Carousel Construction - How Does a Carousel Work?

Carousels, one of the oldest amusement rides, are mainly made of wood and metal. The main part of the carousel - the center pole, is made of steel. Other metal parts are electric/hydraulic motor, gears, bearings, crankshafts, horse hangers, and platform suspension rods, which are made with brass sleeves. Wooden parts are horses (if they are made like on classical carousels), the platform on which passengers stand, sweeps, rounding boards, panels, and mirror frames.

Before any manufacturing occurs, the carousel is designed according to the wishes of the customer, cost, maintenance considerations, and whether the carousel will be traveling or fixed. (If it is a traveling carousel, the central pole will be made to be folded in half. The rest will be the same).

Picture Of Double Decker Carousel

The next part is acquiring a band organ for the carousel from a specialty manufacturer because the carousel can't rotate in silence. Band organs play music when bellows push air through wooden pipes, stops, and valves.

Some carousels use disk players because the maintenance of band organs is costly but not real carousel music. According to the carousel theme or on the customer's favorite historical model, horses are made of wood or fiberglass, or aluminum but modeled after the classic wooden ones. The horses' outer side (one facing outwards) is more ornate, and before making, precise drawings are made, which show how the horse will look. These drawings are transferred to basswood pieces to help the carver cut the parts of a horse. After cutting and gluing, the horse is carved with the consideration of the design and the wood grain. The Carved block is sanded, and other small details like tail and mane are glued on. To finish one carousel horse up to the point when it is prepared for painting, the carver needs around 35 hours of work. The horse is then is stained, primed, painted, and varnished according to the original design. They are usually painted in bright colors, and the paints chosen for them are chose to last long and look pretty. The outer side of a horse (so-called “romance side”) can also be decorated with rhinestones and other jewels. Other parts of the carousel are made to be easily assembled and disassembled, which helps with maintenance and moving of the carousel.

Carousels rotate on a stationary center pole and are powered by electric motors. The electric motor spins a small pulley, which drives a drive belt and a larger pulley. Rotation transfers from pulley to a horizontal shaft connected to a pinion gear that turns a platform gear and with it the whole carousel. This gear supports a vertical shaft connected to another pinion gear and the drive gear, which drives so-called sweeps that are horizontal and are coming out the center toward the outer edge like rays. They have cranks connected to horse hangers and move horses up and down as the carousel rotates.

Picture Of Double Decker Carousel