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Carousel Deer
late 1800s

Carousels ê l'americaine
Although European in origin, carousels came into their own in the United States in the late 1800s, where they became larger and more elaborately decorated than their Old World predecessors. (In general, the richer carving appears on the visible outer side of the animals.) In addition to horses--by far the most common animal--carousels also included prancing goats, hopping rabbits, and cats with birds, frogs, crabs, and even squid in their mouths. To meet the growing demand for carousels, the Herschell-Spillman Co. of North Tonawanda, New York, released a catalogue of carousel animals. This catalog page features item No. 3, "American deer."

A German immigrant founded the nation's first carousel shop in 1867: G.A. Dentzel, Steam and Horsepower Caroussell [sic] Builder.
Many of the skilled craftsmen who carved and painted wooden carousel animals were recent arrivals from Europe. Many added particular details--large buckles or lolling tongues--to identify their work.
Web display only

Learn more!
· American Carousels: Sources of Information
· "Sidewalks of New York"
· "School Days"

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