The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Walt Disney World may perhaps seem like an innovative form of ride to some, but its concept can be traced back to as early as 1898. In that year the french scientific magazine La Nature reported that a certain Mr. Carron, engineer from Grenoble, France (one man in a long line of forgotten geniuses), invented a contraption that allowed humans to experience the sensation of a free fall 300 meters deep.

To achieve this, he conceived a bullet-like capsule with a height of approx. 10 meters, that contains a round room, 4 meters high and with a diameter of 3 meters. In this room 15 comfortable chairs are placed in a circle so that victorian daredevils would suffer no inconvience from the fall.

The floor of the room consists of a mattress of steel springs, about 50 centimetres high, and the lower part of the capsule is made from concentric metal layers. The whole capsule should weigh about 10 tons.

According to Mr. Carron, this device should be hauled up to the top of the Eiffel Tower, from which it then could be dropped. To break the shock of the impact, a superficial pond has to be dug out in the form of a champagne glass, with a depth of 55 meters and a width of 50 meters. Mr. Carron assures us that the water, in combination with the shockbreakers aboard the capsule, guarantee that the impact will not be inconvenient at all.

... According to Mr. Carron operation would be economically feasible with an ticket price of 20 francs. A small sacrifice for such a once-in-a-lifetime event. And just a fraction of what it costs to enter the Magic Kingdom.

from The Journal of Ride Theory, issue 3.

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