Carvers and Manufacturers

                

       Illions                 Looff            Stein/ Goldstein          Dentzel

 

During the golden age of carousels, several companies were manufacturing the machine in the United States. Many of the companies (see below) were major manufacturers each turning out a hundred or more carousels, but many were small and made only a few. Some of the minor carousel manufacturers not listed below are Owen and Margeson of Hornellsville, NY (now Hornell, NY), Gottfried Bungarz Stage, Wagon and Carrousele Works in Brooklyn, New York, Gillie, Godard and Company in Tonawanda, NY, and The Queen City Carousselle Company, the Gem Novelty Company (later named the United States Merry-Go-Round Company) and the Cincinnati Merry-Go-Round Company all in Cincinnati.

 

There were many skilled artisans, most European immigrants, carving horses, menagerie animals, rounding boards (crestings, shields, rims, cornices) and facades in the United States. Several carvers often worked for a single company and many carvers moved from shop to shop or supplied figures to more than one company. Most figures were not signed, the carvers were never indexed and records have been destroyed or lost. Thus, it is often “pure guesswork” assigning figures to specific carvers. Many carvers such as Charles I. D. Looff were also manufacturers who made the complete machine while other carvers such as Marcus Illions teamed with another company that made the platform, frame and machinery. Illions and William Mangels had a relationship that resulted in several carousels. The W. F. Mangels Company, E. Joy Morris, M. D. Borelli, T. M. Harton, Fred Dolle,  Henry Dorber and Kremer’s Carousel Works made carousel platforms, frames and mechanisms, but all their figures were supplied by either private artisans or by artisans in their employ.

 

Major carvers and manufacturers are listed alphabetically by last name below.

 

Charles Carmel

Charles Carmel, born in Russia in 1865, immigrated to the United States in 1883 where he settled in Brooklyn, NY. As a carver, trained in his homeland, Carmel easily found employment in Charles Looff’s and Willam Mangels’ carousel shops. During his time with Looff, Carmel met another master carver, Marcus Charles Illions, who was also working there. Carmel left the Looff Carousel Company when Looff moved to East Providence, Rhode Island and joined the employ of Solomon Stein and Harry Goldstein. In 1905, Charles Carmel left Stein and Goldstein and opened his own carving facility at 202 Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn. Carving independently, until 1920, he sold his horses to carousel frame manufacturers including William Mangels, Stein and Goldstein, Frederick Dolle and M. D. Borelli, the Murphy brothers, and the Philadelphia Toboggan Company.

 

http://gesacarouselofdreams.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/carmelth.jpg

 

Charles Carmel

 

Often borrowing from the styles of other carvers such as Marcus Charles Illions, Charles Looff and Stein and Goldstein, Carmel had very high standards and his horses appear realistic with windswept manes and are beautifully decorated. They are liberally adorned with fish scale blankets, feathers, tassels and armor. Trappings, bridles and saddles were often adorned with jewels. (It is thought that the jewels may have been added by platform manufacturers such as Borelli since Carmel did not like jewels and used them very sparingly.) Their stature has been described as powerful, strong and aggressive. Secondary carvings such as eagles, rabbits and game birds often adorn his horses. The flowing mane and batwing saddle became two of his own signature design innovations, although due to his adoption of the numerous traits from other carvers, Carmel’s horses may be difficult to distinguish.

 

A Carmel horse from Rye Playland, Rye, New York

 

Charles Carmel died of cancer in 1931 (or 1933), but his legacy lives on. His work may currently be seen on carousels at Rye Playland in Rye, New York and at Knoebel’s Grove in Elysburg, Pennsylvania. The carousel in New Haven, Connecticut is a mixture of horses some of which are Carmel’s.

 

For further reading:

 

Dinger, Charlotte. 1983. Art of the Carousel. Green Village, NJ: Carousel Art, Inc. ISBN 0-914507-00-1

Manns, William, Stevens, Marianne, Shank, Peggy. 1986. Painted Ponies. Millwood, NY: Zon International Publishing. ISBN 0-939549-01-9

http://carousels.org/Carvers_Builders.html

http://gesacarouselofdreams.com/about/carousel-background/

http://www.silverbeachcarousel.com/about-us/carousel-history

http://www.carouselmuseum.com/business.html

http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/where-have-the-carousel-animals-gone-antique-merry-go-rounds-fight-extinction/

 

 

Frank Carretta                                       

Frank Carretta immigrated to Philadelphia from Italy as a fourteen year old boy to live with friends after his father died.  Carretta found work first as a cabinetmaker in a furniture factory but found little stimulation from the trade because he was unable to use his fertile imagination. Carretta joined the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1903 but only stayed a few months before joining the Dentzel Company where he worked for six years before rejoining the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in about 1912 where he became a master carver and continued to work until the 1940s. His horses were large, powerful, elaborate and intricate in detail.

 

Frank Carretta

 

Carretta loved carving horses because children liked to ride horses better than menagerie animals. In an interview, Carretta said: “What better thing can a man do than make children happy?”*

 

Some of the horses on the Philadelphia Toboggan Company #80 carousel in Holyoke, Massachusetts were carved by Carretta. The chariots on the Philadelphia Toboggan Company #85 Paragon carousel in Hull, Massachusetts were probably carved by Carretta.

 

One of the chariots of the Paragon carousel, Hull, Massachusetts, probably carved by Caretta

 

*This quote is from an article we located on Google Images. The source of the article is unknown, but seems to have been from an interview of Carretta by Edwin W. Teale.

 

For further information:

Dinger, Charlotte. 1983. Art of the Carousel. Green Village, NJ: Carousel Art, Inc. ISBN 0-914507-00-1

Hinds, Anne Dion. 1990. Grab the Brass Ring: The American Carousel. New York: Crown Pub.

Hopkins, Roland. 2006 Convention visits Minnesota and the Dakotas. Carousel News & Trader, November 20, 2006.

 

 

Salvatore Cernigliaro

Salvatore “CherniCernigliaro (1879-1974) was a cabinet maker from Italy who specialized in carving ornamentation. He immigrated to Philadelphia in 1902 (or 1903) at the age of twenty-three. He found employment with the E. Joy Morris Carroussel Company. In 1903, when the company was sold, Cernigliaro found employment with Gustav Dentzel. Although the Dentzel carousels had a variety of menagerie animals, it was Cernigliaro who introduced cats, ostriches, pigs and rabbits. Cernigliaro was given free rein to innovate new designs. He carved the entire animal including decorative flowers, straps, and drapery and introduced secondary carvings to the Dentzel Company. He was the first to carve armor.  Cernigliaro is credited with inventing the Arabian horse. While with the Dentzel Carousel Company, Cernigliaro worked closely with Albert and Daniel Muller with whom he became very close friends. When the Dentzel Carousel Company temporarily closed after Gustav Dentzel’s death in 1909, Cernigliaro worked for the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, carved propellers to aid in the war effort and tripled his weekly wage. After the war, he went back to work for the Dentzel Carousel Company. Soon after the Dentzel Carousel Company closed in 1928, Cernigliaro moved to California to teach the art of carving.

 

http://carouselhistory.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Master-carousel-carver-Salvatore-Cherni-Cernigliaro.jpg

Salvatore Cernigliaro

 

A cat from the Pullen Park, Raleigh, North Carolina carousel probably carved by Cernigliaro

 

For further information:

 

Dinger, Charlotte. 1983. Art of the Carousel. Green Village, NJ: Carousel Art, Inc. ISBN 0-914507-00-1

Fraley, Tobin and Gary K. Wolf, Carousel Animals: Artistry in Motion. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2002.

Fried, Frederick. 1964. A Pictorial History of the Carousel. Vestal, NY: The Vestal Press Ltd. ISBN 0-911572-29-5.

The Salvatore “CherniCernigliaro Letters. September, October and November, 2004 The Carousel News & Trader. http://carouselhistory.com/the-cherni-salvatore-cernigliaro-letters

Weedon, Geoff and Richard Ward. 1981. Fairground Art. London: White Mouse Editions, Ltd.

 

Andrew Christian

Andrew Christian (circa 1825-1871) was an American toymaker who started his business, Andrew Christian & Sons, at 65 Maiden Lane in Brooklyn, New York City circa 1856. The manufacturing was located at 87 - 93 Mangin Street in Brooklyn. In the area business directories, the company was listed variously as a maker of toys, hobby horses, spring horses, perambulators, carriages, cabs, rocking horses, propellers and sleighs. The earliest reference to a Christian carousel is 1870. It is thought that Christian and Charles Dare (see below) worked together for a year beginning in 1867 or 1868 during which time the Watch Hill, Rhode Island carousel was manufactured.

