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29yrswithaGApass

Nineteenth Century Carousel

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I think this is one of the most interesting spotlights I've written up. I learned a lot about the Carousel and the whole manufacture of Carousels in England. I hope we get more info from our readers to finally confirm that they did use steam power for at least the first season (as we are pretty sure they did). I also couldn't figure out what the fuel was for the steam engine before it got to the park as well as when it ran under steam.

 

I was researching other steam roundabouts in England and found great pictures of the engines without all the protective glass that GA's had:

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You can really see their resemblance to steam tractors that were also built by Savage:

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There is a very good out-of-print book about the history of Savage titled Savage of King's Lynn - Inventor of machines & merry-go-rounds by David Braithwaite.

 

Below is a photo from the book of Great Adventure's Carousel when it was on the touring circuit in Europe.

 

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I was the lead at the Carousel for a couple of weeks in 1985 and have a few memories of the ride;

 

- The ride cycle was extra long because it took just as long for the start-up and run time of the ride as it did for the ride to coast to a stop. Often anxious guests would want to jump down the tall staircase as the ride slowed but we would need to insist that they remain on until it came to a complete stop (as per the operator's manual!).

 

- The Carousel sometimes would not start when the START button was depressed. The compressed air engine would be on a down-stroke and need a nudge to get it going. The operators would need to grab the ride by the metal handle rails on the staircase and push really hard. You would be surprised how much the Carousel weighed when fully loaded.

 

- Also, the brooms and pans that we used to clean the ride area were kept within the center structure of the ride which was accessed through a hinged doorway panel. Once opened we would have to climb down to ground level where they were stored. That entire area was covered with grease from the engine and smelt like an old mechanic's shop.

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it was much simpler to operate a few seasons ago, the only pain was the mag locks on the gates had to be done in sequence and the start button had to be depressed the entire time. also larger guests still had to strap the belt around them or they couldn't ride, i always thought the straps were very small

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As the ride spun, the horses spun outwards (like when a Flying Wave spins and the swings spin outward). That's why there are the slots on the floor that go outward:

 

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It could, but they would not only have to remove the metal retainers they put on to keep the figures in l\place, but the Carousel would have to run faster again which I don't see happening.

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I have been looking for this photo every since I formatted the Carousel Spotlight and I have finally found it. Below is a view of the Carousel's canopy which was stripped of its inlaid mirrors and decorative trim during the 1985 season. The building was under refurbishment and all the colorful decorations were reinstalled for 1986.

 

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I just learned two interesting pieces of Carousel information after reading a newspaper article featuring Warner LeRoy from 1974.

 

- The steam driven Carousel was actually powered by coal! Warner LeRoy was urged to replace the coal burning steam engine with electricity but he would not allow it.

 

- Prior to the start of a Carousel ride cycle a very loud horn would sound alerting guests to stand clear. (Don't forget, it originally didn't have queue barriers around it.) The sound was so intrusive that guests complained about it and often suggested that it be replaced with the ringing of a bell.

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Below are two photos of Great Adventure's Carousel on the fair circuit taken just before being purchased in 1973 by Warner Leroy. The top picture is from 1970 and the second from 1971.

 

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Below are two photos of Great Adventure's Carousel on the fair circuit taken just before being purchased in 1973 by Warner Leroy. The top picture is from 1970 and the second from 1971.

 

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Interesting how the modified the rounding boards with additional lights and decorations between the two pictures.

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Anyone know where the "Eagle" Horse minature was sold in the Park? Just curious, I know the shop on Main St. that is now closed due to the "meet and greet" structure had minatures before, but not the "eagle' one.

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Baynum Painting is showing the Carousel some TLC this off-season.  They are doing an incredible job - the panels look wonderful!

 

From their facebook page:

 

Quote

 

The beautiful Patrina Williams Carousel is a centerpiece at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, and has an incredible history dating all the way back to 1881! Baynum Painting’s team was approached to assist with the park’s latest restoration efforts, aimed at conserving this ride’s decorative hand painted background panels.

 

Just look at the weathering which had occurred over the years – compared to the now fully restored, vivid animal depictions. Conserving the ride’s historical beauty required lots of care, time and meticulous attention to detail, and we were thrilled to have been a part of working on such a gorgeous classic!

 

 

 

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Hope they return the lights and horse shoe banners as well...

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I wish they'd run it fast enough to properly use the slots on the carousel deck.  Ever notice the slots running from the inner hub toward the outer edge?  They used to run that sucker fast enough that centripetal force would push the horses out, hence the slot.  Also, I wish we had a brass ring game.  

 

ETA:  I see the "Flying Effect" (deck slots) was discussed about five years ago.  Ahh, to have ridden this before the days of personal injury lawsuits ...  

Edited by Lemur

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