Remember This? Coin operated rides

Dorri Partain
Northeast News

Giddy-up! Young, aspiring buckaroos looked forward to the weekly trip to the grocery store to insert a coin and gallop away, for a few minutes, at least.

Whether these youngsters saved up for the ride or begged their parents to shell out, the coin-operated pony ride was a childhood favorite for generations.

Invented in 1930 by James Hahs, a machinist in Sikeston, Missouri, after he noticed his five children loved riding their rocking horse and knew he could create something more realistic. He crafted a mechanical horse ride, with a real saddle, for their Christmas present that year. Seeing how his children loved it so, he decided to manufacture additional models. While his business, Hans Machine Works, produced lesser known inventions, the “Hahs Gaited Mechanical Horse” was declared the most original invention of the year in 1932.

While the original model, which his children named “Spark Plug”, used a wooden horse from a carousel, the improved version used horses cast from aluminum as the wooden horse proved to be too heavy. Attached to a stationary base, the horse is powered by hydraulics to mimic the gait of galloping horse. The first models were operated by inserting a nickel into the coin slot.

During the heyday of coin-operated “kiddie rides”, 20 manufacturers produced pony rides named Sandy, Champion, and Trigger, Roy Rogers horse from movie and television fame. Other animals followed suit, such as Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, Flipper the dolphin, El Toro the bull, the Esso tiger, and razorback hogs.

Star, the pony pictured, was created by Carousel International Corporation of Eldon, Missouri. Owned by the Veatch family, they created a wide range of mechanical rides from 1968 to 2007, when the company shut down after several deaths in the family. Star is available for rides during regular business hours at U.S. Auto Mart, 5800 E. Truman, for 25 cents.

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • Amarillo by morning!

    July 17th, 2019
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Westward Ho! We’re pressing on to Amarillo, Texas on America’s Main Street for a taste of […]


    Remember This? The Nik-O-Lok

    July 17th, 2019
    by

    Dorri Partain Northeast News Men, have you ever wondered where ladies set all their belongings when they head to the […]


    Remember This? Wooden Nickles

    July 10th, 2019
    by

    Dorri Partain Northeast News Don’t take any wooden nickels- but maybe you should. The popular phrase, “Don’t take any wooden […]


    Westward ho!

    July 10th, 2019
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Leaving My-yam-uh (the proper pronunciation as you wouldn’t want to be called out by locals), we […]


    Crossing into Oklahoma!

    July 3rd, 2019
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Continuing our virtual road trip of historic Route 66, we leave Joplin behind and make the […]


  • Remember This? Beautiful Highway Postage Stamps

    July 3rd, 2019
    by

    Dorri Partain Northeast News During a road trip along the developing interstate highway system, our nation’s First Lady was appalled […]


    Remember This? Cigarette Vending Machines

    June 26th, 2019
    by

    Dorri Partain Northeast News Vending machines make the sale of anything possible, anywhere, anytime. Nearly any cafe, filling station, souvenir […]


    Joplin, our last stop in Missouri!

    June 26th, 2019
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News From Meramec Caverns State Park, Route 66’s paved two-lane surface carries us westward, toward Rolla and […]


    Remember This? Clean Restrooms!

    June 19th, 2019
    by

    Dorri Partain Northeast News A sign perhaps more welcoming than an actual “Welcome” sign. Early highway travelers had their work […]


    Meramec State Park

    June 19th, 2019
    by

      Michael Bushnell Northeast News After crossing the Mississippi River on the Chain of Rocks Bridge, Route 66 loosely followed […]


  • What’s Happening

    BOE postpones consideration of property tax cap proposal

    The Board of Equalization has postponed the consideration of a proposal that would cap the increase in property tax increases at Thursday's BOE meeting.

    Arrests made on Bellaire Avenue early Thursday morning

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News KCPD Officers responded to the 100 block of Bellaire this morning on a sound of shots […]

    Indian Mound Neighborhood Association gets new leadership

    New leadership joins the Indian Mound Neighborhood Association board in Northeast Kansas City.

  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.