Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Dodgy dodgems

RP&M image store

A photograph taken just over a year after the end of WW2 shows a miniature race track at the shore end of the West Pier. 

These differed from conventional dodgems which pick up electricity from an overhead metal mesh and return it through the conductive rink surface. 

On the West Pier the stadium-shaped track was made of wooden planking separated by narrow metal strips. These strips were of alternating polarity across the track and so provided 'go and return' paths for electricity. Brushes under the cars were spaced across an odd number of planks to contact the metal strips and supply power to the electric motors. Contact tended to be intermittent and there was much sparking when the cars veered across the track; which all added to the excitement. 

I have no idea what voltage was used but at that time direct current motors would have been the norm and much of Brighton was still on a 230V direct current supply. Nevertheless, the attendants used to walk across the track with apparent impunity. Perhaps they had rubber-soled shoes. 

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