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Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters celebrating its critical role in evolution of roller coasters on National Roller Coaster Day

Behind the scenes of Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters on National Roller Coaster Day
Behind the scenes of Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters on National Roller Coaster Day 03:44

HATFIELD, PA (CBS) - As the United States celebrates National Roller Coaster Day, a nearly 120-year-old Montgomery County-based business is celebrating its critical role in the evolution of roller coasters. Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters, which was first established in Germantown in 1904, is one of the oldest active roller coaster manufacturers in the world.

"It's the noise. It's the thrill, the bang, the wind in your ear," Tom Rebbie, President/CEO of Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters (PTC), said. "It feels like it's not safe, but it is safe."

In its century of business, PTC has built hundreds of wooden roller coasters, including Dorney Park's Thunderhawk, Knoebels' Phoenix, and Hershey Park's Comet. They also manufactured carousels and Skee-Ball machines.

PTC no longer designs wooden coasters from scratch. They mainly rehabilitate wooden roller coaster cars, build coaster brake systems and manufacture gates that automatically open up when a roller coaster train rolls into the station.

As for the debate over whether wood or steel is the best type of roller coaster, Rebbie argued wood is the superior option.

"It's a living, breathing organism," Rebbie said. "It expands when it gets wet so the trains will go a little slower. It contracts when it's really hot, and the wood will make the trains go a little bit faster."

He says no coaster hill is as high as the high he gets from watching people after they rode one of his roller coasters.

"People are coming off, and they're like, 'Come on, let's go get in line again!'" Rebbie said. "That makes you feel so good that you build something that thousands of people love."

To view more photos of Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters, visit their website here.

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