 

An Advertising Medal. From: Benjamin, William and Barbara Williams. 2016. Andrew Christian and Charles W. F. Dare. Carousel History. http://carouselhistory.com/andrew-christian-and-charles-w-f-dare/

 

After Christian’s untimely death in 1871, control of the company was assumed by Hoffmire, Kelsey & Cornwell. By 1876, Charles Dare (see below) is listed as occupying the Mangin Street buildings. Thus, it is probable that Dare purchased the Hoffmire, Kelsey & Cornwell company.

From: Benjamin, William and Barbara Williams. 2016. Andrew Christian and Charles W. F. Dare. Carousel History. http://carouselhistory.com/andrew-christian-and-charles-w-f-dare/

 

A Christian horse from the Watch Hill, Rhode Island carousel

 

For further information:

Benjamin, William and Barbara Williams. 2016. Andrew Christian and Charles W. F. Dare. Carousel History. http://carouselhistory.com/andrew-christian-and-charles-w-f-dare/

 

Charles W. F. Dare

Charles W. F. Dare (1834 - 1896) was originally (circa 1858-1859) a manufacturer of children's toys, primarily carriages, rocking horses and carousels. Dare may very well have been the first carousel manufacturer in America. In 1867, his retail/manufacturing business was at 47 Cortlandt Street in Manhattan and listed as selling/manufacturing hobby horses. Dare probably produced his first carousel between 1867 and 1875. Determining the date that Dare made his first carousel is complicated by the apparent interchangeability of the terms “hobby horse” and “carousel horse”. By 1872 and 1876, manufacturing was at 62 Kent Street in Brooklyn and 87-93 Mangin Street in Brooklyn, respectively. The manufacturing location of 87-93 Mangin Street shows the connection between Andrew Christian and Charles Dare who previously occupied the same site. In 1884, the name of the company was changed to C. W. F. Dare Company. By 1889, Dare was concentrating on carousels and had established the New York Carousel Manufacturing Company at 234-236 Kent Street in Brooklyn after the C. W. F. Dare Company was found to be insolvent. In 1890, the New York Carousel Manufacturing Company acquired the assets of the insolvent C. W. F. Dare Company. Two years after Dare’s death in 1896, the New York Carousel Manufacturing Company was also insolvent.

Dare Company Letterhead

Dare is credited with designing and popularizing the county fair style of carousel: simple, plain, sturdy, light weight and easily portable and storable. The carousels were manufactured for travelling the countryside to county fairs, carnivals and special events. His “flying horses” were mounted on chains and rods so that as the mechanism rotated, centrifugal force would allow the horses to “fly” outward. The Flying Horses Carousel, a National Historic Landmark, located in Watch Hill, Rhode Island is an example. Dare also made swinging platform carousels and traditional platform carousels.

Note center metal rod (white) and rear chain (white). From the Watch Hill, Rhode Island carousel

 

The Dare Flying Horses carousel at Watch Hill, Rhode Island

Dare horses and figures have been described as crude, primitive and “toy-like”. All of Dare’s horses have a characteristic martingale on the breast. His figures had real horsehair tails and manes and leather saddles and ears. Many of the horses manufactured by the Dare Company were most likely carved by Andrew Christian, who originally specialized in the production of rocking horses. Christian’s rocking horse style, with its outstretched front legs, can be seen on the Flying Horses Carousel in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. The company also produced menagerie animals and platforms on which the horses could be mounted. The Flying Horses Carousel in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts on Martha’s Vineyard, also a National Historic Landmark, is an example of a Dare platform carousel. The carousels at Watch Hill and Oak Bluffs are thought to have been built in 1876.

The Dare Flying Horses carousel at Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts

Although the only totally “Dare Carousels” still in operation are those located in Watch Hill, Rhode Island and Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, a carousel in Brenham, Texas features Dare horses on a C.W. Parker manufactured carousel.

The company closed in the late 1890’s. Charles F.W. Dare died in 1901.

For further information:

Fried, Frederick. 1964. A Pictorial History of the Carousel. Vestal, NY: The Vestal Press Ltd. ISBN 0-911572-29-5.

Manns, William, Stevens, Marianne, Shank, Peggy. 1986. Painted Ponies. Millwood, NY: Zon International Publishing. ISBN 0-939549-01-9

Weedon, Geoff and Richard Ward. 1981. Fairground Art. London: White Mouse Editions, Ltd.

Benjamin, William and Barbara Williams. 2016. Andrew Christian and Charles W. F. Dare. Carousel History. http://carouselhistory.com/andrew-christian-and-charles-w-f-dare/

 

www.http//:papermatters.blogspot.com

www.http//:cityofbrenham.org

www.http//:mvpreservation.org

 

Gustav Dentzel

Gustav Dentzel was born in Germany in 1840 and immigrated to the United States in 1860 (maybe as late as 1864). His father, William Dentzel, was a carver of carousel horses in Kreuznach, Germany, and Denzel learned the craft while assisting his father. William Dentzel had a carousel in Germany as early as 1837-1839. Gustav Dentzel settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and opened a business as a cabinet maker at 433 Brown Street.

 

Gustav Dentzel

 

When not making cabinets, he made a small traveling carousel with seats (no horses) suspended by chains from a center pole. The power to rotate the carousel was supplied by a human. In 1867, after discovering that Americans liked his carousel, he changed the name of his company to G. A. Dentzel, Steam and Horsepower Caroussell Builder. Dentzel was the first to supply steam power to a carousel in the United States. He moved his company to Beach and Fairmont Avenues in Germantown, Philadelphia.  His first carousel was set up at Smith’s Island on the Delaware River in Philadelphia in 1870 and was so successful that he dismantled it and moved it to Atlantic City, New Jersey. Dentzel travelled from town to town selling tickets to the ride. The company’s name was later changed to the G. A. Dentzel Company. Dentzel not only carved and manufactured the carousels, he also operated several in amusement parks. Dentzel primarily manufactured park model carousels.

 

 

 

According to Daniel C. Muller, the early horses of the G. A. Dentzel Company were designed by Johann Heinrich (John Henry) Muller, Daniel’s father, who had immigrated to America in 1881. Dentzel is known for his very realistic, life-like, gentle appearing, graceful and beautiful carousel animals. The Dentzel horses were never jeweled. Not only did Dentzel carve horses, but he also carved a variety of other animals including domestic cats, tigers, lions, pigs, rabbits, frogs, ostriches, and giraffes. From 1903, although he hired several German and Italian immigrant carvers, Dentzel’s chief and master carver was Salvatore Cernigliaro who created “lavish trappings of flowers, bells, bows, and intricate halters, straps” (Dinger, 1983) and “elaborate drapery” (Fried, 1964). Cernigliaro also introduced whimsical animals to Dentzel’s menagerie carousels. Dentzel also employed other carvers such as Harry Dentzel, Gustav’s nephew. When Johann Heinrich Muller died, Dentzel employed Muller’s sons, Daniel C. and Alfred. Daniel C. Muller is recognized as Dentzel’s most talented, imaginative and gifted artisan.

 

The Dentzel platforms make use of mirrors and other decorations which add to their appeal and beauty. Often, each horse/figure in a row were of similar colors. Most of Dentzel’s carousels were built as special orders and included the special specifications of the purchaser.

 

Note the similar colors on this row of horses from the carousel in Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania.

 

In 1900, Dentzel manufactured his first electrified carousel using the overhead crank and gear mechanism allowing for jumping horses.

 

 


Dentzel died in 1909, but his sons, William and Edward ran the company until it closed in 1928, when William died. The stock was purchased by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. Edward moved to California where the fifth and sixth generations of Dentzel carousel makers continue the family tradition. William H. Dentzel III sustains the art by accepting a few projects which focus on carousel making, history and restoration. His younger brother, David, has carved several large animals, some wooden carousels and a selection of items for collectors.

 

L to R: William Dentzel, Edward Dentzel, Salvatore Cernigliaro

From Carousel History: http://carouselhistory.com/gustav-and-william-dentzel-co/

 

Approximately two dozen Dentzel Carousels remain in operation. Three are preserved in museums. Others are thought to have worn out from use or have been dismantled and due to the unique style and wonderful craftsmanship, sold separately to collectors.

