creatures great and creatures small ...
come to life on the carousel ~
American craftsmen take the cake ...
for the most beautiful carousels produced to date ~
Fascinating history of the carousel from the International Museum of Carousel Art ~
"None of the old carousels of Europe could match the product of this group of American craftsmen. Ingenious men all, they set their own precedents. Their carousels were bigger and more elaborately housed. Their animals and chariots were more beautifully carved and in a richer variety of styles. There were war horses, parade horses, Indian ponies, and horses straight out of a child's dream. There were animals of the jungle, the plains, the farm and the forest. There were even dogs, cats, teddy bears, and mythical beasts. Any creature remotely rideable could be found on our carousels.
The golden age of the American carousel lasted until the great depression of the 1930's. With the decline of amusement parks and the economy in general, used carousels satisfied the small market. The few remaining companies closed or moved on to other products. Many carousels were abandoned or destroyed.
As the economy improved, so did the technology for producing carousels. No longer would the labor-intensive carving be done. Now, cast alluminum and later fiberglass would produce the animals. Technology also was creating larger and more exciting amusement rides. The carousel was no longer the centerpiece, but now a "childrens ride."
In the 1970's, interest was renewed in carousel animals as a beautiful collector items. Respected as fine woodcarving and the ultimate decorator item, the value of surviving animals went from a few hundred to several thousand dollars in a decade. Antique dealers purchased and dismantled many carousels for the profit that could be made. This trend continues to this day.
Of the more than 4,000 carousels built in America during the "golden age", fewer than 150 exist intact today. The IMCA is working to make sure this number does not go down, but actually increases as more carousels are taken out of storage, restored, and placed back in public operation."
Hope you enjoyed the read.
The Art Loft Gallery, LTD., a locally owned and operated business in Collinsville, Illinois, has been open since 1984. In addition to offering custom picture framing services, The Art Loft Gallery, LTD. is an authorized dealer for renowned artist, Patricia Buckley Moss, and also has a wide variety of antiques and giftware for sale. Come in for a unique shopping experience and enjoy a cup of Starbucks and a cookie while you shop. Contact Us