A carousel (or carrousel) is an amusement ride consisting of a rotating platform with seats for passengers. The "seats" are traditionally in the form of wooden horses or animals, which are often moved mechanically up and down to simulate galloping. This leads to one of the machine's alternative names, the galloper. Other popular names are merry-go-round, roundabout and flying horses. Usually, circus music is looped while the ride spins.
Although modern carousels in America are mainly populated with horses, carousels in Europe, and in America from earlier periods, frequently include diverse varieties of mounts, including dogs, cats, rabbits, pigs, and deer, to name a few. And sometimes, regular chairlike seats are used as well.
Any rotating platform may also be called a carousel. In a playground, a merry-go-round is usually a simple, child-powered rotating platform with bars or handles to which children can cling while riding. At an airport, rotating conveyors in the baggage claim area are often called carousels.
HistoryThe earliest carousel is known from a Byzantine Empire bas-relief dating to around 500 A.D., which depicts riders in baskets suspended from a central pole. The word carousel originates from the Italian garosello and Spanish carosella ("little war"), used by crusaders to describe a combat preparation exercise and game played by Turkish and Arabian horsemen in the 1100s. In a sense this early device could be considered a cavalry training mechanism; it prepared and strengthened the riders for actual combat as they wielded their swords at the mock enemies. European Crusaders discovered this contraption and brought the idea back to their own lands, primarily the ruling lords and kings. There the carousel was kept secret within the castle walls, to be used for training by horsemen; no carousel was allowed out in the public. Eventually some small carousel rides were made and installed for royalty in their private gardens. Soon after that, with the pomp of France and circumstance of Paris a grand game was devised and played in Le Place du Carrousel. Along with a pageantry-filled jousting tournament it also consisted of "combatants" throwing clay balls filled with perfumed water at each other, thus those being hit would smell for days. A highlight of the carrousel was the ring-tilt, in which knights would attempt to spear suspended rings at full gallop.
As for the Turkish and Arabian horseman, a carousel was built around 1680 as a training device for the ring-tilt, consisting of wooden horses suspended from arms branching from a center pole. Riders aimed to spear rings situated around the circumference as the carousel was moved by a man, horse, or mule. With the development of craft guilds and the relative freeing up of the trades in Europe, by the early nineteenth century carousels were being built and operated at various fairs and gatherings in central Europe and England. For example, by 1745 AD, wagonmaker Michael Dentzel had converted his wagonmaking business in what is now southern Germany to a carousel-making enterprise. Animals and mechanisms would be crafted during the winter months and the family and workers would go touring in their wagon train through the region, operating their large menagerie carousel at various venues. Other makers such as Heyn in Germany and Bayol in France were also beginning to make carousels at this time. In its own unique style, England was also rapidly developing a carousel-making tradition.
- Coloring book, history, construction handbook.
- A Brief Carousel History, Carousel Magic! web site, 2003-07-30
- The oldest carousel in the world
- How It's Made - Discovery Channel
- the National Carousel Association
- the C. W. Parker Carousel Museum
- International Museum of Carousel Art
- Video of a hand-cranked carousel in Szentendre, Hungary
- Merry-Go-Round Museum in Sandusky, Ohio
- Historic Carousels at the 1964-65 New York World's Fair
- Carousel Works
- carrouselconnection.com W.F. Mangels / M.C. Illions Kiddie Carrousel Horses
- Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum
carousal in Czech: Kolotoč
carousal in Danish: Karrusel
carousal in German: Karussell
carousal in Spanish: Tiovivo
carousal in Esperanto: Karuselo
carousal in French: Carrousel (loisir)
carousal in Indonesian: Korsel
carousal in Hebrew: סחרחרה
carousal in Dutch: Draaimolen
carousal in Dutch Low Saxon: Dreischute
carousal in Japanese: メリーゴーラウンド
carousal in Norwegian: Karusell
carousal in Polish: Karuzela
carousal in Portuguese: Carrossel
carousal in Russian: Карусель
carousal in Silesian: Karasol
carousal in Serbian: Ringišpil
carousal in Finnish: Karuselli
carousal in Swedish: Karusell
carousal in Turkish: Atlıkarınca
carousal in Chinese: 旋轉木馬
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