 

For further information:

Dinger, Charlotte. 1983. Art of the Carousel. Green Village, NJ: Carousel Art, Inc. ISBN 0-914507-00-1

Fried, Frederick. 1964. A Pictorial History of the Carousel. Vestal, NY: The Vestal Press Ltd. ISBN 0-911572-29-5.

Manns, William, Stevens, Marianne, Shank, Peggy. 1986. Painted Ponies. Millwood, NY: Zon International Publishing. ISBN 0-939549-01-9

http://carousels.org/Carvers_Builders.html

http://www.carouselmuseum.com/business.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dentzel_Carousel_Company

http://dentzel.weebly.com/

http://carouselhistory.com/gustav-and-william-dentzel-co/

 

 

Frederick Dolle and M. D. Borrelli

Thanks to the wonderful research by William Benjamin and Barbara Williams, we know a lot about Frederick Dolle (1858-1912), a North Bergen, New Jersey manufacturer, operator/owner of carousels as well as amusement parks and other operations. Dolle was the brother-in-law of Charles Looff.

 

It is not certain when Dolle entered the carousel business, but by 1906 he was manufacturing carousels. His business went by several names including F. Dolle’s Carrousel Works (1907), Dolle’s Carousel Works (1909) and Dolle’s Carrousels (1910). Although it is not known if Frederick’s bothers, Rudolph and Henry, were partners in the business, it is known that both brothers were involved with amusements including carousels.

Rounding board from the Dolle carousel at the Silver Beach Carousel museum in St. Joseph, Michigan.

 

Dolle eventually became partners with Mario Domenico (Domenick) Borrelli (1893-1969), a 1907 Italian immigrant, who first started working with Dolle as a ring boy for one or more of Dolle’s carousels. The Dolle carousel operation built the platforms and mechanisms, but the horses were carved by Charles Carmel. Borrelli is credited with adorning the Carmel horses with jewels. The partnership continued with Frederick’s wife, Elizabeth, after Dolle died in 1912. M. D. Borrelli’s younger brother, Vincent, assisted M. D. and Elizabeth in the business. When Elizabeth died in 1935. Borrelli purchased controlling interest and continued the business.

 

It is not known how many carousels were manufactured by Dolle, but Benjamin and Williams have identified at least eight parks that had Dolle carousels but estimate that as many as two dozen carousels were manufactured by Dolle and the Dolle/Borrelli partnership with at least one going to Manila, Philippines and perhaps one to Sydney, Australia.

 

For further information:

Benjamin, William and Barbara Williams, Mr. Frederick Dolle: A Look at a “Carousel King” in his Heyday. Carousel News & Trader, January 2010.

Benjamin, William and Barbara Williams, M. D. Borrelli and His Role in the 20th Century Amusement Industry. Carousel News & Trader, May 2010.

Benjamin, William and Barbara Williams, M.D. Borrelli, MFG of High Grade Carousels, Carousel News & Trader, May 2010. http://www.carouselnews.com/ May-2010/M.D.-Borrelli-MFG-of-High-Grade-Carousels.html.

M. D. Borrelli Bejeweled Fun Forest Carousel, Carousel History, July 3, 2015.http://carouselhistory.com/fun-forest-carousel-wa/

 

 

Allan Herschell (Armitage-Herschell) (Herschell-Spillman)

Born April 27, 1851, Allan Herschell, in 1870 along with his parents and brother, emigrated from their native Scotland to Buffalo, New York where the young Herschell found work as a foundry foreman. Trained as a molder, in 1872, at the age of twenty, Herschell partnered with James Armitage, bought out their employer’s equipment, moved their company to North Tonawanda and founded the Tonawanda Engine and Machine Company. Their primary products were farm machinery, steam boilers and steam engines.

 

http://carrouselmuseum.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Allan-Herschell-portrait-from-Landmarks-of-Niagara-County-236x300.jpg

Allan Herschell

 

In 1883, with a diagnosis of lung disease and recommendation from his physician to abandon boiler manufacturing, Herschell designed and built his first carousel, the steam riding gallery. His inspiration for building a carousel came after visiting New York City and seeing an operating carousel (probably a Dare carousel) in 1882. His first carousel, completed in 1883 or 1884, was powered by one of his steam engines. The engine was outside the carousel and rotated the carousel on a track via a belt. The horses were simple and plain and modeled after Dare horses. His early carousels were supplied with a simple mechanism that rocked the horses back and forth. By 1886, Herschell had built three steam riding galleries. Popularity of the machine spread rapidly throughout New York, and in 1887, Tonawanda Engine and Machine Company evolved into the Armitage-Herschell Company, Inc. producer of steam powered carousels. In 1890, sixty carousels were sold. A year later, the company was producing a carousel every day.

 

 

 

 

In 1901, due to financial problems, Herschell left Armitage-Herschell and with his brother-in-law, Edward Spillman, purchased Armitage-Herschell in 1903 forming the largest manufacturer of carousels in the United States, the Herschell-Spillman Company. The company produced small, easily transported, steam powered carousels, some with menagerie animals and storybook characters as well as intricately designed and decorated horses.

 

 

In 1913 (or 1911) due to ill health, Allan Herschell retired from the Herschell-Spillman Company, but the company continued without Herschell.  By 1914, with the aid of a carving machine, the Herschell-Spillman company had evolved into the production of large, permanent, park model carousels of the Country Fair design with jumping horses and a variety of menagerie animals. Eventually, the permanent carousels were populated by more decorated and intricately carved figures and chariot sides resembling a combination of Coney Island and Philadelphia styles. Illions even supplied the horses for one of the Herschell-Spillman platforms.

 

In 1915, on his own, Allan Herschell reentered the carousel business and founded the Allan Herschell Company in direct competition with the Herschell-Spillman Company. Although he later added other rides for adults and children, Herschell’s main foci were roller coasters and his signature portable, easily dismantled and packed carousels which could be quickly disassembled and transported from town to town by traveling carnivals. The first carousel made by the Allan Herschell Company, the No. 1 Special, completed in 1916 is still at its original site at the factory in North Tonawanda, NY.  Herschell also made some large, more ornate park models with scenery panels and decorative rounding boards, jewels and mirrors. Through the years, the style of the Herschell figures changed significantly.

 

Since materials were less available with the onset of The Depression and the need for stronger and more durable figures, cast aluminum legs were added to the wooden bodies in the 1920s. Eventually, all aluminum horses were used. Weedon and Ward described the evolution from all wood to a mixture of wood and aluminum as “…an era in American carousel history [that] quietly ended”.

 

Herschell was the largest manufacturer of carousels in the United States, producing over 3000 carved wooden machines, which were not only shipped throughout North America, but also to distant destinations including South Africa, India and Tahiti. The carousel shipped to Tahiti is reported to have been fueled with coconut hulls instead of wood.

 

 

 

 The simple style of the Herschell horse.

 

There were no specifically acknowledged carvers noted, although research shows that Herschell himself was never a carver.

 

In 1920, the Herschell-Spillman Company was re-organized to become the Spillman Engineering Company (see below), continuing with the production of carousels and other amusement rides which had been added over the years. Both Spillman Engineering and the Allan Herschell Company remained in North Tonawanda, New York for a time, manufacturing similar rides in a competitive manner.

 

Allan Herschell retired in 1924 (or 1923) and died in 1927. In 1945, the Allan Herschell Company purchased the Spillman Engineering Company, and remained open until 1970 when it was sold to Chance Manufacturing in Wichita, Kansas.

The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, located at 180 Thompson Street, in North Tonawanda, New York has been open to the public since 1983. The Museum offers guided tours, lectures, demonstrations and wood carving lessons at varied skill levels. There are approximately 148 Herschell carousels still operating in the United States and Canada.

For further information:

Dinger, Charlotte. 1983. Art of the Carousel. Green Village, NJ: Carousel Art, Inc. ISBN 0-914507-00-1

Fried, Frederick. 1964. A Pictorial History of the Carousel. Vestal, NY: The Vestal Press Ltd. ISBN 0-911572-29-5.

Manns, William, Stevens, Marianne, Shank, Peggy. 1986. Painted Ponies. Millwood, NY: Zon International Publishing. ISBN 0-939549-01-9

Weedon, Geoff and Richard Ward. 1981. Fairground Art. London: White Mouse Editions, Ltd.

http://carousels.org/Carvers_Builders.html

http://www.carouselmuseum.com/business.html

http://carrouselmuseum.org/site/wp-content/themes/twentytwelve-child/research-forms/FindingAid.pdf

http://internationalindependentshowmensmuseum.org/vintage-carnival-rides/allan-herschell-carousel-company/

http://theoldmotor.com/?tag=herschell-spillman-company

http://www.nthistorymuseum.org/Collections/herschell.html

 

 

Friedrich Heyn

Friedrich Heyn in Germany was initially a carver, but later manufactured complete carousels. He is mentioned here because one of his carousels resides in Storyland in Glen, NH.

