As many of you are aware, we made a bumpy addition to our park last year. Ever since, our patrons have been flocking to our bumper cars to collide with friends and family alike in an experience that offers nothing but pure joy. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill bumper cars, however. These round, spinning cars offer a new and exciting experience that it couldn’t offer when bumper cars were first invented. So, what were these original cars like? And when was it first devised? Join Charleston Fun Park, located in Mount Pleasant, SC, as we explore the rich and bumpy history of these fun inducing vehicles.
The genesis of bumper cars is a debated issue. Some claim that Victor Levand from General Electric lays claim to the attraction, while others state that it was Max and Harold Stoehrer. What is not up for debate is that the original patent came from the Stoehrer Brothers, and the rest, as they say, is history.
- December 1920 – The Stoehrer Brothers file for the patent of bumper cars.
- As is often the case, these cars were not the embodiment of safe fun that they are now. The cars were originally made of tin and came apart almost as often as they were used.
- Considered “unmanageable” by Scientific American, bumper cars were swiftly given a few upgrades to improve its poor reputation of safety.
- Late 1920’s – The Lusse Brothers’ Auto-Skooter came shortly after the Stoehrer Brothers’ patented their Dodgem cars, and offered some stiff competition.
- The Auto-Skooter became a crowd favorite, and was considered by many to be the best design on the market.
- 1970’s – Dodgem runs into financial issues and was bought out by another company.
- 1990’s – The Auto-Skooter, like Dodgem, found itself in financial woes and had to sell out to another company.
- Many offshoots have been made since the bumper car’s conception. Attractions like bumper boats have become very popular, but the cars still reign supreme.
- Today – We are seeing new bumper car technology that takes the fun to another level. With 360 degrees of rotation and bumpers that help avoid the characteristic whiplash of days past, these cars are nothing but pure joy!