This historic wooden carousel was built about 1905 by the Herschell-Spillman Company in North Tonawanda, New York. It is a portable track type carousel. According to the National Carousel Association, it is one of 5 carousels of its type still operational in North America. While the original owners are unknown, according to local oral history, it was purchased by the parish from a traveling carnival in the early 1900’s.
Many carousels have a platform and horses that are suspended from above. The up and down motion of the horses are driven from an overhead crank mechanism. This carousel is a track type carousel. Its platform rides on wheels running on a wooden track on the ground. The back and forth motion of the horses are driven from eccentrics attached to the wheels below.
The carousel was originally steam powered. The steam engine originally sat atop a Reeves & Company traction engine. It is believed that the traction engine pulled the carousel from place to place and then powered it when it was erected in a venue. When the steam engine was retired, an electric motor was connected to power the carousel.
Do you know the difference between a carousel and a merry-go-round? Merry-go-rounds usually turn clockwise while carousels typically go counter-clockwise