Henry B. Auchy - Founder and President - 1904 to 1922
In 1899, Henry B. Auchy formed The Philadelphia Carousel Company with partner Louis Berni.
Mr. Auchy had previously been a liquor and produce distributor as well as an owner of large properties in Chestnut Hill Park, just north of Philadelphia. The first carousel produced by The Philadelphia Carousel Company was placed in Auchy's park, White City Park.
The first few PTC carousels were actually produced under contract with E. Joy Morris, a Philadelphia designer and inventor of amusement rides.
In 1904 Mr. Auchy and Mr. Chester E. Albright joined forces to create Philadelphia Toboggan Company, their primary business was the production of roller coasters, thus the "Toboggan" name.
Though their focus was on roller coasters, Auchy and Albright, both having involvement in amusements parks, wanted to continue to work with carousels.
In 1907 Philadelphia Toboggan Company began numbering the center poles of their carousels. This feature has made PTC Carousels the easiest to trace.
In 1909 Henry Auchy received a patent for an advancement he made for PTCís carousels. His improvement to the carousal was called the Auchy friction drive, which PTC guaranteed for 25 years. Some carousels today still use the Auchy friction drive fully functioning.
During the early PTC years, Henry B. Auchy leased a number of carousels to parks. Throughout their carousel producing years, 1904-1930, they leased and sold carousels, most made by PTC and some originally produced by other companies and rebuilt by PTC.
PTC hired many German immigrant carvers who produced beautifully carved horses and animals. A few of those carvers went on to start their own carousel companies or to work in other carousel shops. Some of the well-known carvers at PTC were Daniel Muller, Frank Caretta, Leo Zoller, Charles Carmel, Salvatore Cernigliano and John Zalar.
The PTC archives list 90 carousels, however it is thought that about 83 were PTC originals. The remaining few appear to represent machines which were redesigned, rebuilt or redesigned and rebuilt with a sequenced PTC number.
PTC sold their last carousel that they owned and operated to Cedar Point Park in Sandusky, Ohio in 1960.
Henry B. Auchy passed away in September 1922 and PTC ceased the production of carousels in 1930. The company was then left in the hands of Herbert P. Schmeck.
Herbert P. Schmeck - President from 1922 to 1954
Herbert P. Schmeck was born on January 25, 1890 in Berks County, Pennsylvania. He grew up in Reading, Pennsylvania.
Mr. Schmeck started a career in carpentry working at Reading Cabinet Works.
By 1914 Mr. Schmeck found himself working in the amusement industry. He was the manager and operator of the Green Streak roller coaster in Paragon Park located in Nantasket Beach, Massachusetts. He operated the coaster until itís demise in 1916 when it was destroyed by a fire. Paragon Park pledged to build another coaster making it bigger and better.
Philadelphia Toboggan Company was at Paragon Parkís side ready to build, and a new coaster was born. Mr. Schmeck found himself promoted by Paragon Park as foreman of the coasterís construction. Through his new position, Mr. Schmeck became a liaison between Paragon Park and PTC.
The new coaster became known as The Giant Coaster and was opened to the public in 1917. Henry B. Auchy, the President of PTC, was so impressed with Mr. Schmeckís work that he offered him a job. However 1917 was also the year Mr. Schmeck was drafted into the Army to fight in World War I.
Once the war was over and Mr. Schmeck returned home on an honorable discharge he hoped Mr. Auchyís job offered still remained.
On February 1, 1920 Henry B. Auchy appointed Mr. Schmeck Chief Engineer to oversee critical construction of new amusement devices.
In 1922 after Henry B. Auchyís passing, Mr. Schmeck was given permission by the PTC board to start designing roller coasters.
The first roller coaster Mr. Schmeck designed was built in 1923 at Hershey Park (now known as Herseypark) in Hersey, Pennsylvania. It was named the Joy Ride, but later the ride was renamed the Wildcat.
Through the 1920ís, 30ís, and 40ís Mr. Schmeck continued to design and build roller coasters across the United States and keep the company operational even though tough economical times were met throughout the years.
Mr. Schmeck became president of Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1946 after the passing of John Davies, who had held the position of Vice President since 1922.
