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Eli Bridge Company

Updated on January 30, 2017. 

This is my regular Tuesday series about ride manufacturers who have made rides for Hersheypark. Today’s article is about Eli Bridge Company.

Eli Bridge Company is a well known manufacturer of Ferris wheels and a type of flat ride called a Scrambler. Based in Jacksonville, Illinois, the company was founded as a bridge manufacturer. In 1900, W.E. Sullivan, owner of Eli Bridge Company, and James H. Clements, released their first “Big Eli” Ferris wheel. Eli Bridge debuted the Scrambler in 1955.

There are a number of Big Eli wheels that have operated or continue to operate in Pennsylvania. To see a list, click here.

American Carpenter and Builder, Volume 19 (p141)
From American Carpenter and Builder, Volume 19, page 141.

Hersheypark has had several of these types of rides, with the park still having a Scrambler and a Mini-Scrambler.

Scrambler was installed in Carrousel Circle in 1972. The ride arrived at the park on April 1, 1972, after the contract was signed for the purchase of the ride on November 4, 1971. The ride cost $133,760. In the R. Duell & Associates renovations plan for the park, Scrambler was number 3207 (the leading “3” represented Carrousel Circle).

Mini Scrambler 2016
Mini Scrambler in 2016.

Mini-Scrambler was purchased by the park in 2002 and used during Christmas Candylane. it was permanently installed in Pioneer Frontier for the 2003 season.

Hersheypark also owned two other Eli Bridge rides, the Twin Ferris Wheels. These were #16 model wheels which were cataloged as #900 and #901. They were installed in Hersheypark in 1950 and were removed following the 1974 season. They were later sold to an individual in Maryland. You can read more about Twin Ferris Wheels here.

Update

January 30, 2017:

Since I published this article, I rediscovered a ride Hersheypark rented for the first Candylane event in 1983. This particular ride was rented from Majestic Midways owned by Mr .Jake Inners. The ride was a kiddie Ferris wheel manufactured by Eli Bridge called a Little Wheel.

Another picture of Little Wheel.
Little Wheel, at Hersheypark Christmas Candylane in 1983. Photo courtesy of Hershey-Derry Township Historical Society.

The ride only operated at Hersheypark in November-December 1983, when the ride was not even a year old itself. More can be read about Little Wheel here.


To read more about other ride manufacturers that have made rides for Hersheypark, click here.

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Harry Michelson View All

I have a wide variety of interests, from sports to politics, music to Star Trek. I write about the history of amusement parks. Right now I am focused on Hersheypark.

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