Surprising Facts About Scrambler
The history and popularity of this classic ride
One of the most popular amusement park rides of all time can be found at Six Flags Magic Mountain. The ride is known in the industry by the production name “Scrambler.” It can regularly be found at most amusement parks and fairs around the country, and our very own continues to be a fan favorite for all ages. While many people are familiar with the ride, very few are familiar with the ride’s history.
Scramblers are built by the Eli Bridge company. As the name suggests, the company was established to erect bridges. After visiting the 1893 Columbian Exposition, W. E. Sullivan took a ride on the famous observation wheel built by George Washington Ferris. It is this name from which Ferris wheel has become commonly known. Mr. Sullivan’s life would then change forever. So fascinated by his ride on the wheel, he turned his business direction from building bridges to building Ferris wheels. The first one was built in 1900 and the company found great success.
In 1955, Eli Bridge Co. branched out and built their first non-wheel ride. It was called the Scrambler. Its rotating motion took the world by storm and became a “must have” for every theme park and carnival. How many do you think they have built?
Believe it or not, the company has manufactured an unbelievable 490 of them! As Eli Bridge Co. nears its 500th model, CEO and granddaughter of W. E. Sullivan, Patty Sullivan says, “I wish there were more! The darn things just last a long time.” When asked about the popularity of the ride, Sullivan smiles, “It gives you the same thrill without being terrified. Little kids to adults — they love it.”
The Scrambler is known for its fun action of sliding next to your riding partner. This makes it fun to either squish your friends and family or snuggle close to your date. This action is created by the rotation of each group of seats at the end of each of the three moving arms. Riders being scrunched together is guaranteed to bring out smiles in everyone.
*Tim Baldwin – editor of RollerCoaster! Magazine, staff writer at Amusement Today, and Communications Director for American Coaster Enthusiasts – contributed to this article.