Carousels of Long Ago
How the Ancient Merry-Go-Round Traveled West

Leaving the Rhineland and Landing in the U.S.A. mid-1800's

Michael Dentzel travels with his whole family around  southwest Germany during the summer season visiting fairs and carnivals with his carousel ride, circa 1830's.  During the winter the family and workers would make wagons, wagon wheels, carousel animals and mechanisms in their Bad Kreuznach workshop.

Gustav Dentzel sets up his first American carousel in Philadelphia, PA, circa 1860's.  His father Michael sent him and his brothers across the Atlantic to the United States on a sailing ship with a carousel in the ship's hold.  This was one of the first carousels in the western hemisphere.

 

 

This Dare carousel still operates by the bays and sand dunes of Watch Hill RI.  It is America's oldest operating carousel; a "Flying Horses" machine that has been flying since 1883.  This old style carousel has a brass ring catcher.

Gustav Dentzel's elder son, William H. Dentzel I, built this machine at the Germantown PA workshops while he was head of the company.  The Jester Head became the trademark of this era's carousels, circa 1920.  These machines were considered by many to represent the world's grandest classical period of carousel making.  The Dentzels were known for their elegantly carved and painted animals and their precision crafted durable mechanisms.

 

 

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