Tilt-A-Whirl History

You know that tilt-a-whirl down on the south beach drag
I got on it last night and my shirt got caught
And they kept me spinnin’
Didn’t think I’d ever get off

Bruce Springsteen – 4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) 1973

My favorite carnival ride ever is the Tilt-A-Whirl. When the carnival came to town I would use all of my tickets to ride on the Tilt-A-Whirl.

After a few years, you would pay one price and get stamped. I would get off the Tilt a Whirl and get right back on again. If I were rich I would get one for the back yard. I am terrified of heights but I love spinning.

Herbert W. Sellner, a woodworker, and maker of water slides invented the Tilt-A-Whirl in 1926 at his Faribault, Minnesota, home.

Sellner got his inspiration in his kitchen. He would put his young son, Art, on a chair on the table and move the table around. If he could make his son giggle with glee, Herb wondered, why not spread the joy?

The spinning ride debuted the next year at the 1927 Minnesota state fair, the same year Sellner Manufacturing opened a factory in Faribault and began a production run that would eventually churn out more than 1,000 Tilt-a-Whirls.

Nearly 700 of the rides are still in use. The oldest known working example is a 1927 model. In 2011, Sellner Manufacturing was sold to a company in Texas, where Tilt-a-Whirls are still being made.

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

28 thoughts on “Tilt-A-Whirl History”

  1. I didn’t know they were called Tilt a Whirl. Cool name. I love riding on these with the kids. That was interesting little segment about their origin. Who knows when we will be able to venture to the amusement parks again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is fun because it’s the surprise of it all…sometimes you spin some…sometimes alot. It totally depends on gravity and where you are sitting.


    2. Dave, you’re really missing out on this one. It gets a “giggler” going in your stomach and it is sheer delight. I know Max knows that feeling. I used to get it on the Himalaya also.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I start feeling queasy on these things, if they spin – but I don’t mind rides that go up and down. When I went to Disney in LA (years ago) I was practically the only one there that day for some reason, and I went round on “It’s a small world” seven times! My kind of ride!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I went to Disney in Orlando in 2009…I loved It’s A Small World! It looked totally unchanged from decades before…but I did sing that song the rest of the trip.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was there in 1977 prior to Epcot. The song does get stuck in your head. The dolls were fascinating.

        Did you ever go into the GE Theatre (what it was called back then), with the animatronic characters (I think that was the term they used)?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I never saw that but my favorite thing was Epcot. I loved that to death. I hung out in the British part and had fish and chips…I want to go back there.


      3. Vic you would love Epcot. Very educational and they employ people from each country to be there…which is really cool

        Liked by 1 person

  3. And, there goes a staggering Max…

    I like the spinners, too…Open Bucket at Carowinds, Tilt-a-Whirl at the State Fair, the big spinning thing that look like a giant pie pan at King’s Dominion… I even like the big, rocking boats that sometimes completely flip over. Here is another one that looks like fun:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All of these were not in the panel… I’m glad you got me checking these.
      I like the Round Up…where you stand, the spider, Scrambler but it’s quite dull sometimes…I get high off of spinning.


    1. We had a wooden one in Nashville called the Skyliner. My sister who is a daredevil… got me on it one time with my dad. I said then….”God if you get me off of this…never again”…God and I are good on that to this day.

      Lisa there is something about Carnivals at night that is magical

      Liked by 1 person

      1. lol on your deal with God. Yes, I love those nighttime carnivals. The kids (they were grown at that time) and I went to Cedar Point one year at Halloween time and met up with some of their friends and stayed overnight. They had it all decorated and a scary haunted pathway. With the place lit up it was really cool.

        Liked by 1 person

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