4 September 2014
Over six million visitors in just 16 days. More than 6.7 million litres of beer served. The world's tallest drop tower. Munich's annual Oktoberfest - which begins this year on 20 September - is a showcase of superlatives.
What many may not know is that the ‘Wiesn', as it is colloquially known, is also a celebration of new technologies, a marketplace for patents. A glance at the patent collection of the European Patent Office shows beer taps clearly in the lead with 1 813 patents. There are 285 patents for chicken rotisseries, and even 43 patents on Ferris-wheel technology. Still, most patents remain invisible to the Wiesn's visitors. They are either installed with other components in rides or integrated in beer tents.
Growing visitor numbers also mean higher demands in terms of thrill-packed rides, security and beer consumption. More than enough reason for proprietors and showmen to invest in continuous improvements and new technologies. The result? Many solutions find their way to the EPO as patent applications.
Take the beer tap, for example: anywhere between 60 000 and 70 000 litres of beer can be served in a single day in one beer tent. To help this quantity flow into the tankards more efficiently, many beer tents have started using a patented turbo tap in recent years.
Or think about sitting on a roller coaster and being able to choose where you move next or what music you'd like to hear to get your adrenaline pumping even faster: these futuristic scenarios will soon become reality. Today, visitors can already test out the highest transportable drop tower in the world. After an 80-metre drop, a patented magnetic braking system cushions the landing and carries passengers safely back to the ground.
One of the oldest rides at the Oktoberfest, the ‘Krinoline', is also based on an important innovation: even back in 1938, showman Michael Großmann knew that he needed to make his ride, previously operated using human force alone, more state-of-the-art. He believed it was the only way to satisfy his passengers' growing demands for comfort. Großmann patented the electromechanical motor developed for the Krinoline that very year.
Watch our film to find out how it's possible to fill a tankard in just three seconds, what Krinoline owner Theo Niederländer has to say about the latest trends in carnival rides and which pulse-racing technologies are winning over the Wiesn's ride-goers.