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.