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January 20, 2011 / jmeuropeana

roller coaster, Mischa Elman, Guillaume Lekeu

On the 20th of January –

roller coaster invented? Mischa Elman is born; Guillaume Lekeu is born.

The roller coaster was patented by American citizen L.A. Thompson in 1885. Perhaps a bit late, because here is an example of a ‘montagne russe’ in the Jardin Beaujeon in 1819:
Jardin Beaujeon Montagnes françaises (titre inscrit)
Montagnes Françaises. Jardin Beaujon : [dessin] / [Christophe Civeton]
The first of these was erected in 1812 in Paris, with the first looping constructed in 1848 (perhaps not coincidentally a year of many revolutions – pardon the pun). All this just goes to show that US Patents can not always be trusted to show when an invention was actually made – just when someone in the US thought of patenting it. Considering that Apple even claims to have a patent on two-finger gesturing on a computer screen, I think we can all spare two fingers for the American patents system.

In 1891 the violinist Mischa Elman was born in the Ukrain. He was something of a prodigy, but had a quite long and succesful career in adult life as well.
Here is an autographed picture with dedication in 1906, at age 15:

Belgian composer Guillaume Lekeu was born in 1870. He died very young, in 1894.
Guillaume Lekeu (1870-1894) : [portraits et documents]
Audition d'oeuvres de Guillaume Lekeu
Here is a sample of his music:


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