Major Carousel Builders and Carvers (Page 2 of 3)
An Introduction by Brian Morgan
A more natural and realistic depiction of horses and menagerie animals.
Gustav Dentzel immigrated from Germany and was one of the earlier carousel builders. The company was carving and creating carousels from about1870 until 1928. Dentzel carousels tend to be large park machines with a mixture of horses and other animals (menagerie). The animals are realistic and well carved. Although the company carved over a long period of time, the style of horses remained remarkably consistent with very few style changes after 1900. Although Dentzel carved menagerie carousels virtually from the beginning, it is widely (and mistakenly) believed that the menagerie animals were created by Salvatore Cernigliaro, Dentzel's head carver from approximately 1903. Gustav Dentzel died in 1909 and was succeeded by his son, William. The company closed upon the death of William in 1928.
PHILADELPHIA TOBOGGAN COMPANY
PTC, as it is known, is one of the few carousel companies where the founders were not carvers. Accordingly, PTC went through many dramatic style changes with very little continuity from one head carver to the next. PTC also carved very natural looking horses; their later style included wonderfully carved armored and very sweet-faced horses. Early PTC carousels included menagerie animals, probably acquired from the E. Joy Morris factory. PTC also created a range of roller coasters which were more successful than the carousels. PTC numbered all its carousels at the factory and kept track of their whereabouts. A successor to the company is still in operation.
The most famous PTC carousel, and the only remaining PTC menagerie, is in Burlington, Colorado, very close to the Kansas border. A number of other PTC carousels still operate; more accessible PTCs are on the pier in Santa Monica, California, Six Flags, Atlanta, Georgia, and in Fall River, Massachusetts.
D. C. MULLER & BRO.
Daniel Muller and his brother Alfred operated their own carousel company from 1903 to 1917, building approximately 12 to 16 carousels. Daniel Muller is generally recognized as the greatest carver of carousel animals, carving very realistic and artistic animals. His only two remaining carousels are at Forest Park, Queens, New York, and Cedar Point, Ohio. None of his trade mark Military Muller carousels still exist although the outside row horses on the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania are all "Miliary Mullers." The Muller brothers had originally worked for Dentzel, and after the closing of their own enterprise they again went back to Dentzel. Muller's style is recognizable in some of the later Dentzel carousels. It is popular to attribute any well-carved horse to Daniel Muller; however, there is no documented evidence that he carved for any company other than Muller and Dentzel.LONG FAMILY - The LONG/LEUPOLD CAROUSELS
The Longs were a multi-branched family of carousel and amusement park owners and operators. Descended from English immigrant Edward Long and his two sons - Arthur and George W. Sr. Between 1876 and 1903, the Longs made eight carousels, carved by Charles Leupold of Philadelphia, all but one were originally operated by one of the Long family in new England amusement parks.
Some of these carousels were sold as the paarks were upgraded with more modern carousels. One carousel, #6 was carved for Edward Long's daughter, who had remained in England. The final Long carousel, #8, operated in Bushkill Park, Easton PA for many years until it was sold and placed in storage. It is believed to still be in storage. Descendants of the Long family still own and operate Seabreeze Park, Rochester NY.
Edward Joy Morris, (son of a rich Philadelphia lawyer and politician,) a businessman, generally listed as a builder and contractor created a company to manufacture, amusement rides, including roller coasters, chutes and carousels from 1895. His family wealth enabled him to build up a large inventory of carousel figures, which enabled him to fill orders much faster than his competition.
Morris was not identified as a manufacturer of carousels until 1989, when two research articles were published. Prior to that the few remaining Morris carousels were misidentified as early PTC. In 1903 Morris sold his facilities and remaining inventory (approximately 200 pieces) to the newly formed Philadelphia Toboggan Company. These carvings formed the bulk of the early PTC carousels, menagerie pieces from the Morris factory, or carved in the Morris style were found on PTC carousels through #14 (1907). Notwithstanding the sale of his carousel business in 1903, Morris maintained some interest and was listed under “carousels” in Philadelphia Trade Directories into the 1920s. The last remaining Morris carousel at Lake Quassapaug Connecticut was broken up at auction in 1989.
Charles Leupold is responsible for developing the styles of a number of the animals that are highly regarded today. He carved all eight Long family carousels in his shop in Philadelphia, was the head carver for all E. Joy Morris carousels, was head carver for the Dentzel Company, mentor and occasional carver for Daniel Muller and carved for the Philadelphia Toboggan Company carving, or establishing the style for the animals on the much admired PTC #6 in Burlington Colorado. His son, Charles Frederick Leopold (using an anglicized version of the family name) is known to have carved with his father at Dentzel, Muller and E Joy Morris. Unidentiied carvings by Leupold are probably found on early PTC and Dentzel, and Muller carousels.