In "Thrill Makers of Coney Island" from this July, 1931 issue of Modern Mechanix, we learn many amazing facts about the high-tech people-hurling technologies being developed for the burgeoning Coney Island amusement park:
Another mechanical ride which brings the owners a rich harvest each season is the Steeplechase. In this sweepstake there are four wooden horses which race around a course which is supposed to represent hill and dale and the riders imagine themselves as embittered jockeys. Two persons ride each saddle.
At the starting point the horses are released down a mild decline and again they are driven by gravity until they reach a gentle slope of a track. Here they are pulled up for about 25 yards by a system of chains and gears, not unlike the method used in the roller coaster, and then when they reach the top of this first hill, they glide off and downhill on their own again.
The horses are placed on two trolley wheels and it is these wheels which whirl them around the whole course after their first descent. Gravity and the wheels do the rest on the 1/2-mile ride.
There are 65 races run off an hour on this mechanical track. Over 5,000 ride these horses daily. Not more than $5.00 worth of electricity is consumed each day.
On the other hand, Coney Island has become so vast that there is a large electrical plant there and one of the biggest gas works in the country. It is estimated that the pleasure colony's electric bill each day is $10,000 and that its gas bill is more than $5,000. Next to the labor item, these are the two outstanding costs of upkeep which disturb the proprietor at Coney Island, who is perhaps the only individual in the universe who can mix pleasure and business and make it pay.