Anton Schwarzkopf (8 July 1924 – 30 July 2001) was a German engineer of amusement rides, and founder of the Schwarzkopf Industries Company, which built numerous amusement rides and large roller coasters for both amusement parks and traveling funfairs.
Anton Schwarzkopf was introduced into the industry with his father's involvement with the design of specialized trailers used to transport circus equipment. Around 1954, the company transitioned into creating amusement rides.
In 1957, Anton Schwarzkopf built his first attraction, the Düsenspirale, a roller coaster that traveled around Germany with funfair showman Löffelhardt. In 1960, he took over his father's company, leading to the creation of his first full scale steel roller coaster, The Wildcat, in 1964. In 1970, the first Jet Star II was built for German showman Rick. This ride was the first of many built by the company to feature an electric spiral lift hill. But 1976, Schwarzkopf, along with ride engineer Werner Stengel, created one of their most ground breaking attractions, the famous Revolution roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain in California, the first steel roller coaster ever fitted with a vertical loop. This led to the looping roller coaster becoming one of Schwarzkopf's signature attractions, with a few notable examples following soon after: King Kobra at Kings Dominion in Virginia in 1977, both the world's first Shuttle Loop and launched roller coaster, Shockwave at Six Flags Over Texas in 1978, the first double loop roller coaster, and the Looping Star in Germany, the first traveling looping roller coaster, which also opened in 1978.
Schwarzkopf Industries grew rapidly with the vast support of various customers praising the company's creations. Throughout the 1970s and notably the 80s, the company became quite a popular name at carnivals, particularly those in Western Europe, producing a number of extremely large transportable rides during this time, including Alpina Bahn in 1983, Dreier Looping (Roughly "Triple Loop" in English) in 1984, Thriller in 1986, and Olympia Looping (Designed by Schwarzkopf but built by BHS) in 1989, all of which premiered in Germany. Outside of Germany, the company was represented by the Intamin firm, and as a result, many older rides credited to Intamin were actually designed and created by Schwarzkopf. Unfortunately, Anton Schwarzkopf's prowess as a businessman was relatively lacking, and his company suffered through several bankruptcies, resulting in the scrapping of many designs and deals with parks. Thiller was the last ride to built by the company before it shut in the mid-late 80's, with portions of the ride being completed by BHS, who, along with Zierer, constructed a few Schwarzkopf designs in the late 80's, including the Bavarian Mountain Railroad roller coasters and the before mentioned Olympia Looping.
Although Schwarzkopf is most famous for roller coasters, the company also produced a number of popular flat rides, including the Bayern Kurve, the Enterprise, and the Monster.
Anton Schwarzkopf retired from the industry in 1995, and died on 30 July 2001, after suffering from Parkinson's disease for many years.
There are a number of notable people from the amusement industry who have either worked with or have relations to Anton Schwarzkopf. His brother, Franz Schwarzkopf, was also a ride designer at around the same time as Anton, and designed many staples of the both amusement parks and carnivals alike, such as the Wave Swinger. His son, Wieland Schwarzkopf became involved with the industry as well, starting out at Schwarzkopf and later starting his own business in 1984. Wieland's company mostly provided parts and services for his father's rides, but had a few of its own attractions, such as the Sound Factory, a short lived version of the popular Monster ride with looping cars. Werner Stengel got his start with the Schwarzkopf company, and later went on to become one of the most prestigious designers of roller coasters and amusement rides. He was still heavily involved with most of Schwarzkopf's attractions. Hurbert Gerstlauer, founder and namesake of Gerstlauer Amuesment Rides GmbH, was an employee of Schwarzkopf before starting his own company in 1982. Gerstlauer's manufacturing is still done at the former Schwarzkopf facility in Münsterhausen, Bavaria.
Despite their age and shrinking numbers, Schwarzkopf rides are still very popular with both guests and operators alike. Many Schwarzkopf's have become icons of the parks they are located at, such as Revolution at Six Flags Magic Mountain and Whizzer at Six Flags Great America, both of which have received the American Coaster Enthusiasts' "Coaster Landmark" award. Roller coaster enthusiasts often praise Schwarzkopf roller coasters for their smoothness, notable intensity (often thanks to the more circular loop design, which, at certain points, can often exert well over 5, if not sometimes 6g's of force on the rider), and overall beauty.
This list shows many of the rides that Anton Schwarzkopf is noted for:
- Aconcagua - Parque de la Ciudad (Custom Super Speedracer model)
- Alpenblitz - Parque de la Ciudad (Alpenblitz II model)
- Alpina Bahn - large portable non-looping coaster (Custom Speed Racer model), found on the German funfair circuit.
- Big Bad Wolf - Busch Gardens Williamsburg (the original Schwarzkopf design was scrapped about 1/3 into construction, an Arrow Dynamics designed was built soon after, now defunct)
- Big Roller Coaster - Dima Ostrov
- Black Hole - Alton Towers (formerly "Black Hole II", a Jet Star 2 model. After refurbishment by another German amusement rides company, Gerstlauer, the ride was installed at the Swedish Park, "Furuvik" in 2011, as the ride Rocket with a striking repaint, consisting of Red Track and Blue Supports (RCDB, 2014).)
