Photo album "Carousel-shaped items in the museum Collection” exposition for the birthday of carousel

Each of us has his our own memories associated with various carouses – the one near the house, circus or seen for the first time in recreation park. These presentments or memories are always pleasant; they are associated with a holiday or just a good day from childhood. Colorful and bright, exciting and entertaining, amazing and joyful carousel complexes delight people of all ages. They give a feeling of lightness and happiness and, perhaps, help to realize the cycle of being - after all, the symbolism of the circle is eternity.

In the 16th century, carousel was the name of a holiday that replaced knight tournaments. The carousel often included equestrian ballets and horse riders' gala exhibitions. The holidays were distinguished by the participants and spectators gorgeous attire and attracted a lot of attention. The riders competed in agility and strength without coming into contact with each other. An analogue of the same carousel that we are familiar with today appeared in the 17th century in France. Carved figures of horses were mounted on a platform. Compared to the first carousels, the present one is massively simplify and at the same time improved. By the way, a popular attraction where the seats are attached to chains and then rise in the air is one of the types of the same carousel that has evolved over time.

Initially, the figures were suspended, and the carousel itself was set in motion by hand or horses and donkeys power. By the middle of the 19th century, a rotating carousel platform was developed, and figures were fixed on it. Around the same time, the torsion mechanism was automatize - steam and electric driven carousels appeared. A mechanism appeared that allowed the figures not only to stand on a rotating platform, but to move up and down as well. The roundabout mechanism became a breakthrough. It was on this day that the American enterpriser William Schneider got his patent. It was a luxurious two-story carousel, a real work of art - many colorful horses, closed from the wind booths and special places for parents. The horses circled rather slowly, at about the same speed as a person walks in a park. So that visitors would not get bored, Schneider came up with the idea of put on music - fair organ. In addition, there were various surprises as well: artificial clouds moved above the heads of the audience, as in a theater, magic pictures replaced each other, mechanical dolls moved in the very heart of the carousel, sweets and souvenirs were sold to passengers from the ground, and Bengal lights sparkled on the tent in the evenings. It is noteworthy, that the direction of carousels’ rotation depends on the road traffic regulations: for example, in Japan or England with the left-hand traffic all carousels rotate clockwise, and in the countries with right-hand traffic, the carousels move the other way around. A carousel is a circus tent, where you are both a spectator and a rider; it is the road back to childhood, which does not end while the music is playing, while tickets, donuts, candy floss and fried chestnuts are sold.

By the way, another type of carousel - the Ferris Wheel or observation wheel was created in 1893. Its inventor was George Washington Ferris. It was decided to build a wheel that would extinguish Eiffel Tower, created in 1889 in honor of the World Exhibition in Paris. The attraction, created by Ferris, shocked the imagination of ordinary spectators and experts in engineering: the weight of the wheel was 2000 tons, and its diameter was 75 meters.

Unfortunately, during the Great Depression, carousel production declined, and many already existing carousels were sold out piece by piece for a penny. Of almost five thousand wooden carousels, about one hundred and fifty have survived. 

The carousel was rather common plot in the works of ancient and modern craftsmen and artisans. The images of carousels adorn the walls of many domiciles, offices and banks around the world. In the 19th century, the image of the beloved attraction was implemented in mechanic compositions, amusing automata, coins-operated machines, music boxes, etc. Now, having thrown a coin, one could enjoy the merry holiday with musical accompaniment.

The museum Collection exposition features items decorated by carousels or having the form of carousel as well - amusing automata, coin-operated machines, musical boxes and table clocks with musical movement  that were created in the late 19th – 20th centuries.

Photo album "Carousel-shaped items in the museum Collection” is posted in our Photo gallery.