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|The Modern Arrow Dynamics Logo|
|Headquarters||Clearfield, Utah, USA|
|Founded||1946 (as Arrow Development Company)|
|Predecessor||Arrow Development Company Inc|
|Successor||Bankrupt October 2001, bought by S&S Power|
|Key people||Ed Morgan|
Arrow Dynamics was a roller coaster, log flume and amusement ride manufacturer based in Clearfield, Utah, USA. In 2002, the company went bankrupt but was quickly bought by fellow amusement ride manufacturer S&S Power to form S&S Arrow.
During its peak, Arrow Dynamics was responsible for some of the biggest and most influential advancements in the roller coaster industry. Innovations include the first tubular-tracked steel coaster, Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland Park, the first mine train roller coaster, Runaway Mine Train at Six Flags Over Texas, the first modern inverting roller coaster, Corkscrew at Knott's Berry Farm, the first hyper coaster, Magnum XL-200 at Cedar Point and the world's first 4th-Dimension coaster X at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Arrow Dynamics had a monumental and lasting impact on the roller coaster industry.
Arrow Development Company Inc. was founded when World War II veterans Ed Morgan, Karl Bacon, Bill Hardiman, and Angus "Andy" Anderson formed a small machine shop at 243 Moffett Boulevard, just north of Downtown Mountain View, California, USA. They started out small, building merry-go-rounds and other rides for local amusement parks.
In 1953 they were contacted by Walt Disney, who was just beginning to plan a new type of amusement park in California. Disney admired Arrow's work and hired the company to help design and build the ride systems for many of Disneyland's original and early rides, including Mad Tea Party, King Arthur Carrousel, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Casey Jr. Circus Train, and Snow White's Scary Adventures.
While Arrow designed and tested these rides, Walt Disney made frequent trips up to Mountain View to check on their progress. Then the rides were quickly shipped down to Anaheim to be ready for the park's opening. Disney continued to use Arrow as he expanded Disneyland. The company went on to build Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Autopia, and Alice in Wonderland in coming years.
Move toward roller coaster manufacturing
In 1959, Arrow Development designed what was to be the first of their many roller coasters, Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, USA. Built in conjunction with WED Imagineering, the ride was the first modern tubular steel tracked roller coaster in the world.
After construction of the Matterhorn, Disney bought a third of Arrow Development and moved the company to a larger plant at 1555 Plymouth Street in the North Bayshore Area. At the new location, Arrow went on to develop new ride systems for Disney and developed the vehicles and tracks for It's a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, Adventure Thru Inner Space, and the Haunted Mansion.
When Arrow wasn't developing rides for Disney, it was creating rides for other amusement parks. It developed the modern log flume ride, which can be seen around the country in many amusement and theme parks today, with the first being El Aserradero in 1963. In approximately 1965, Bill Hardiman and Angus Anderson sold their interests in Arrow to Karl Bacon and Ed Morgan. In the 1970s the company perfected and brought back the loop into modern roller coasters.
Arrow Development began to make significant advancements in the roller coaster industry as well as major installations throughout the United States. In 1975, Arrow installed one of the most important rides of its time, Corkscrew, which made its debut at Knott's Berry Farm as the world's first modern inverting coaster. Arrow made dozens of coasters throughout the decades, including several Corkscrew-style coasters, many "runaway mine train" coasters like Cedar Creek Mine Ride and Adventure Express, custom-designed coasters like Loch Ness Monster, and Carolina Cyclone. Arrow Dynamics made large advancements not only in roller coaster technology but also in many other fields, such as in water rides (creating the hugely popular log flume rides), as well as many other family-style rides.
Some of Arrow Development's later projects included what were at the time the world's tallest roller coasters, such as Magnum XL-200 at Cedar Point in 1989 and Pepsi Max Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in 1994.
Reorganizations and bankruptcy
In 1972, founders Karl Bacon and Ed Morgan decided to retire and sold Arrow Development to the Rio Grande Railroad. At the time Penn Central owned Six Flags and Rio Grande had plans to build several theme parks of their own in addition to owning a coaster-building company. After almost a decade of ownership Rio Grande sold Arrow in 1981 to the German manufacturing firm, Huss Maschinenfabrik, which merged with Arrow Development to form Arrow-Huss. Dana Morgan (Ed Morgan's son) was appointed president and Ron Toomer was made vice president and manager of engineering. Although the Arrow coasters continued to sell well, Huss got into financial trouble partially due to heavily investing in Darien Lake theme park in New York and the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition in New Orleans. Arrow Huss filed for bankruptcy protection in 1985, and 13 of the company's American officers negotiated a buyout. In 1986 the takeover was approved by the courts and the company re-emerged as Arrow Dynamics. Ron Toomer served as President until 1993, then Chairman of the Board until 1995, then as a consultant director until his retirement in 1998.
In the late 1990s, Arrow Dynamics workload steadily decreased, with few installations toward the end of the decade. Other manufacturers such as Bolliger & Mabillard had entered the field and Arrow was no longer the dominant steel coaster manufacturer. Bankruptcy loomed once again as Arrow made their final attempt to stay afloat with X at Six Flags Magic Mountain, a 4th dimension roller coaster designed by Alan Schilke. X opened to massive media attention and received an initially positive reception. However, several mechanical problems caused the ride to be closed for repairs during much of its first year of operation.
One last non-coaster related project carried out by Arrow Dynamics was the Olympic Torch at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games.
The company finally fell into bankruptcy in 2001. At the end of October 2001, the company's assets were sold to fellow amusement ride manufacturer S&S Power (now S&S Worldwide). Later in 2002, Arrow Dynamics was going out of business. S&S still produce Arrow's 4th dimension roller coasters, and has so far built Eejanaika at Fuji-Q Highland and Dinoconda at China Dinosaurs Park.
|Model||First Built||Location First Built||Year||Number built|
|4th Dimension||X2||Six Flags Magic Mountain, United States||2002||1|
|Corkscrew||Corkscrew||Knott's Berry Farm, United States||1975||14|
|Custom Looping Coaster||Corkscrew||Cedar Point, United States||1976||25|
|Hyper Coaster||Magnum XL-200||Cedar Point, United States||1989||4|
|Launched Loop||Unknown||United States||1977||8|
|Loop & Corskcrew||Ragin' Cajun||Pontchartrain Beach, United States||1978||7|
|Mad Mouse||Mad Mouse||Myrtle Beach Pavilion, United States||1998||4|
|Mini Mine Train||Marche du Mille-pattes||La Ronde, Canada||1967||4|
|Runaway Train||Runaway Mine Train||Six Flags Over Texas, United States||1966||16|
|Steeplechase||Wacky Soap Box Racers||Knott's Berry Farm||1976||2|
|Suspended Coaster||Bat||Kings Island, United States||1981||10|
The company also built three large steel-tracked roller coasters, which it classed as Special Coaster Systems. They are:
Notable Roller Coasters
Arrow built many innovative or record-breaking roller coasters from 1959 through to the demise of the company in 2002.
- 1959 - Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland Park - first roller coaster with tubular steel track
- 1975 - Corkscrew at Knott's Berry Farm - first modern inverting roller coaster
- 1976 - Corkscrew at Cedar Point - first roller coaster with three inversions
- 1978 - Loch Ness Monster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg - first roller coaster with interlocking loops
- 1980 - Carolina Cyclone at Carowinds - first roller coaster with four inversions
- 1982 - Viper at Darien Lake - first roller coaster with five inversions
- 1983 - Dragon Mountain at MarineLand - longest steel roller coaster
- 1987 - Vortex at Kings Island - tallest full-circuit roller coaster and first roller coaster with six inversions
- 1988 - ShockWave at Six Flags Great America - first roller coaster with seven inersions
- 1989 - Magnum XL-200 - tallest full-circuit roller coaster and the first hyper roller coaster
- 2002 - X - first 4th dimension roller coaster
- on the Roller Coaster DataBase.
- Arrow Dynamics Website (Wayback Archive)