The carousel originated in Europe, but reached its greatest fame in America in the 1900's. The first carousels featured gondolas, carts, menagerie animals, and horses. The French developed many variations of the carousel. In one variation, the riders tried to spear gold rings with lances while the carousel rotated at full speed. This undoubtedly led to the phrase, "catching the brass ring" on later carousels.
In the mid 16th century, grand tournaments were held in France. Saddle makers, tailors, jewelers, and wig makers created extravagant costumes for both horse and rider for these occasions. Inspiration for later carousel carvers apparently originated from these events.
During the late 1800's, many skilled European carvers immigrated to the United States to produce carousels. The carvings of these immigrants were a great improvement over the first efforts of unskilled carvers. Usually the side of the carousel horse facing the audience, the "Romance" side, was adorned with carved decorations, while the inner side received little attention. The golden age of carousels only lasted 25 years, but still brings back wonderful childhood memories today.
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Proud mom of a 29 year old son who is a Computer Software Engineer.
I have been a fan of the Romantic way of decorating for years. I lean towards English Cottage Chic, with French Chic thrown in. Shabby Chic was my first encounter with a style I liked.
I enjoy antiquing, and thrift shopping.