Monday, August 6, 2012

Carousel Memories

Oh the carousel! Who doesn't have a sweet memory of a ride on a carousel? Climbing up and sliding into the saddle of that richly carved horse riding it round and round to the accompaniment of the carnival music. I can almost hear that nostalgic sound just thinking about it, can't you?

               
                                                                                       (photo from writinghorseback.com)

Here is a little history of the carousel that I thought you might enjoy reading. Carousels are commonly populated with horses, each horse weighing roughly 900 pounds, but may include diverse varieties of mounts, like pigs, zebras, tigers, mythological creatures (dragons, sea monsters ans unicorns) and deer, to name a few. Most have some sort of bench or chariot to sit on as well.
Below is one of my favorite non horse carousels. It is the St. Louis Zoo Carousel. Every animal is different and represents animals they have there at the zoo. Built in 2003. Beautiful detail work on each one!

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             (The above and below photo by © Jean Bennett for the National Carousel Association)

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Although the carousel developed gradually in European countries such as Germany, France, England and Italy it did not reach its full scale development until it went into its American phase. The first carousel to be seen in the U.S. was created in Hessville, Ohio, (near Toledo) during the 1840's by Franz Wiesenhoffer.
The first carousel patent was granted on July 25, 1871 to Willham Schneider of Davenport, Iowa. The American figures are more representative of active beasts, those with tossed manes, expressive eyes, and postures of movement are their hallmarks. Just a few of the places carousels could be found were at fairgrounds, parks, sea side parks, ocean front amusement parks and  piers. In the early 20th century there were approximately 4,000 carousels throughout the U.S. By the 21st century, that number had been reduced to 150.

                                                               (image from a Franklin Mint plate order form)

Okay, now! You're probably wondering why are you telling us about carousels. Well, this is why...
do you remember me showing you this frame that I had purchased at an antique mall? And how I told you that I had a signed print that I had been waiting for a large enough frame to come along for?


I bought this print for $5 when I was in the 8th grade and have kept it all this time because I just love it!
It is called "Weathered Memory" dated 1979, by Robert W. Addison, 1924-1988. On his website, www.robertaddisongallery.com he is described as being The Master of light and shadow. It says he captivated audiences with his haunting, realistic views of a vanished past by evoking mood with atmosphere to portray his unique perspective. (If you like paintings of Victorian houses check out this website!)
So with that being said maybe you'll understand this print better. And yes, it is a carousel. So here's the connection, and here's the print!!!


A closer look...


I know! I know! You're thinking, What the heck?! Right? I know the horses look a little evil, (so much so, that my kids never would even let me hang it in their rooms!) but for some reason I have always loved it!
And as I wrote above, it is a haunting, realistic view of a vanished past...a "Weathered Memory".
This Weathered Memory probably looked like the below photo in its day. In its former days of glory.

 
                   
I hope you enjoyed your trip with me back to childhood. One more time, let's close our eyes and listen for that music of long ago, as we move up and down and round and round, with smiles and laughter.
Thanks so much for visiting! Enjoy your day!

6 comments:

  1. What a beautiful post, Gina. I have always loved carousels, to this day, I still do....Christine

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  2. I loved carousels as a child!! I have always wanted a carousel horse.... still looking...

    Hugs,
    Deb

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  3. There is something magical about carousels. Personally, I like the non-horse variety because they are more unique.

    I can almost hear the music starting to play!
    Debra

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  4. Excellent post. I know very little about carousels, so a question I have - - - - are there many differences between them? I mean, with the horses looking so much alike I wonder if this is the carousel from the painting?

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  5. Thanks for your kind visit to the "Grand Lady" but OMG what a delightful ride I've had via the carousel... Your picture does bring fond memories...I'm sure your lovely horses will keep you cool as your rally around and around with the mystical music and dapple grey and white horses....ENJOY !!!!

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  6. Interesting your post is about the history of Carousels. I have always loved them. Your picture is wonderful and much more interesting to look at than most I have seen.
    Happy Saturday
    Betsy

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