Take a Spin In “The Rotor” at The State Fair of Texas
by Paula Bosse
by Paula Bosse
Students’ Day at the Fair? There are a lot of unaccompanied kids in that photo eating food on sticks.
I could be wrong, but I think the round structure to the right of the entrance is The Rotor (part of the sign is visible at the far right). The Rotor resembled a large barrel inside. You’d stand with your back to the curved wall, and then the walls would begin spinning around. Eventually the spinning got faster and you’d be pinned against the wall with centrifugal force as the floor dropped out. …Which could be a big mistake after too many corny dogs and cotton candy.
The Rotor debuted at the State Fair in 1952, imported from England. The British company would be sued later that year by the man who invented the ride, Ernst Hoffmeister. Hoffmeister sued several people who were operating similar rides internationally, but all was resolved by the following year, and the Rotor ride was an extremely popular fixture of the State Fair of Texas midway for many years.
Below, the ride in action.
Sources & Notes
Postcard from eBay.
Newspaper clippings as noted.
For more on this, head to the Dallas Morning News archives and read an interview with the men who brought the Rotor to the State Fair of Texas in the article “‘Bloody Sensation’ — Britons to Supply Ride on State Fair Midway” by Frank X. Tolbert (Sept. 25, 1952).
Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved