Remembering Robert Cartmell
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Posted by: Tim Baldwin
ACE has lost one of its giants. Long before guide books or the internet made searching for the latest and greatest roller coaster a possibility, Robert Cartmell led the way in roller coaster research. With his 1974 New York Times article, “The Quest for the Ultimate Roller Coaster,” Cartmell began bringing together like-minded coaster enthusiasts for the first time. Cartmell recently passed away on September 11, 2018. He was 85.
Born in Los Angeles, Cartmell lived throughout the United States with his military family. Following service with the U.S. Air Force in Korea, Cartmell received his B.F.A. at the University of Chicago and his M.A. and M.F.A. from the University of Iowa. He became a professor emeritus of art at the State University of New York at Albany and had a career in teaching printmaking, painting and drawing.
Aside from being an internationally recognized artist, Cartmell took on a greater role as the first renowned authority on roller coasters. Launched to fame with his New York Times article, “The Quest for the Ultimate Roller Coaster,” he joined other aficionados as American Coaster Enthusiasts was formed in 1978.
Cartmell’s long-awaited book, The Incredible Scream Machine, became an invaluable resource in teaching young and eager enthusiasts the history of roller coasters. For the first time, a wellspring of coaster information was made available to both fans and the public.
Art and roller coasters will blend as his legacy. Those interested in seeing his artwork, often involving roller coasters, can find images in RollerCoaster! issue No. 30/Fall 1989.
Long-time members will miss Cartmell the most, but in many significant ways, he has touched ACE forever.
Photo: Source unknown. View full-sized image.