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The Earliest Known Use Of The Term Merry-Go-Round Is Found In A 1729 Poem

National Merry-Go-Round Day on July 25 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.
  • 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 first known carousel ride in United States operated in 1799 in Salem, Massachusetts, and was a called “wooden horse circus ride”.
  • In the 1840s, Franz Wiesenoffer created the first merry-go-round in the United States in Hessville, Ohio.
  • July 25, 1871 – The first carousel patent was issued to William Schneider of Davenport, Iowa who, due to patenting the carousel in 1871, is considered the official inventor of the modern carousel by the U.S. Patent Office.
  • Every year, the NCA (National Carousel Association) hosts a convention called The New England Carousel Revolution, where people travel around in buses all over the New England area to check out vintage carousels in parks, museums, and boardwalks.
  • 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.
  • Carousels are an important part of American history and because of that The U.S. Postal Service has issued commemorative stamps honoring the carousel – twice.
  • Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion in Rollag, Minnesota, presents an only steam-powered carousel left in the U.S. every Labor Day weekend.
  • The National Zoo in Washington has a solar powered carousel.
  • American aviator Charles Lindbergh, that was the first to cross the Atlantic in an airplane, rode a Coney Island carousel before the flight to relax before taking off.
  • About 300 years ago, an unknown Frenchman got the idea to build a device to train young noblemen in the art of ring-spearing. His device consisted of carved horses and chariots suspended by chains from arms radiating from a center pole. This was probably the beginning of the carousel as we have come to know it.
  • The “Chinese Ring Game” in the Tivoli Gardens of Paris, France, 1815. The sticks used earlier to knock off a man’s hat are replaced by the grabbing of rings, showing the evolution of the cavalry practice the carousels were originally designed to do.
  • The earliest known use of the term merry-go-round is found in a poem written by Englishman George Alexander Stevens in 1729.
  • Some carousel advertisements in early nineteenth century America stated that the ride was highly recommended by physicians as an aid in circulating the blood.
  • 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.
  • Located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Horsin’ Around is one of America’s few carousel figure carving schools.

Sources:

National Day Calendar

Days of the Year

History of Carousels

Showmen’s Museum

Spokane Carousel