Roger E. Broggie
Roger Broggie.jpg
Born(1908-10-22)October 22, 1908
DiedNovember 4, 1991(1991-11-04) (aged 83)
OccupationMechanical engineer
Years active1939–1975

Roger Edward Broggie (October 22, 1908 – November 4, 1991) was an American mechanical engineer who worked with Walt Disney and the Walt Disney Company. He is considered the first Disney Imagineer.

Early life

Broggie was born in 1908, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He graduated from Mooseheart Child City's high school in the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois in 1927.[1] With vocational machine shop training, he moved to Los Angeles, California where he worked for companies such as Technicolor and Bell and Howell.[1] He worked at General Service Studios with film industry pioneers including David O. Selznick and Charlie Chaplin.[1]

Disney career

In 1939, he joined the Disney Studios as a precision machinist. Broggie's initial assignments included installing the multiplane camera at the new Burbank studio, working with Ub Iwerks on special effects.[2] In 1949, Broggie worked with Walt Disney to create model trains for Disney's 1/2 mile-long Carolwood Pacific Railroad located in the backyard of Disney's home. Broggie is credited with supervising the building of the Lilly Belle, a one-eighth scale miniature working live steam locomotive named for Disney's wife, Lillian.

Promoted to head of the Disney Studios Machine Shop in 1950, Broggie became the transportation specialist. He created the special effects for the film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and as the plans for Disneyland were developed in the early 1950s, he oversaw development of the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad, the Disneyland Monorail, and the Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland. He was instrumental in developing the mechanical aspects of all Disney attractions at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, including the Omnimover ride transit system (with co-developer, Bert Brundage).[3]

He and his machine shop coworkers developed the first fully functioning Audio-Animatronic human figure in the form of a seated Abraham Lincoln in 1963. Between 1973 and 1975, Broggie worked on the EPCOT Center project at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.[4]

After retiring to Carmel, California, he continued to consult for Walt Disney Imagineering. He was named a Disney Legend in 1990 and died on November 4, 1991, at his home in Carmel.


Walt Disney World Railroad No. 3 Roger E. Broggie
Walt Disney World Railroad No. 3 Roger E. Broggie

On October 21, 2003, Michael Broggie and Roger Broggie, Jr rededicated the Walt Disney World Railroad steam locomotive No. 3 Roger E. Broggie in honor of their father.[5] It was the fourth and final locomotive to be overhauled at Tweetsie Railroad in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.[5]

On March 30, 2007, he was honored with a window on Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland. The text reads: "Can Do Machine Works / Mechanical Wonders / Live Steam Engines / Magical Illusions / Cameras / Roger Broggie, Shopmaster / Advisor to the Magic Makers".

See also


  1. ^ a b c Broggie (2014), pp. 129–130.
  2. ^ "Broggie, Roger E." D23: The Official Disney Fan Club. Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  3. ^ Broggie, Roger E.; Brundage, Bert W. (1971). "United States Patent: 3554130 - AMUSEMENT RIDE SYSTEM". USPTO. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  4. ^ Walt Disney's Railroad Story
  5. ^ a b "View from the Cupola..." (PDF). Carolwood Chronicle. Carolwood Pacific Historical Society. Winter 2004. p. 8. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 31, 2017. Retrieved May 31, 2017.