 

 

Marcus Charles Illions

It is not precisely known when and where Marcus Charles Illions was born. Some accounts state that it was in Vilna, Lithuania (then part of the Russian Empire) in 1865 (some accounts say1874). At the approximate age of 14, he immigrated to England via a brief stay in Germany and found employment carving unfinished Frederick Savage circus wagons for Frank Bostock. Frederick Savage was a manufacturer of carousels and circus wagons. In 1888, Illions immigrated to the United States. Illions continued to develop his carving skills with Charles Looff beginning about 1890. By 1892, Illions opened his own shop at 747 Dean Street in Brooklyn. Around 1900, Illions was carving in the Coney Island shop of William Mangels, an inventor and manufacturer of amusement rides on West Eighth Street. Mangels perfected and employed the crank and gear mechanism to raise and lower the horses making a new style of carousel horse, the jumper, possible. This allowed Illions to experiment with the jumping pose. In 1909, Illions opened, along with his daughter and four sons, the M. C. Illions and Sons Carousell Works at 2739 Ocean Parkway in Coney Island, Brooklyn.

The relationship between Mangels and Illions resulted in several carousels in the New York area, many of which are still in operation. One carousel was Feltman’s at Coney Island that operated from 1905 until 1964. Although the Mangels/Illions relationship did not last long, Illions continued to manufacture carousels using parts and mechanisms from Mangels. M. C. Illions and Sons Carousell Works produced carousels from 1909 until 1929 when The Depression took its toll but continued to recondition and repair them until 1945. The company produced only fifteen large, park style carousels and not more than six smaller, portable carousels. M. C. Illions and Sons Carousell Works produced at least one set of horses for Allan Herschell, three sets for the Prior and Church racing derbies and smaller horses for the Pinto Brothers, a local company producing street kiddie carousels for the Coney Island area.

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Marcus Charles Illions

Illions was a highly innovative carver. He loved horses and kept a stable with up to four horses so that he could ride them often to study their motion and mannerisms. He would also visit local racetracks to study the horses.

 

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Illions originated the Coney Island style, and the original Illions horses are of the archetypal flamboyant Coney Island style, tame and complete with jewels and 22 carat gold and silver manes and adornments. A later style of horse was more powerful, spirited and animated and characterized by flying, flowing manes and long thin heads. Although he employed other craftsmen including many family members, Illions carved all the heads of the horses himself. M. C. Illions and Sons Carousell Works carved very few menagerie animals except as special orders. After 1910, the company did not produce any menagerie animals.

 

Marcus Illions, standing with hammer and chisel, in his shop. From Weedon and Ward, 1981.

 

Unlike most carvers, Illions usually signed his carvings. The New York Times referred to Illions as “the Michelangelo of carousel carvers”. At one time, ten of Illions’ shop’s carousels operated from Brighten Beach Park to West Twenty Seventh Street in Coney Island. Besides carousel horses, Illions also carved ornate organ fronts and various sculptures. The Great Depression sadly took its toll on amusement parks, and his company closed during that period. Weedon and Ward (1981) described Illions as the “most flamboyant and innovative of all the Coney Island carvers”.

 

Illions died at the age of 78 in 1949, financially devastated.

 

 

A typical Illions horse (L) and a child’s barber chair. Note gold manes.

 

For further information:

Dinger, Charlotte. 1983. Art of the Carousel. Green Village, NJ: Carousel Art, Inc. ISBN 0-914507-00-1

Manns, William, Stevens, Marianne, Shank, Peggy. 1986. Painted Ponies. Millwood, NY: Zon International Publishing. ISBN 0-939549-01-9

Weedon, Geoff and Richard Ward. 1981. Fairground Art. London: White Mouse Editions, Ltd.

 

The Coney Island History Project

http://www.coneyislandhistory.org/hall-of-fame/marcus-charles-illions

 

Carousel History

http://carouselhistory.com/

 

The National Carousel Association

http://carousels.org/index.html

 

http://www.guernseys.com/Guernseys New/images/Carousel Online Catalogue

 

Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Illions

 

 

George William Kremer

George William Kremer was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States in 1884. Although his original profession was a glassblower, by 1892 he was operating a carousel at North Beach Park, Queens, New York on the present site of LaGuardia Airport. By the early 1900s, he was listing his profession as a carousel maker. Although not a carver, Kremer operated, manufactured, repaired and reconditioned older carousels often outfitting the frames with new figures. Kremer made the rounding boards and scenery panels for his carousels. Kremer’s Carousel Works which was located near North Beach in Queens, New York, produced at least six carousels, only two of which are still operating: the Grand Carousel at Knoebel’s Amusement Park in Elysburg, Pennsylvania and the Lakeside Carousel in Lakeside Park at Port Dalhousie in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.

 

 

For Further Information:

 

Pennsylvania Magazine

Baver, Kristin. Knoebels Grand Carousel: 100 Year Old Park Gem receives a Makeover. Pennsylvania Magazine, Volume 38, no 3, May/June 2015. http://www.knoebels.com/ data/uploads/contentblock/PAMagazine_ KnoebelsGrandCarousel.pdf

 

Amusement Today

Rutherford, Scott. Knoebels celebrates Grand Carousel’s 100th anniversary. Amusement Today, November 2013, Vol. 17, Issue 8.2. http://www.amusementtoday.com/backissues/at_november_2013_web.pdf

 

Carousel News and Trader

William Benjamin and Barbara Williams, The Carousels of North Beach Amusement Resort, Queens, Long Island, New York. Carousel News and Trader, May 2013, http://cld.bz/w9Rl0Zt#13/z.

 

Carousel History

Benjamin, William and Barbara Williams. History of North Beach, NY. Carousel History, March 10, 2015, http://carouselhistory.com/the-carousels-of-north-beach-long-island-new-york/

 

 

Charles Leupold

Charles Leupold was a master carver, who with his son, Charles Frederick Leopold (anglicized), operated a carving shop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The elder Leupold served as the head carver for the Gustav Dentzel and Daniel Carl Muller companies. Both father and son carved for Muller, the Philadelphia Toboggan Company and E. Joy Morris.  All the horses on the eight carousels produced for the Long family, amusement park owners and operators, are reported to have been carved by Charles Leupold. 

 

For further information:

Carousel History

http://carouselhistory.com/

 

The National Carousel Association

http://carousels.org/index.html

 

David Lightfoot

David Lightfoot was a carver for the Philadelphia Toboggan Company.

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David Lightfoot and son.

 

The Long Family (Edward, Arthur and George)

The Longs were English immigrants who manufactured eight carousels between 1876 and 1903. Charles Leupold probably carved all the horses on the eight Long carousels. At least one of the carousels seems to be extant and in storage probably in Easton, PA where it last operated. Members of the Long family restored carousels and owned and operated amusement parks. Descendants of the Long family continue to own and operate the one remaining Long amusement park, Seabreeze Park, near Rochester, New York.

 

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Charles I. D. Looff

Charles Looff was one of the most famous carvers of carousel horses. He was born Karl Jurgen Detlev Looff, in Denmark in 1852. Looff immigrated to the United States in 1870 and changed his name from Karl to Charles. Apparently, immigration officials became confused between the old German “J” and mistook it for an “I”. Thus, his name became Charles I. D. Looff. Upon arrival in Brooklyn, Looff found employment as a carver in a furniture factory and as part-time ballroom dance instructor.

 

Charles I. D. Looff

 

From scraps of left-over wood from the furniture shop, Looff began carving animals. He carved, painted, mounted the animals on a circular platform completely without assistance and in 1875 – 1876 installed the platform, complete with its animals, at Lucy Vandeveer's Bathing Pavilion (name was later changed to Balmer’s Bathing Pavilion) on West Sixth Street and Surf Avenue on Coney Island. This became Coney Island’s first amusement ride. With the success of his Coney Island and other carousels, Looff opened a factory at 30-37 Bedford Avenue and Guernsey Avenue in Brooklyn.

 

Looff officially started his business in 1875 in Brooklyn, New York.  He developed the elegant, flamboyant Coney Island style of carousel horse, showing motion with slender legs. His horses were “jolly” with “bulging nostrils”, “exposed teeth” as if smiling and real horsehair tails. Looff’s horses never appeared aggressive or threatening, reflecting his gentle personality. His horses were adorned with jewels, silver, gold and the American flag motif. Many of his horses were armored. It may have been Looff who invented the armored horse. Many of his horses had secondary carvings such as birds, rabbits, foxes and cherubs behind the saddle. The carousel structures themselves exhibited mirrors, which in combination with reflected light, enhanced the experience of motion. Showing his patriotism, many of his early carousels were fitted with panels with the likenesses of famous Americans.

 

A typical Looff secondary carving behind the saddle. Also note jewels.

 

Looff carousels often displayed other animals such as tigers, lions and dogs (one of Looff’s favorite), camels, bears and sheep.

 

A Looff menagerie animal

 

Note the slender and gentle nature and jewels of this Looff horse from Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

 

Looff hired many master carvers including John Zalar, Marcus Illions, John Mueller, Charles Carmel, Solomon Stein and Harry Goldstein. Most of the chariots were carved by Charles Looff, Charles I. D. Looff’s oldest son. He installed three more carousels on Coney Island, in addition to his first, at Lucy Vandeveer’s Bathing Pavilion.

 

Charles I. D. Looff was a builder as well as a carver, having carved and built 50 carousels as well as other amusements, including Ferris wheels, roller coasters and fun houses. Looff and his son Arthur built the Santa Monica (California) Pier in 1916. Looff also designed and constructed many of the buildings that housed his carousels. By 1900, he owned and operated several carousels.

 

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Looff’s original factory was in Brooklyn, New York. In 1895-1896, he moved it to Crescent Park in Riverside, East Providence, Rhode Island, where he had built a second factory. He eventually moved his factory to Ocean Park, California and then to Long Beach, California, in 1910.

 

Looff’s son, Charles, was also a master carver and supplied many horses to the Looff company.

 

Over the years, Looff and his family built several amusement parks, incorporating in them their own created rides including scenic railways, fun houses and various thrill rides. The Giant Dipper Roller Coaster at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and the Santa Monica Hippodrome, as well as his carousel in East Providence, Rhode Island have been designated as National Historical Landmarks.

 

For a while, Looff was the sole supplier of A. Ruth und Sohn band organs in the United States.

 

Looff died in 1918 in Long Beach, California. Frederick Fried (Fried, 1964) described Looff as “doubtlessly…the first of America’s great carousel carvers”.

 

For further information:

Dinger, Charlotte. 1983. Art of the Carousel. Green Village, NJ: Carousel Art, Inc. ISBN 0-914507-00-1

Fried, Frederick. 1964. A Pictorial History of the Carousel. Vestal, NY: The Vestal Press Ltd. ISBN 0-911572-29-5.

Manns, William, Stevens, Marianne, Shank, Peggy. 1986. Painted Ponies. Millwood, NY: Zon International Publishing. ISBN 0-939549-01-9

http://carousels.org/Carvers_Builders.html

http://carouselhistory.com/charles-i-d-looff-carousel-archives/

http://www.carouselmuseum.com/business.html

http://carouselproject.wikia.com/wiki/Charles_I._D._Looff

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crescent_Park_Looff_Carousel

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_I._D._Looff

http://www.millikanalumni.com/Pike/PikeLooff.html

http://www.millikanalumni.com/Pike/?pikeLooff.html

https://www.kcet.org/departures-columns/when-the-hippodrome-was-hip-the-looff-carousel-and-the-era-of-seaside-amusement

http://www.historyofcarousels.com/carousel-history/charles-i-d-looff/

 

William F. Mangels

William F. Mangels was born in 1866 (or 1867) in Germany and immigrated to the United States in 1882 (or 1883) (maybe as late as 1886) settling in Brooklyn, New York. He soon became involved with inventing, engineering, repairing and manufacturing shooting galleries and amusement rides specializing in carousels. He started manufacturing carousels in 1910. His Coney Island machine shop employed about 12 people manufacturing the machinery for the carousels. He was not a carver himself, but he employed several very talented and well-known carvers, including Marcus Illions, Charles Carmel, Solomen Stein and Harry Goldstein to supply horses for the platform/frame mechanisms he manufactured. He is credited with devising the first crank system in the United States in 1907 that would allow the horses to rise and fall – the jumpers or gallopers. His mechanism was an improvement over the English mechanism previously invented by Frederick Savage. One of his most famous carousels is the still operating B and B carousel at Coney Island. He also invented The Tickler (1906) and The Whip (1907), his most famous invention. His last rides were designed for children some of which are still in operation at Coney Island, New York, Ocean City, Maryland and at other locations. He earned the nickname “The Wizard of Eighth Street”. Mangels died in 1958 at the age of 92.

 

W. F. Mangels

 

 

Sign on the Mangels/Illions Carousel in Saratoga Springs, New York

 

 

Mangels Kiddie Ferris Wheel, Trimper’s Amusements, Ocean City, Maryland

 

                                                                                          

For Further Information:

 

Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_F._Mangels

 

History

http://carouselhistory.com/

 

The National Carousel Association

http://carousels.org/index.html

 

Brooklyn Public Library

Shope, Leslie, 2009, W. F. Mangels and his “Amusing” Career: http://brooklynology.brooklynpubliclibrary. org/post/2009/08/31/WF-Mangels-and-his-Amusing-  Career.aspx

 

Green-Wood Historian Blog: Richman, Jeff, 2014, Amusing the Masses – With Your Help!

Manns, William, Stevens, Marianne, Shank, Peggy. 1986. Painted Ponies. Millwood, NY: Zon International Publishing. ISBN 0-939549-01-9

 

 

 

Edward Joy Morris

From 1895 to 1903, Edward Joy Morris (1860-1929) was a Philadelphia manufacturer of various amusement park rides including several carousels. His company was the Morris Chute Company with offices on Walnut Street and factories at Callowhill and Ludlow streets in Philadelphia. It was not known until 1989 when research discovered that Morris manufactured carousels that had been previously identified as Philadelphia Toboggan Company carousels. Morris sold his business and inventory to the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1903. The Philadelphia Toboggan Company used about 200 of Morris’s horses and menagerie figures on many of their early carousels dating to as late as 1907 (#14). There are no intact Morris carousels still in existence. Individual Morris figures can be found on early Philadelphia Toboggan Company, Muller and Dentzel carousels.

 

Morris was instrumental in developing the roller coaster as he introduced several safety features including new wheel and wheel mounting designs which allowed the coasters to run faster and safer. After selling the business in 1903, Morris travelled around the country promoting, installing and running his Figure Eight Toboggan Slide which he had patented in 1894. At least 250 Figure Eight coasters were installed in North America.

 

For further information:

http://members.neaapa.com/news/details/lions-and-tigers-and-bears-oh-my-history-of-the-carousels-at-quassy-05-02-2016

National Carousel Association: http://carousels.org/Carvers_Builders2.html

 

 

Daniel Carl Muller, Alfred Muller, (The Muller Brothers)

Daniel Carl Muller was born in Germany in 1872. The family of Johann Heinrich (John Henry) Muller, a close friend of Michael Dentzel, Gustav Dentzel’s father, immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1881 or 1882 and settled in Brooklyn near Coney Island. It is thought that Johann Heinrich Muller found work in the shop of Charles Looff and carved some horses for Looff’s carousels. In 1888, Johann Heinrich Muller moved his family close to Germantown, Pennsylvania, the home of the Gustav Dentzel Company and his close friend, Gustav Dentzel. Soon, Johann Heinrich Muller and his two sons, Daniel and Alfred, were hired by Dentzel and worked for Dentzel after school, honing their carving skills. Daniel was more focused, talented, attentive to detail and artistic than his brother and went on to gain formal training at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. At the Academy, Daniel Muller further developed his artistic skills. Through this training and experience, he became one of the greatest and most artistic of all carousel horse sculptors. Daniel Muller is recognized as Dentzel’s most talented, imaginative and gifted artisan.

 

Daniel Carl Muller in Gustav Dentzel’s shop in the early 1900s.

