Take a Spin In “The Rotor” at The State Fair of Texas

by Paula Bosse

state-fair-midway_ebayAnother beautiful day at the fair! (click for larger image)

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.

rotor_dmn_092552-photorotor_dmn_092552-captionDallas Morning News, Sept. 25, 1952

Read the interview with these men in the DMN article “‘Bloody Sensation’ — Britons to Supply Ride on State Fair Midway” by Frank X. Tolbert (Sept. 25, 1952) — here. Below, the ride in action.

rotor_dmn_101253arotor_dmn_101253bDMN, Oct. 12, 1953 (click photo for larger image)

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Postcard from eBay.

Newspaper clippings as noted.

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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