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Aurel Vaszin Papers

Identifier: MS-98

Scope and Contents

The Aurel Vaszin Papers, 1928-1979, address the accomplishments and international reputation of the Dayton designer and manufacturer of amusement rides and equipment. He is primarily remembered for introducing steel into roller coasters, increasing their size and popularity significantly, and for designing a variety of miniature, trackless trains. By following his career, the evolution of amusement parks from roller coasters, Ferris wheels and carrousels, to the large theme parks like Disneyland can be observed.

The material is arranged chronologically by type of document and contains numerous news clippings, feature articles, posed photographs, commercial postcards, and certificates of merit for trade involvements. Recent feature articles are helpful in placing Vaszin’s contributions within the scope of 20th century amusement trends, particularly when contrasted with a January, 8, 1928 article recounting his early life, pursuit and philosophy.


  • Creation: 1928-1979


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on accessing material in this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biographical Note

Aurel “Dutch” Vaszin was born in Romania in April, 1885. When he came to the United States in 1904, he was a cabinet maker with a sixth grade education. He first came to Dayton, Ohio in 1913 as a craftsman employed by an amusement park development firm headquartered in New Haven, Connecticut. After completing his assignment on the Lakeside Amusement Park, Lakeside Drive and Gettysburg Road, he planned to return to Dayton to establish his own business. As a result, he developed and opened the Forest Park Zoological Gardens on 43 acres located off of North Main Street. The Park was forced to close in 1935, a casualty of the Depression Era.

Vaszin’s firm, the National Amusement Device Company, located at 139 Hatfield Street for more than 60 years, was one of two leading manufacturers of amusement park rides and equipment in the country. In 1964, Vaszin designed and developed the world’s largest roller coaster, called “Russian Mountain” for Chapultepec Park in Mexico City, Mexico.

The business was sold in April, 1973, but Vaszin stayed on as a consultant until his death on May 15, 1979. He was survived by two sisters in Romania.


0.5 linear feet

Language of Materials



Vaszin was a Dayton designer and manufacturer of amusement rides and equipment. His papers include clippings concerning his business, certificates of merit for trade involvements, and a small collection of photographs.


Arranged by format, then chronologically within each format.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated to Special Collections and Archives, Wright State University Libraries, by Mrs. Eva Berry, a friend of Aurel Vaszin, in April 1980.

Guide to the Aurel Vaszin Papers (MS-98)
Patricia R. Shama
1981 June
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2020 March: The finding aid was revised according to DACS standards by Lisa Rickey

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Wright State University Libraries
Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA