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Learn How To Carve A Carousel Figure At The “Horsin’ Around” School In Tennessee

National Merry-Go-Round Day on July 25th recognizes the amusement ride associated with carnival music. Invite a friend. Pick your horse or tiger take one for a spin!

  • Along with the roller coaster, the merry-go-round is one of the oldest amusement rides. Also known as the carousel, the merry-go-round rotates on a circular platform around a pole.
  • Often, carousels name their horses. The names add personality to the horses and bring them to life. Undeniably, names like Galloper, Jumper, and Roundabout became favorites among riders. While horses dominate the carousel world, lions, tigers, and many other exotic animals fill the platforms, too.
  • The earliest known depiction of the merry-go-round is in 500 A.D. The Byzantine Empire’s ride depicts baskets carrying riders suspended from a central pole.
  • The word carousel comes from the word ‘garosello,’ which is Italian, and the word ‘Carosella,’ which is Spanish. It means ‘little battle.’ This was used by crusaders as a description of the combat preparation exercises and games that were played by the Arabian and Turkish horsemen during the 12th century.
  • In the 1840s, Franz Wiesenoffer created the first merry-go-round in the United States in Hessville, Ohio.  He did not patent the design, and so he’s not officially credited as the creator.
  • July 25, 1871 – The first carousel patent. William Schneider of Davenport, Iowa, due to patenting the carousel in 1871, is considered the official inventor of the modern carousel by the U.S. Patent Office.
  • Some of the world’s most magical carousels can be found at:
    • The Musée des Arts Forains at the Pavillons de Bercy in Paris
    • Wisconsin’s House on the Rock
    • Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn, New York.  Jane’s Carousel is housed in a glass box, providing amazing urban views of New York.
    • The Stoomcarrousel in Efteling, Netherlands. The Stoomcarrousel, on the other hand, is a much older carousel, which celebrates steam power. It was built in 1895, and it traveled around many places until an amusement park in Efteling purchased it in 1956.
  • Some carousel advertisements in early nineteenth-century America stated that the ride was highly recommended by physicians as an aid in circulating the blood.
  • Between 2,000 and 3,000 carousels were produced in the U.S. during its golden age of wooden carousels (early 1880s to early 1930s); today, there are only about 200 still in operation. (For a list of antique wooden carousels still in operation, see the NCA Census of classic wood carousels.
  • To relax before taking off on what became the first successful solo nonstop trans-Atlantic flight in 1927, American aviator Charles Lindbergh ventured down to Coney Island to ride the carousel.
  • The oldest operating platform carousel in the United States, named the Flying Horses, dates from 1876 and is located on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.
  • There are only 11 classic wooden carousels with operating brass ring machines left in the U.S.
  • The original entrance sign to the shop of one of America’s earliest carousel pioneers, Gustav Dentzel, is on display at the Merry-Go-Round Museum in Sandusky, Ohio, USA, and dates from around 1867.
  • Located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Horsin’ Around is one of America’s few carousel figure carving schools.
  • The world’s largest indoor carousel is the one located at the House on the Rock, near Dodgeville and Spring Green, Wisconsin in Iowa County. It has 269 carousel animals, 182 chandeliers, and over 20,000 lights.
  • The National Zoo in Washington has a solar-powered carousel.
  • The Carousel Works in Mansfield, Ohio, USA, makes carousels whose figures are in the shapes of endangered species to bring attention to those species.


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History of Carousels