Carousel of Merry Go Round?
Is a Merry Go Round or a Carousel? When I was little I always wanted to “ride” the merry-go-round. Now that I am older, I still want to ride but it’s because I enjoy looking at the “carousel” animals. There is something magical no matter your age about the lights above your head, the mirrors and of course picking your animal. Most carousels I have seen also have the bench, but I admit I have never sat in one. Even when our kids were babies, we were always excited to hold them on a magical horse and take pictures of them riding.
And then the music starts and you hear the tiny whoosh before it starts to spin. Our kids are old enough now that they can ride themselves so YES, we all get our own horse. I love it and in fact I have pictures of my husband and I on a carousel ride together, before we had kids.
Where did these fantastical treasures come from?
It is said they were originally designed for a combat practice in Arabia, where they used swords and practiced stabbing at balls, later a smaller model, made from wood was created for children. These carousels which then were found in Italy became “crusader” type games for the kids that were interactive while they spun.
But the carousel that we know today really evolved in the 1700’s. They were man or horse powered and found at fairs. Luckily, the men and horses were given break in 1861 when an Englishman, Thomas Bradshaw developed a way to use steam power. He did a great job, but America took the lead in developing the larger and more complex carousel’s that we still use today.
It didn’t take long for the artists and creators to begin adding zoo animals and other magical creatures to ride along with the horses.
The merry go rounds did lose their place as the centerpiece of an amusement park when roller coasters were invented and became rides mostly for little kids. But the talent of restoration and new beautiful restoration of these interactive works of art they are making a comeback. I personally think they have made a comeback like so many other things because grandparent and parents today want to relive the experience and share it with the small children in their lives.
I remember a person in our neighborhood that loved to paint ceramics and I was fascinated with a large life-size merry-go-round horse that they were painting. These enchanting animals are still loved by many as party themes, collectible items and conversations pieces in home and restaurant decor. I think if I had to pick to words that immediately come to mind when thinking of them they would be – Nostalgic Magical.
I would love to hear about your favorite carousel memory.