- Broca - Parque Nacional Del Café (formerly located at Worlds of Fun as Zambezi Zinger, one of two surviving Speed Racer models)
- The Bullet, Flamingo Land. First operated 1991 and removed in 2005. The ride is now operating again at Selva Magica, in Mexico, after refurbishment, as "Bullet" from December 2013 (RCDB, 2014)
- Cascabel - La Feria Chapultepec Magico (Shuttle Loop model)
- Colossus the Fire Dragon - Lagoon Amusement Park (Double Looping model, with additional trackway curve)
- Enigma - Pleasurewood Hills (World's only Jumbo V coaster)
- Dante's Inferno - Astroland
- Dreier Looping, renamed Magnum Force and then Montaña Infinitum - 3 loop coaster, which toured German funfairs before being sold to Flamingo Land and then La Feria Chapultepec Magico where it currently resides.
- Golden Loop (Originally Named White Lightnin') at Gold Reef City in Johannesburg, South Africa.
- Greezed Lightnin’ - Kentucky Kingdom (Shuttle Loop model) Formerly located as Six Flags Great America as The Tidal Wave (1978-1991).
- Greezed Lightnin' - AstroWorld - not to be confused with the ride of the same name in Kentucky, this was a flywheel launched shuttle loop built in 1978. Is now in storage.
- Greased Lightnin' - a third model with a slightly different spelling, this model operated at California's Great America but is now in pieces. Formerly ran as The Tidal Wave.
- Jet Star (Särkänniemi roller coaster) - Last Jet Star roller coaster ever built, closed down in 2012 (RCDB, 2014).
- Jet Star 2 - Lagoon Amusement Park (Jet Star 2 model)
- Jumbo Jet - Cedar Point
- Jumbo Jet - Morey's Piers
- Katapul - Hopi Hari (Shuttle Loop model, formerly King Kobra at Kings Dominion and Thunder Looper at Alton Towers)
- Knightmare - Camelot Theme Park (Custom Design)
- Laser (roller coaster) - Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom (Double Looping model) Closed at the end of 2008
- Lisebergbanan - Liseberg in Sweden (custom design, also noted for being Anton Schwarzkopf's favorite roller coaster)
- Looping Star - Nagashima Spa Land
- Looping Star Dreamland Margate UK(1982)
- Looping Star - Playcenter - São Paulo - Brasil
- Mind Bender (Six Flags Over Georgia) - Six Flags over Georgia
- Mindbender (Galaxyland) - Galaxyland at the West Edmonton Mall
- Montezooma's Revenge - Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California
- Nightmare at Crack Axle Canyon - The Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom (Jet Star model) (SBNO)
- Nightmare at Phantom Cave - Darien Lake (Jet Star Model) (Defunct)
- Olympia Looping - Portable roller coaster, the largest in the world
- Rat Ride (now Raptor Attack) - Lightwater Valley (Wildcat model)
- Ripper - Thrill-Ville USA (Jet Star Model originally at the Santa Cruz Beach Board Walk, now defunct.)
- Scorpion (roller coaster) - Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
- Shock Wave - Six Flags Over Texas
- Shuttle Loop - Nagashima Spa Land (Shuttle Loop model)
- SooperDooperLooper - Hersheypark
- Thriller - A portable multi-looper.
- The New Revolution - Six Flags Magic Mountain The world's first modern looping roller coaster.
- Twist N' Shout - Loudoun Castle (Silverarrow model, SBNOl)
- Viper - Six Flags Astroworld (Looping Star model) demolished in 2005
- Whizzer - Six Flags Great America (formerly "Willard's Whizzer", a Speed Racer model same as World of Fun)
- Wild Cat - Parque de la Ciudad A 54m Wildcat model (SBNO since 2008)
- WildCat - Cedar Point A 65m Wildcat model that features two vertical spirals. Operated 1979-2011
- WildCat - Owned by Wadeshows, currently the only traveling Schwarzkopf roller coaster in the United State.
- Zambezi Zinger (Speed Racer model same as Whizzer) Worlds of Fun. Was removed in 1997 after it stood for 25 years. Formerly had the longest standing time of any roller coaster at the park, until Timber Wolf took the title in 2014
- Orbit (Enterprise) - Six Flags Great America, formerly the Orleans Orbit upon opening of Marriott's Great America.
- Orbit (Enterprise) - California's Great America.
- Wheelie (Enterprise) - Six Flags Over Georgia , Operated from 1977-2012. Removed to make room for SkyScreamer, Now at Funspot in Orlando.
- Enterprise - Attractiepark Slagharren.
- Bayern Kurve - Kennywood.
- Berserker (Bayern Kurve) - California's Great America.
- Centrifuge(Calypso III) - California's Great America.
- Fiddler's Fling (Calypso III) - Six Flags Great America.
- The Lobster (Monster III) - Six Flags Great America.
- A Shuttleboat ride (name?) at Bobbejaanland, defunct.
- Apollo (Apollo 14) - Attractiepark Slagharren, one of two originally built at the park, both were converted to swing rides at some point and one of the sides ended up at Loudoun Castle.
- Octopus (Monster II) - Attractiepark Slagharren.
- Sky Tower (Zepplin II) - Attractiepark Slagharren, later converted into an observation tower.
- Monorail - Attractiepark Slagharren.
- Riesenrad (Ferris Wheel 50m) - Famous Oktoberfest Ferris Wheel, owned by showman Willenborg.