- The carousel was born from a popular game played on horseback.riding 2_1038 image by Robert Molnar from Fotolia.com
What we are familiar with as a carousel ride today, originated from a game played in the 1100s by Arabian and Turkish men on horseback. It gained the name of garosello or carosella ("little war") by Italian and Spanish spectators, who later introduced the game in Europe, where it was refined by the French. The carousel became even more advanced in the 1700s when steam was used to power the machines. What is considered the golden age of carousels, from the 1860s to the 1930s, changed their quality and look. New animals were introduced including jungle animals, teddy bears and mythical creatures to name a few. Regardless of its renewed state, fewer than 150 carousels from the "golden age" exist in the United States today.
- Carousels not only depict horses, but often a variety of animals.rooster carousel image by Jackie DeBusk from Fotolia.com
Gustav Dentzel was one of the earliest designers of carousels in the United States, with a distinct style that depicted horses and others animals in a realistic manner (known as Philadelphia style). His carousels tended to be large with quality carving and were consistent in the style of animals, making his machines recognizable. The menagerie animals were thought to be created by Dentzel's head carver, Salvatore Cernigliaro. Dentzel carousels can be found throughout the United States and Canada.