InCoasterPaedia: Internet Coaster Encyclopaedia

InCoasterPædia: The Internet Roller Coaster Encyclopædia

InCoasterPædia is intended to be a comprehensive reference work on the history of the roller coaster. It is currently not the best place to look if you want the latest facts on the newest rides (for now, coverage of 1990's rides or those outside of North America is spotty at best); it is meant primarily as a tool for the serious researcher of roller coaster history. In other words, those who don't know much about coasters may not find much of interest here; but those who do - or wish to learn - will find a large and growing collection of data on over 1800 roller coasters from the 1800's to the present day.

InCoasterPædia owes its existence to the many individuals that have carefully researched and published documentary material on roller coasters. In particular I would like to thank Richard Munch, without whose dedication and generosity InCoasterPædia would not have been possible.

InCoasterPædia will always be a work in progress. The ultimate goal is to include data on every permanently installed roller coaster ever built, and to make freely available and easily accessible a comprehensive on-line archive of the rich history of this fascinating amusement ride. InCoasterPædia doesn't even begin to scratch the surface at this point; but hopefully what is there now can begin to show the potential of such a project.

Welcome. Enjoy.

Chris LaReau

Boolean searches: AND = "&" OR = "|" NOT = "~"            Wildcards: single = "?" 0 or more = "*"

What is InCoasterPædia?

Despite the catchy name, InCoasterPædia is not in the strictest terms an encyclopedia of roller coasters. It would be more accurately described as an extended index to references on the history of roller coasters. There are some differences between InCoasterPædia and the index in the back of a typical book, however: This last point is by far the most important feature of InCoasterPædia. A large collection of on-line information is nearly useless without exact references as to where every piece of data came from. In InCoasterPædia, each and every individual statistic included has attached to it a detailed reference to the original source where you can look it up for yourself. Whenever possible, I would recommend that for serious research purposes you should do exactly that, because InCoasterPædia, despite all diligent effort to make it so, is not guaranteed to be accurate; and where it is accurate, it is not guaranteed to be correct. This is an important distinction! For example, InCoasterPædia reports for the Idora Park Wildcat: This InCoasterPædia listing is accurate because Roller Coaster Fever does list John Allen as the designer of the Idora Park Wildcat. However it is not correct because Herbert Schmeck designed the coaster. Fortunately, that information, which comes from Herb Schmeck's initials on the Wildcat blueprints, is also in InCoasterPædia. The user is left to decide which is more likely.

Typographic errors from source materials will be corrected only when intent is absolutely clear.

There is another, equally important for including a reference for every bit of data in InCoasterPædia: that data has to come from somewhere. The data now incorporated into InCoasterPædia is the result of years of dedicated research by many people into the history of the roller coaster. The effort and expense required to create a book, poster, magazine, or videotape is considerable, often months or years of concerted effort to produce an item with an uncertain market and unknown potential to even recoup expenses. Hopefully the references in InCoasterPædia will enable interested users to seek out those resources that are still available, and BUY them. That's one sure way to let those responsible know that you appreciate their work, and encourage them to undertake their next research project, which will likely help preserve more of the history for posterity. Far too much has been lost already. A convenient list of resources is available here.

For for the ultimate in the preservation of roller coaster history, make a donation to help rebuild Leap-the-Dips at Lakemont Park, Altoona, PA. Send a check to:

Leap The Dips Preservation Foundation
700 Park Avenue
Altoona, PA 16602

Copyright Notice

Copyright © 1996 Christopher LaReau. All rights reserved.

InCoasterPædia is copyrighted to the extent that U.S. copyright law allows. In the case of other copyrighted works that are incorporated into InCoasterPædia by permission, full copyright is retained by the copyright holder of the original work.

InCoasterPædia is copyrighted for the following reasons:

That said, the following points should also be made

InCoasterPædia will not include any scanned images without either (1) the permission of the copyright holder, or (2) substantial evidence that they are not protected under copyright. Those items that are copyrighted and used by permission will be clearly identified and credited.

As I understand it, U.S. copyright protection does not extend to facts. Thus it is perfectly legitimate to incorporate facts from copyrighted sources into InCoasterPædia. By the same token, any protection under U.S. copyright law would not extend to the facts contained in InCoasterPædia, but only to the computer software, software, actual data files, audio-visual presentation, etc.

Even though it may be legally acceptable, InCoasterPædia will not incorporate data from a currently in-print work whose primary focus is as an organized collection of facts (i.e. a roller coaster guidebook) without the express permission of the copyright holder. It is hoped that the existence of InCoasterPædia would help to increase the sales of such works, rather than the other way around.

If you are a copyright lawyer and have any comments about or would like to provide any help with or corrections to any of the statements or concepts above, please contact the editor. Any such help would be most appreciated.

Technical Information

The database itself is around 1.5 megabytes at present. All the cgi-bin user interface software is written in perl, under 1500 lines all told, with another few hundred lines of perl code to create the master database from source files. The search engine consists of a perl front end to GAIS searches of the master data file, and a perl program to translate the output into HTML. The InCoasterPædia logo, such as it is, was hand-written in PostScript.


Search Tips and Examples

Search Tips

InCoasterPædia's search interface is fairly powerful. The following information should help you to get the most out of it with the least trouble:

Search Examples

This retrieves a clickable map of coasters associated with Harry Traver but not with Fred Church:


This retrieves list of links to parks in Detroit, Michigan:

This fetches a list of links to all of the postcard images available on-line

About the Editor

My name is Chris LaReau. If anything in InCoasterPædia is inaccurate, broken, or stupid (but not wrong and accurate - see above!) it's probably my fault. If you have any comments, here's how you can reach me: