Sellner, a woodworker and maker of water slides, invented the Tilt-A-Whirl in 1926, at his Faribault, Minnesota, home. Over the next year, the first 14 Tilt-A-Whirls were built in Herbert's basement and yard. In 1927, Sellner Manufacturing opened its factory in Faribault, and the ride debuted that year at the Minnesota State Fair.

Family legend states that Herbert experimented with a chair placed on the kitchen table. Herbert's son Art sat in the chair, and Herbert rocked the table back and forth.

The earliest Tilt-A-Whirls were constructed of wood, powered by a gas motor, and featured nine cars. Today, the ride is constructed of steel, aluminum and fiberglass, is powered by seven small electric motors, and features seven cars.

## Tilt-A-Whirls today

Since 1927, Sellner has manufactured more than 1000 Tilt-A-Whirls. Some of the rides produced in the 1940s and 1950s are still in operation. The rides are designed and built at the factory in Faribault, Minnesota. Before leaving the plant, each Tilt-A-Whirl is tested with sacks of salt sitting in the cars to simulate riders.

A new Tilt-A-Whirl costs approximately USD \$300,000 to purchase.

The oldest currently operating Tilt-A-Whirl is a 1927 model, still traveling with Tom Evans United Shows in the midwest. Between 600 and 700 Tilt-A-Whirls are still in operation.

Conneaut Lake Park in Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania still has its original Tilt-A-Whirl from 1949.

## In fiction

A Tilt-A-Whirl car was made into a small spaceship in the movie Explorers and the book Full Tilt.