Breaktime: Bumper Cars


With the demise of many small-town amusement parks, the chance to steer a bumper car has become a joy of the past. It is hard to express how exciting it was to watch adults and kids driving around an enclosed space (2500 square feet, give or take), powered by electricity that sparked at the top of metal poles, and driving purposefully into anyone in sight. 

It was a jarring and exciting experience, particularly for children who got to run into a teacher or some other authority figure and get away with it. Here are some images from the earliest years of bumper car mayhem.

One of the first bumper car rides may have been the Witching Waves at Coney Island’s Luna Park.

They included long contact poles that scraped along an electrified grid ceiling and transferred power to the cars. The distinctive poles remain to this day on many bumper car attractions

Image result for early bumper cars

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