Guide to the Aurel Vaszin Papers

Aurel Vaszin Papers
Wright State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives
Phone: 937-775-2092
Vaszin, Aurel, 1885-1979
0.5 linear feet
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.
The records are in English

Biography of Aurel Vaszin

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.

Scope and Content

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.

Statement of Arrangement

The collection is arranged by format, then chronologically within each format.

Restrictions on 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.

Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on accessing materials in this collection.

Subject Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


Amusement rides


Vaszin, Aurel, 1885-1979


Forest Park Zoological Gardens (Dayton, Ohio)
National Amusement Device Company (Dayton, Ohio)

Material Types:

Newspaper clippings

Preferred Citation

[Description of item, Date, Box #, Folder #], MS-98, Aurel Vaszin Papers, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio

Acquisition Information

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.

Other Finding Aid

The finding aid is available on the Special Collections & Archives, Wright State University Libraries web site at It is also available in the OhioLINK Finding Aid Repository at

Collection Inventory

Box 1 / Folder 1
News Articles (8 items), 1928-1979

Box 1 / Folder 2
Professional Documents : Masonic membership documents, 1928

Box 1 / Folder 2
Professional Documents : Meritorious service documents, 1948-1960

Box 1 / Folder 2
Professional Documents : War Department letter of quality control rating, 1942

Box 1 / Folder 3
Photographs: posed portraits and postcards of amusement rides (15 items), circa 1950-1970