John A. Miller

John A. Miller
Formerly called August John Mueller
Nationality American
Company LA Thompson, Philadelphia Toboggan Company, Ingersoll, Miller & Baker, The John Miller Company
Born 1872
Died June 24, 1941

John A. Miller was an American inventor and engineer best known for his roller coaster designs, safety features, and other amusement attractions. His work earned him the nickname of the "Father of the Modern High Speed Coaster". Two of his over 100 inventions, namely the Upstop or under friction wheels and anti-rollback devices found on nearly all roller coasters today are some of the most significant developments in the history of the amusement industry to date.


Born in 1872 as August John Mueller, he began his career at age 19 under the direction of LaMArcus Thompson, helping design the LA Thompson Scenic Railway concept which lead to the development of what we know as a roller coaster today. Eventually Miller became the chief engineer of the company.[1][2]

Following his invention of the under friction or upstop wheel system in 1910, John began to consult with the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1911. John's under friction wheels provided the ability for coaster companies to create larger dips and sharpe curves since the cars were now securely held to the tacks. This also allowed for much higher speeds leading to many more collaborations throughout his career with a variety of companies.[1][2]

In 1920 John Miller began a business with Harry C. Baker, creating roller coaster company Miller & Baker. The partners went on to create many beloved attractions. One of these many rides includes the Jack Rabbit at Seabreeze Amusement Park in Rochester, New York, USA which celebrated its 100th year in operation in 2020 and is the oldest continually operating roller coaster in the United States.[1][3]

By 1925 Miller & Baker became the John Miller Company and Miller went on to create many more attractions. Following his retirement, Miller continued to consult on a variety of projects up until the time of his death.[2]

John Miller died due to a heart attack at the age of 69 (mistakenly reported in some places as 66) in Houston, Texas, USA on June 24, 1941.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Jack Rabbit: 100 Years of Fun". Seabreeze Amusement Park. 2020. Retrieved September 30, 2022. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Coker, Robert (2002). Roller Coasters. USA: Main Street Publishing, Inc.. ISBN 1402713339. 
  3. "Jack Rabbit". ACE - American Coaster Enthusiasts. 2015. Retrieved September 30, 2022.