Fun and Interesting Facts about Carousels

Picture Of Fun Carousel

Carousels are popular for more than 100 years and are, some of them, today considered works of art. Here are some facts about them:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • When making carousels, manufacturers would place larger animals to the edge and smaller to the hub. Smaller would go slower which made them safer for small children.
  • There are three general types of animals for carousels, depending on their stance: “standing figures” which have at least three of their feet on the ground, “prancers” with two front feet in the air and two on the ground, and “jumpers” with all four feet in the air, represented as if they are running. “Jumpers” are also the ones that move up and down.
  • Some carousels made in Germany had two stories (decks). They were not too popular outside of the Germany because they took too long to load or unload of riders.
  • Many modern carousel animals are molded after classical but made out of aluminum or fiberglass.
  • 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.
  • Carousel chariots were added to the early modern carousels of 20th century to allow ladies to ride without the need to sit sidesaddle on horses.
  • The National Zoo in Washington has a solar powered carousel.
  • Early carousels of 19th century America were advertised as highly recommended by physicians as an aid in circulating the blood.
  • Some golden age carousels horses had a mane carved in such a way so they provide a place for rider for holding while climbing into seat and while riding.
  • In an effort to boost morale during World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered, when the War started, all carousels to work again. They previously stopped working as a way to preserve important war materials as fuel and electricity.
  • Carousels are, together with roller coasters, one of the oldest amusement rides still in use.
  • The Carousel Works in Mansfield, Ohio, USA, makes a carousels whose figures are in shapes of endangered species to bring attention to those species.
  • The first known carousel ride in United States operated in 1799 in Salem, Massachusetts, and was a called “wooden horse circus ride”.
  • Some early carousel horses were made with mane and/or tail made of real horsehair.
  • Horse's side which faces outward was more heavily carved than the side facing inward. This way it is possible to tell the origin of a carousel horse because British carousels spin clockwise while the other spin counterclockwise.