 

Around 1900, both Daniel and Alfred Muller, to the consternation of Dentzel, are said to have begun carving for the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. They may possibly have also been carving for others as well. In 1902 (or 1903), they opened their own D.C. Muller and Brother Carousel Manufacturing Company and continued to supply horses for the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. They also supplied horses for some lesser known carousel platform and mechanism manufacturers such as T. M. Harton who operated a minor carousel company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Both Daniel and Alfred were carvers. Although Daniel gets much of the attention, is the focus of carousel historians and most of the horses are attributed to him, it is not always known which brother carved which horse and some of the Muller horses attributed to Daniel may have been carved by Alfred. The brothers built 12 to 16 carousels between 1903 and 1917, but seemed to be unable to compete with the larger, more successful manufacturers such as Dentzel, Looff, the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, and Herschell-Spillman. It was thought by some critics that the Mullers spent too much time creating each figure. Avoiding fantasy, for the most part, the Muller horses are described as perhaps the most realistic of all carousel horses. Weedon and Ward (1981) said that Muller relied “much more on the statuesque form of the animal than on the extravagances, trappings and embellishments.”  Daniel Muller is especially famous for his military horses with military saddles, bedrolls, bugles, canteens and military tack. They were also often decorated with ribbons and flowers. Regrettably, none of the military themed carousels are still in existence. Some of the horses remain, however, in museums such as the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia. Muller also carved other figures such as deer, lions and tigers.

A Muller military-style horse on the Forest Park carousel in Queens, New York

 

http://carouselhistory.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/D-C-Muller-Bros-carousel-carving-shop-1910.jpg

D. C. Muller and Brother Shop

A Muller military style horse from Forest Park, Brooklyn, New York

Two of the D. C. Muller and Brother carousels are still in existence, one in Forest Park, Queens, New York and the other in Cedar Point, Ohio. After their company closed in 1917, the brothers carved for the Philadelphia Toboggan Company and other carousel manufacturers. In 1918, Daniel and Alfred joined the company of Gustav Dentzel’s son, William Dentzel, and continued to work there until it closed in 1928. Together, Daniel Muller and William Dentzel are said to have created some of the finest carousels ever produced.

For further information:

Dinger, Charlotte. 1983. Art of the Carousel. Green Village, NJ: Carousel Art, Inc. ISBN 0-914507-00-1

Manns, William, Stevens, Marianne, Shank, Peggy. 1986. Painted Ponies. Millwood, NY: Zon International Publishing. ISBN 0-939549-01-9

Weedon, Geoff and Richard Ward. 1981. Fairground Art. London: White Mouse Editions, Ltd.

http://carouselhistory.com/d-c-muller-carousel.com

http://carousels.org/Carvers_Builders.html

http://www.carouselmuseum.com/business.html

http://www.pjs-carousel,com/history.html

 

 

Timothy and Bartholomew Murphy

The Murphy brothers were partners in carousel carving and manufacturing in New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Louisiana. Timothy was born in 1872 and Bartholomew in 1871 in Cork, Ireland. The brothers were employed as carvers by Charles Looff in 1886 when Bartholomew was 15 years old, and Timothy was 13. Timothy worked as a foreman in Looff’s shop when Looff moved his operation from New York to Rhode Island. He was fired circa 1895. The brothers started their own business carving horses, chariots and menagerie animals in 1895.

 

Timothy (left) and Bartholomew Murphy in 1909. From the Historic New Orleans Collection.

 

By 1903, the Murphys were manufacturing carousels in New York City. In 1904, the Murphys formed a partnership with William Nunley with whom they ran several amusement parks in the New York City area. One of their companies was The Rockaway Whirlpool Company. By 1906, the Murphy brothers started an amusement business at Savin Rock, West Haven, Connecticut, where they continued to manufacture carousels but also were involved in the theater (Nikelet Theater) and food concession business. Most of their carousels were constructed from figures carved by other carvers although Timothy was an excellent carver. It is thought that Henry Dorber made the frames for the early Murphy carousels. Dorber later manufactured frames for Stein and Goldstein. Bartholomew Murphy moved to New Orleans in 1910 where he manufactured and operated carousels and amusements.

 

There are two carousels in New England with Murphy horses at Lake Compounce and Lighthouse Point Park in Bristol and New Haven, Connecticut, respectively.

 

For further information:

 

http://carousels.org/Carvers_Builders.html

Benjamin, William and Barbara Williams, 2012, New Discoveries and Further Insights: The Murphy Brothers,

Carousel News & Trader, August. www.carouselnews.com.

The Murphy Brothers and their Carousels, The Carousel News & Trader, Volume 27 (8), 2011.

 

William Norman and Spalding Evans

In 1891, in Lockport, New York, William Norman and Spalding Evans purchased the Pound Manufacturing Company, renamed it the Norman & Evans Company, and started selling their unused electricity generated from waterpower to neighboring companies. With a prime location at the foot of the locks on the Erie Canal, the Norman & Evans Company became a power generating company supplying their neighbors on the north sides of Main and Market streets with electricity via long cables.

In addition to generating power, the Norman & Evans Company also manufactured engines, derricks, ditching machinery and steam-powered carousels. In July1891, their first merry-go-round was installed in Lockport. A subsidiary of Norman & Evans Company was established as The American Merry-Go-Round and Novelty Company. The company made more than a hundred carousels. The company closed in 1905.

For further information:

Geise, Scott. 2015. Uncovering the Mill Race, No. 14: Steam and electricity. Lockport Union-Sun & Journal. March 8, 2015.

Manns, William, Stevens, Marianne, Shank, Peggy. 1986. Painted Ponies. Millwood, NY: Zon International Publishing. ISBN 0-939549-01-9

 

Charles Wallace Parker

Charles Wallace Parker was born in 1864 in Griggsville, Illinois. His family moved to Kansas when he was 5 years old. It was in Kansas that Parker started his own amusement business. He first purchased half interest in a striker strength tester, the High Striker, and later full interest in a shooting gallery machine. He decided to enter the carousel business after witnessing the joy of his daughter as she rode a department store carousel in Abilene, Kansas. Parker purchased a portable Armitage Herschell track carousel in 1892.

With two partners, he formed the C. W. Parker Company in 1892 and travelled throughout the mid-west with his portable carousel. By 1894, he had bought out his partners. Realizing that he could improve on the Armitage Herschell track carousel through innovative construction and design, Parker built his first carousel in 1894. Later in 1894 (some reports say circa 1900), he opened the Parker Carnival Supply Company in Abilene. After operating for 2 years, the name of the company was changed to the C.W. Parker Amusement Company. By 1905, Parker owned 4 travelling carnivals in the Midwest. Parker built all of the machines, including the railroad cars to carry them. He supplied various carnival equipment and railroad cars to other travelling carnival operators. In 1911, due to a property line dispute with the City of Abilene, he moved his company to Leavenworth.

Charles Wallace Parker

Photo from the Dickinson Country (Kansas) Historical Society

 

The C.W. Parker Amusement Company specialized in and is most famous for portable Country Fair carousels, or “Carry-Us-Alls”, as Parker advertised them. Although most of his carousels were small, compact, portable, and designed for carnival use, he also produced 5 larger carousels. Parker was not a carver, but was involved with most aspects of the business. The company manufactured a variety of other amusements including shooting galleries and Ferris wheels.

His fantasyland horses were brightly painted with colors including pinks and purples. Even the larger carousels were composed of relatively small horses. Over the years, his carousel horses evolved from the simple Armitage-Herschell type to the fancy Coney Island type and became longer in stature. His horses have been described as “long sinewy creatures with long leg muscles carved in interesting shapes. Their heads were thin, long and sensitive” (Fried, 1964). Parker’s horses eventually developed a characteristic style with “violent motion, with legs stretched almost horizontally, nostrils flaring, head held down and sideways or flung high with mane wildly tossing, even bulging” (Hinds, 1990). After 1900 or so, Parker used a carving machine with the detailed work completed by his carvers.

 

Every carousel produced by Parker had a horse named “Belle”, characterized by her bowed head and 3 tendrils of mane pulled across the neck on the larger machines. She always had a bunch of grapes on her hip, and originally a lily and a bell behind the saddle. The later Parker horses often had carvings of flags, ears of corn, Native Americans, men of the Wild West, pistols, lariats and other interesting objects behind the saddle. Many of his horses were shod with metal shoes stamped “11 worth”. Unlike other carvers and manufacturers, Parker used jewels that were not faceted. Many of his horses were adorned with garlands.

 

Parker used a variety of carvers, many of whom were German immigrants. There are no records as to the carvers’ names.

 

Although menagerie animals have been seen in photographs of the Parker factory, it is not known if they were carved there. Apparently, there are no menagerie animals on any of the surviving Parker merry-go-rounds (Dinger, 1983).

