Time to see how much you really knew!
Q. What was the first ever fairground ride?
A. Dodgems – 1920’s
The Pleasure Beach at Blackpool had a ‘Dodgem type’ machine in 1913 called the Witching Waves whereby motion was provided by a complex arrangement of tilting floor panels. The Dodgems are based on ideas expressed in a number of similar rides that all involved devices crashing into each other while under the control of “drivers”, or riders.
Q. What year was Candyfloss invented?
A. Machine-spun cotton candy was invented in 1897 by the dentist William Morrison and confectioner John C. Wharton. It was first introduced to a wide audience at the 1904 World’s Fair as “Fairy Floss” with great success, selling 68,655 boxes at 25¢ per box (equivalent to $6 per box today).
Q. Who devised the first steam powered rides?
A. They were Invented in 1868 by Frederick Savage, an agricultural engineer from King’s Lynn, devised a method of driving rides by steam. His invention, a steam engine mounted in the center of the ride, transformed the fairground industry.
Q. What were rides fueled by before this discovery?
A. The first fairground rides began to appear in the eighteenth century, these were small and made of wood and propelled by gangs of boys.
Q. What were traditionally the main Funfair attractions before rides?
In the 19th century, before the development of mechanical attractions, sideshows were the mainstay of most funfairs. Typical shows included menageries of wild animals, freak shows, wax works, boxing/wrestling challenges and theatrical shows.
Q. What year were Funfair’s first introduced in the UK?
A. The Great Exhibition of 1851 in Hyde Park was perhaps the first iconic event of this kind, but the Victorian age saw the growth of the Great Showman and the quality touring fairs and circuses.
Q. What is the oldest and most traditional fairground prize?
A. A goldfish in a bag
Q. What is the name of the world famous French Funfair Museum?
A. Musée des Arts Forains
Q. Why is it called a Helter Skelter?
A. The term “helter-skelter” was first recorded in the United Kingdom at Hull Fair in October 1905, taking its name from the much older adverb meaning “in confused, disorderly haste”.
Q. When was the first ever Funfair?
A. What is documented is that during the Middle Ages in Europe, there were chartered fairs. These were essentially trade shows that took place roughly between 1200 and 1400. They were gatherings of international traders and their wares, and subsequently included entertainers. It is likely that funfairs are the descendants of chartered fairs.