After Mr. Schmeck had accepted his new role as president of PTC, the 1950ís rolled around and that brought a new interest into the amusement world. Small kiddie parks around the country began to flourish thanks to the baby boomer generation, and junior coasters were high in demand.
On January 20, 1954 Mr. Schmeck resigned from PTC after 34 years of great service. John Allen, a long-time employee, then became president of PTC.
In 1956 Mr. Schmeck passed away from cardiac arrest. He left an unforgettable legacy behind which included designing over 80 roller coasters, a few of which are still in operation today.
On November 17, 1999 The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) recognized Herbert P. Schmeck for all of his contributions to the amusement park industry and inducted Mr. Schmeck into IAAPAís Hall of Fame.
John C. Allen - President from 1954 to 1971
John Allen had dreamed of being an engineer but choose a career in radio and sound amplification after graduating from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He started working at PTC in 1929 when he was contracted to install sound systems in a new fun house the company was building. He then found himself working for PTC and in 1934 moved from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Holyoke, Massachusetts to operate the Mountain Flyer roller coaster at Mountain Park. During his time at Mountain Park Mr. Allen studied the coaster and it's structure carefully.
The following year when he returned to Philadelphia, Mr. Allen became PTC's production manager working under Herbert P. Schmeck. John Allen became the company's main problem solver very quickly. Mr. Allen briefly departed from PTC in the 1940's but then soon returned in the late 1940's. Herbert P. Schmeck stepped down as President in late 1953, and on January 8, 1954 John Allen became PTC's new president.
In 1955 Mr. Allen started designing coasters, his first being a junior coaster. By 1956 three coasters of his junior design were built, the Sea Dragon (one of these three coasters) still remains in operation at Columbus Zoo in Columbus, Ohio.
Through the 1950's Mr. Allen continued to design coasters and kept PTC busy marketing kiddieland rides as a response to a slowing roller coaster industry.
As the 1960's rolled around John Allen's innovations continued with the Golden Nugget of Hunt's Pier. The Golden Nugget was a specialized dark ride and he had developed a tire-based drive system that propelled the cars through the ride. Mr. Allen also made great strides in perfecting the articulating roller coaster train by the mid 1960's.
In 1971 John Allen stepped down as president of PTC, however he remained the company's head designer. The amusement industry began to expand and he continued to design over two-dozen wooden roller coasters, 13 of which still operate today. Many attribute John Allen with the "Coaster Boom" of the 1970's, which reawakened the publics desire for classic wooden roller coasters.
On August 17, 1979 John Allen passed away at the age of 72. His absence was felt greatly by the industry, but his legacy lives on fueling inspiration to those who wish to follow in his footsteps.
Sam High III - President from 1971 to 1991
Samuel (Sam) H. High III was born on March 8, 1934 in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. Raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Mr. High attended Germantown Academy. He then went on to attend Temple University in Philadelphia,Pennsylvania, graduating with a bachelorís degree of engineering in 1956.
In 1957 Sam started working for Philadelphia Toboggan Company, which many saw foreseeable considering Mr. Highís family ties to the company. Samís father, Samuel High Jr., was a majority stockowner in PTC and corporate attorney while Samís grandfather, Samuel High Sr., was the corporate attorney for PTC and helped found the company in 1904.
When Sam worked for PTC he was purchasing officer. Over the years Sam did numerous jobs at PTC; in the office, in the shop, and on site for roller coasters, carousels, and other rides PTC manufactured.
Sam High III became president of Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1971 after John Allen had stepped down for retirement. He then also moved the company from itís Germantown, Pennsylvania location of 69 years to Lansdale, Pennsylvania.
While Sam was president he made many innovations to PTC products. He introduced the ball-and-hitch cars, a new fin brake system, Q-line loading gates, and made many safety adjustments to PTCís coaster cars.
By 1991 Sam High III was ready to retire and looked to sell the company to Tom Rebbie, at that time, his right hand man and his General Manger.
On November 8, 2011 Sam High III passed away at the age of 77.
Thomas D. Rebbie - President from 1991 to Present
Thomas D. Rebbie joined the company in 1977 and moved on to be the General Manager in 1985 under the direction of Sam High III.
In November 1991 Mr. Rebbie purchased the company from Mr. High becoming president/CEO and changed the company name to Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters Inc.