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The Tickler: 1909

Cincinnati circa 1909. "Chester Park -- the Tickler." Now "not as rough." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

Cincinnati circa 1909. "Chester Park -- the Tickler." Now "not as rough." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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The sign at the top is amazing

I'd love to get a large image just of the sign at the top. The decoration on the lintel is also great.

Also known as

The Kidney Stone Crusher!

Tickler on the West Coast

The Tickler could also be found at the 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition held in Seattle. The fabulous documentary "The Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition: Seattle's Forgotten World's Fair" has footage of the Fairy Gorge Tickler in action beginning at 24:27:

Another good image of the ride in question being used is here:

You can tell just how popular it was by the line of people waiting to get on! Evidently the thrill was worth the whiplash.

By the late 1920s

I think is when they closed Chester Park. Coney Island and the new Riverdowns horse track took over by the 1930s. I always thought Coney Island was Cincinnati's first amusement park until I saw this site. The current location now holds a Honda dealership and a Kroger grocery store.

The lady's not for Ticklering

Only young men seem to enjoy it. The women standing below are gazing at it dubiously - as I would too. For one thing, their hats are a lot more difficult to put on and take off. For another, the excitement the ride induces probably isn't appropriate in public mixed company.

The Atlantic City theme continues, with boxes of its famed salt water taffy proudly offered! You may have had to leave your idylls of the Jersey shore, but taffy's teeth-pulling sweetness is still available to remind you of the salt spray, even after you're back in Ohio.

What goes down

I'm sure that even with the remodeled Tickler, many still lost their popular price luncheon!


This looks like an early albeit extremely-dangerous looking tilt-a-whirl from amusement parks of today.

Oddly, there doesn't look to be any sort of stopper mechanism at the end (or padding)... hopefully it didn't go too fast.

Rubber bumpers

The secret to the ride is the rubber bumpers. The bumpered car rolls along against the railings, carrying it down the slanted floor. The cars would spin along the track as they descended.


The bloke wearing the dark suit looks like the headwaiter in a mortuary. Maybe he is waiting to pick up customers that didn't survive the ride.

[I don't even want to ask what kind of mortuary employs waiters! - Dave]


I want to know what's inside "Frazzle."


The inventor was a man named Mangels? Ah. Last season must have been a hoot and a half.


How would this "ride" do anything but rattle you to the core?

How does it move side to side?

Since the cars don't appear to have any motors and the planks have no rails to guide the cars, I wonder how they move thru the railings left to right/right to left? Gravity wouldn't move the car sideways, only down.

[The rotation of the car might be enough to move it from side to side. Or the railings might be angled down a bit. Or both. - Dave]

Instant injury (2)

And be careful how your tentacles are hanging as well!!

Instant Injury

Just don't let your arms hang too far down on the outside, or your fingers will get squished into useless tentacles.

The First Variation

This must have been the predecessor of The Price Is Right's Plinko game on a slightly larger scale. Frankly, I've love to see it in motion. Amusement park rides of yesteryear had so much more charm than the overly padded and seat strapped and belted rides of today. There is something to be said for the thrills one gets from riding and surviving intact a hair raising ride such as this. Today's rides may be higher and faster but they lack the genuine fear factor and adrenaline rush that real danger provides.

I can only imagine the concessions possible on the "I survived the Tickler" wool t-shirts, wool neckties, and wool bathing suits.

The Hat Exchange

There is a sign that reads "HATS" and some lined circular containers nearby. I guess if you were afraid that your hat might blow away during your Tickler experience you left it in one of those receptacles. If there were enough of them in the bin I wonder if someone looking for an upgrade just helped themselves and left you theirs.

[The "lined circular containers" are what you ride in. The hat basket is what the sign is attached to. - Dave]


Any truth to the rumor the work was done by a French company?

"Not as rough"

Quite a bit more popular than its predecessor, "The Lacerator."

New and Improved

It shouldn't kill nearly as many people this year!

"Not as rough as last season"

Those six words make my imagination go wild. Just how bad was it last season that they feel compelled to mention it?

Tickler history

The idea of a ride named ticker has apparently been around for a while.

The Tickler name holds special significance in the history of amusement rides and of Coney Island. The Tickler was the first amusement ride "designed to jostle, jolt and jounce its riders about in their seats when the ride was in motion," according to its inventor and manufacturer William F. Mangels.

More here.

My aching neck!

Claims to be not as rough, but I hurt just looking at it!

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