 

The Parker horses were made with glue but without dowels. Consequently, the horses were not very sturdy and durable and could not withstand the rigors of a travelling show.

 

Dwight David Eisenhower, later to be President of the United States, worked in Parker’s shop as a boy.

 

Parker produced approximately 1,000 carousels in his career, 16 of which continue to operate. One of the more famous, the “Parker 119” or the Burnaby Centennial Parker Carousel is located at the Burnaby Village Museum in Burnaby, B.C.

 

Parker died in 1932, but the company continued to be run by his son, Paul, until it closed in 1955.

 

 

For further information:

Dinger, Charlotte. 1983. Art of the Carousel. Green Village, NJ: Carousel Art, Inc. ISBN 0-914507-00-1

Fried, Frederick. 1964. A Pictorial History of the Carousel. Vestal, NY: The Vestal Press Ltd. ISBN 0-911572-29-5

Manns, William, Stevens, Marianne, Shank, Peggy. 1986. Painted Ponies. Millwood, NY: Zon International Publishing. ISBN 0-939549-01-9

Weedon, Geoff and Richard Ward. 1981. Fairground Art. London: White Mouse Editions, Ltd.

http://carousels.org/Carvers_Builders.html

http://www.carouselmuseum.com/business.html

www.kansastravel.org/caroselmuseum.htm

http://dkcohistory.blogspot.com/2011/02/amusement-king.html

http://firstcitymuseums.org/carousel_pages/hist_cwparker.html

 

 

The Philadelphia Toboggan Company

 

Henry B. Auchy, a successful produce and liquor businessman, and Louis Berni, an importer of band organs, in 1899 in response to the increasing demand for carousels made a carousel under the name of Grey Amusements Company and installed it in Chestnut Park in Philadelphia. Auchy and Chester E. Albright collaborated to manufacture carousels in 1903 and established the Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC) in 1904. Since neither Auchy nor Albright were carvers, the company hired carvers. Two of the first carvers for the young company were Daniel and Alfred Muller. Since the names of the carvers were not recorded, it is not known who many of the early carvers were, but when the company bought the company owned by E. Joy Morris in 1903, as many as 200 of Morris horses were used on Philadelphia Toboggan Company carousels manufactured from 1903 to 1907. Because of this, some of Morris’ carousels were originally misidentified as Philadelphia Toboggan Company carousels. The Philadelphia Toboggan Company specialized in roller coasters but also continued to manufacture carousels. The company eventually added skee ball machines to its line of amusements.

 

When the Muller brothers left in about 1907 to form their own company, the Philadelphia Toboggan Company was left without a master carver. The early Muller replacements were not very successful since their horses were poorly proportioned, and as a result, the demand for PTC carousels declined. When John Zalar was hired in 1915, his exciting and well-proportioned carvings revitalized the company. Charles Carmel also contributed to the company’s revitalization as he started supplying horses for the Philadelphia Toboggan Company from his own shop in Coney Island. When Zalar was forced to retire in 1923 because of poor health, Frank Carretta continued to develop the Zalar style. Other carvers to work for the Philadelphia Toboggan Company are Leo Zoller, Charles Frederick Leopold, Charles Carmel, David Lightfoot, and Salvatore Cernigliaro. Samuel High purchased the company in 1919. By 1925, the number of full time employees dedicated to carousel manufacturing was two: Frank Carretta and Gustav Weiss. After 1925, PTC did not produce any new horses. Instead, they used refurbished horses from other carousels and unfinished old stock. In 1929, the Dentzel Company closed and was purchased by PTC. PTC hired many of the Dentzel employees.

 

Many of the Philadelphia Toboggan Company figures had secondary figures such as cherubs, women or animals carved into the bodies, and figures and objects behind the bed roll. Early, the company carved menagerie animals, but after 1907 all the figures were horses. PTC was one of the few companies that carved magnificent Roman chariots.

 

In 1909, Auchy patented the friction drive to rotate the carousel. Some of the original friction drives are still in use today. 

 

The company’s history indicates that 87 carousels were manufactured, but some histories indicate as many as 94. The confusion may be due to renumbering when the carousels were returned to the company for refurbishing and/or carousels manufactured by other companies but refurbished by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. The company manufactured stationary carousels that were installed in parks in buildings that the Philadelphia Toboggan Company often designed and portable ones that could easily be moved throughout the country. The company stopped making carousels in 1933 (or 1934) to focus on coasters and is still in business as Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters, Inc.

 

Henry B. Auchy

 

 

For further information:

 

Dinger, Charlotte. 1983. Art of the Carousel. Green Village, NJ: Carousel Art, Inc. ISBN 0-914507-00-1

Manns, William, Stevens, Marianne, Shank, Peggy. 1986. Painted Ponies. Millwood, NY: Zon International Publishing. ISBN 0-939549-   01-9

Weedon, Geoff and Richard Ward. 1981. Fairground Art. London: White Mouse Editions, Ltd.

 

Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters, Inc.

http://www.philadelphiatoboggancoastersinc.com/history.php

 

Carousel News

http://www.carouselnews.com/New-Carousel-News/PTC/Philadelphia-Toboggan-Co.-Carousel-History-1904-1941.html

 

 

Frederick Savage

Although Frederick Savage did not manufacture carousels in the United States, several of his carousels known as Savage Gallopers were imported to the United States. One of his carousels is at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey.

 

Frederick Savage was born in 1828 in Hevingham, Norfolk, UK. Savage was primarily an engineer/machinist who first designed and manufactured simple farm implements. Later, his company/factory in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, UK, manufactured steam engines to power farm equipment and fairground amusements including carousels. It is not known who carved the early horses for the Savage company as he probably purchased them from independent carvers. Two of his carvers/suppliers were the renowned John Robert Anderson from Bristol and Charles John Spooner (1871-1939) from Burton-on-Trent.  Both Spooner (with George Orton) and Anderson manufactured carousels in the UK. Savage later employed his own carvers.

 

From Weedon and Ward, 1981

 

Although he was not the first to build a steam powered carousel which was displayed at the Aylsham Fair in Kent circa 1865, he certainly saw their potential and started to manufacture similar ones shortly thereafter. His innovation was to place the steam engine in the center of the carousel providing for a smoother ride. The use of steam as a source of power permitted the manufacture of larger carousels.

 

Frederick Savage in his mayoral robes.

 

By 1885, Savage was manufacturing platform carousels, the Platform Galloper, which employed the overhead crank and gear mechanism invented by Robert Tidman of Norwich, UK and improved and perfected by Savage that provided the up and down or galloping mechanism that made the carousel experience more exciting. Savage also invented the lateral sliding mechanism that allowed the horses to slide outwards ten to fifteen degrees on the platform due to centrifugal force as the carousel gained speed. Savage’s company survived until 1973.

 

Image

Plaque on one of Savage’s buildings.

 

The above two photographs are from: http://www.kingslynn-forums.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=16&start=75

 

                                                                                          

By 1900, Savage’s company employed 400 people.

 

Savage was a justice of the peace and mayor of King’s Lynn from 1889 to 1891. Savage died in 1897 at King’s Lynn, Norfolk, UK.

 

A surviving Savage Galloper with Anderson and Spooner carved figures resides at Hersheypark in Hershey, PA.

 

For further information:

Fried, Frederick. 1964. A Pictorial History of the Carousel. Vestal, NY: The Vestal Press Ltd. ISBN 0-911572-29-5.

 

Lynn Museum, West Norfolk

http://www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk/view/NCC095974

 

Engineering Timelines

http://www.engineering-timelines.com/scripts/engineeringItem.asp?id=791

National Fairground and Circus Archive

https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/nfca/researchandarticles/fairgroundrides

 

Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre

http://fairground-heritage.org.uk/learning/swings-and-roundabouts/

 

King’s Lynn Forum

http://www.kingslynn-forums.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=16

 

 

Spillman Engineering

When Allan Herschell left the Herschell-Spillman Company in 1911, the company was reorganized to the Spillman Engineering Corporation. The company continued to produce smaller, simple, portable carousels, but in 1920 started to make several models of larger permanent, elaborately decorated, jeweled and artistic carousels available with a variety of menagerie animals. The early Spillman Engineering carousels were modeled after the Allan Herschell style, but eventually the company evolved their own style. Unlike Allan Herschell’s designs, many of the Spillman Engineering horses had secondary carvings. Spillman Engineering started using aluminum heads and legs in the late 1920s and in 1930 produced an all- aluminum horse. The Allan Herschell Company purchased Spillman Engineering in 1945.

 

For further reading:

Fried, Frederick. 1964. A Pictorial History of the Carousel. Vestal, NY: The Vestal Press Ltd. ISBN 0-911572-29-5.

Manns, William, Stevens, Marianne, Shank, Peggy. 1986. Painted Ponies. Millwood, NY: Zon International Publishing. ISBN 0-939549-01-9

 

 

Solomon Stein and Harry Goldstein

Solomon Stein, born in Poland in 1881(or 1882), and Harry Goldstein, (original name is Harry Mandel), born in Russia in 1867, immigrated to the United States in 1903 (or 1904) and 1902, respectively. Stein immediately found employment as a furniture carver for Wanamaker’s Department Store. Both Stein and Goldstein, as many others in the carousel field, were also carvers of ladies’ combs. Goldstein also found employment as a carver of models for a maker of molds. It has been speculated that Stein may have worked for Looff for a short time. In 1905, Stein and Goldstein met when they began working in the William F. Mangels carousel factory. They also free-lanced for Marcus Illions.

 

http://i1.wp.com/internationalindependentshowmensmuseum.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Museum-Wood-Carver-Solomon-Stein1.jpg  

 

Solomon Stein (L) and Harry Goldstein

 

After honing their carving skills during their two-year employ with Mangels, they opened their own carving company in 1906 (or 1907) to supply horses to other manufacturers in cramped quarters at 44 Boerum Street in Brooklyn, New York. In 1912, along with Henry Dorber who supplied the mechanical mechanism, they formed Stein, Goldstein and Dorber Company. They were first located at 128 Hopkins Street in Brooklyn but soon moved to larger quarters in an old trolley barn on 1455-1459 Gates Avenue. Stein and Goldstein carved the heads while other carvers provided the bodies. When Dorber left the company in 1914 to operate one of the Stein and Goldstein carousels, they reorganized to Stein, Goldstein, The Artistic Carrousell Manufacturing Company to make complete carousels. At this time, Stein and Goldstein continued to supply carvings to other companies. They supplied Mangels with horses until about 1912. The carvers used machinery produced by other manufacturers including Mangels.

 

Stain and Goldstein horses are known for their large, nearly life size, musculature stature with large teeth. Since their horses are often in aggressive stances, some have described them as “fierce”, “frightening”, “angry” and “snarling”. Weedon and Ward (1981) said they traded “grace for strength”. The Stein and Goldstein horses sport large buckles and are elegantly and elaborately adorned with beautiful flowers, garlands and ribbons. Some of their horses are armored with chain mail, fish scales blankets and fringe. Stein and Goldstein did not carve menagerie figures. Stein and Goldstein produced the largest carousel on record, with a diameter of 60 feet and 6 rows of horses accommodating up to 100 people. In all, they built 17 carousels, 11 of which they owned and operated. There are 3 remaining in operation today.

 

 

 

Note the beautifully carved flowers on this carousel horse from Hartford, Connecticut.

 

Stein and Goldstein also carved the mirror frames and various decorations adorning each of their carousels. One very popular Stein and Goldstein Carousel still in existence can be seen in Bushnell Park, Hartford, Connecticut. Another Stein and Goldstein carousel is in New York City’s Central Park.

 

From the carousel in Hartford, Connecticut

 

In the 1920s, Stein and Goldstein carved circus and carnival figures as well as wooden horses used as a child’s barber chair and horses placed outside various stores and barber shops.

 

 

Stein and Goldstein child’s barber chair

 

Solomon Stein died in 1937. Harry Goldstein continued to operate a carousel, amusement parks and arcades until he, too,  passed away in 1945.

 

For further reading:

 

Dinger, Charlotte. 1983. Art of the Carousel. Green Village, NJ: Carousel Art, Inc. ISBN 0-914507-00-1

Fried, Frederick. 1964. A Pictorial History of the Carousel. Vestal, NY: The Vestal Press Ltd. ISBN 0-911572-29

Hinds, Anne Dion. 1990. Grab the Brass Ring: The American Carousel. New York: Crown Pub.

Manns, William, Stevens, Marianne, Shank, Peggy. 1986. Painted Ponies. Millwood, NY: Zon International Publishing. ISBN 0-939549-01-9

Weedon, Geoff and Richard Ward. 1981. Fairground Art. London: White Mouse Editions, Ltd.

Zimiles, Murray, 2007, Gilded Lions and Jeweled Horses: The Synagogue to the Carousel, Jewish Carving Traditions, Lebanon, NH: Brandeis University Press.

 

http://carousels.org/Carvers_Builders.html

http://www.carouselmuseum.com/business.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Park_Carousel

 

U. S. Merry Go Round Company

This Cincinnati based company, originally named the Gem Novelty Company, manufactured a few carousels. There are only two still in operation: Albion, PA in Borough Park and one at the National Cathedral in Washington, D. C.

 

John Zalar

John Zalar (Zahler, original spelling) (1872 or 1874-1925) was a 1902 immigrant from Slovenia (some sources indicate Zalar was from Austria) where he developed and honed his artistic and sculpting skills. With his unique skills, Zalar easily found employment with the City of New York. In 1911, Zalar moved his family to Rhode Island to work with Looff full time. When Looff moved his operation to California in 1914, Zalar move his family to California.  When Zalar’s wife died in 1915, Zalar returned to the northeast where he found employment with the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. He carved for the Philadelphia Toboggan Company from 1916 (or 1915) to 1923 (or1925). Due to health reasons, in 1920, Zalar returned to California with his family, but continued to carve horses for the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in a backyard shed until 1923. Zalar died in 1925.

 

 

 

John Zalar in the California Looff Factory, 1914 or 1915, from the Zalar Family Collection.

 

Zalar’s horses had a distinctive style with expressive eyes, flowing manes, tucked heads, flared nostrils, aggressive open mouths, and defined musculature (Gardner, 2013). Some of the horses on the Philadelphia Toboggan Company #80 carousel in Holyoke, Massachusetts are attributed to Zalar.

 

For further information:

 

Dinger, Charlotte. 1983. The Art of the Carousel. Green Village, NJ: Carousel Art, Inc. ISBN 0-914507-00-1.

Fraley, Tobin and Gary K. Wolf, Carousel Animals: Artistry in Motion. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2002.

Fried, Frederick. 1964. A Pictorial History of the Carousel. Vestal, NY: The Vestal Press Ltd. ISBN 0-911572-29-5.

Gardner, Richard, Kings Dominion Carousel PTC #44 - A Historic Masterpiece of Joy and Regret. Carousel News and Trader, Saturday, 27 April 2013. http://www.carouselnews.com/Feature-Current-and-Historic-Stories-2011-2013/Kings-Dominion-Carousel-PTC-44-A-Historic-Masterpiece-of-Joy-and-Regret.html.

 

Weedon, Geoff and Richard Ward. 1981. Fairground Art. London: White Mouse Editions, Ltd.

 

Williams, Barbara. 1980. John Zalar, “The Master Carver”. Merry-Go-Round Volume 7, no. 2.

http://www.carouselcorner.net/Articles/MerryGoRoundup/Merry_Go_Round_Up_Vol-7_1979.pdf

 

Williams, Barbara and Brian Morgan, John Zalar, PTC #65, and PTC #66.

http://www.carouselcorner.net/Articles/MerryGoRoundup/Merry_Go_Round_Up_Spring_1995_03.PDF.

 

Leo Zoller

Leo Zoller carved for Charles Looff and the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. He was the first master carver for the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. Zoller’s horses were large with long snouts, close set eyes and often in a jumping stance. Zoller carved all 70 horses and the four chariots on the circa 1908 Philadelphia Toboggan Company #17, the largest carousel in the United States, at Six Flags in Atlanta, Georgia. Zoller was paid $1,932.49 for the carvings. The horses were so big, the legs had to be shortened so people could mount them. Zoller also carved all 43 horses and the two chariots for the circa 1909 Philadelphia Toboggan Company #18 now at Carousel Center Mall in Syracuse, New York. It took Zoller a year to carve the horses for which he was paid $1000. Zoller carved for the Philadelphia Toboggan Company until about 1911.

 

A Zoller horse from Philadelphia Toboggan Company #18

For further information:

Hinds, Anne Dion. 1990. Grab the Brass Ring: The American Carousel. New York: Crown Pub.

 

The National Carousel Association

http://carousels.org/index.html