Saturday, March 22, 2014

Did You Know? Carousel Trivia Part 3

Welcome back!  Today's our last day to talk about carousel trivia.  I thought we'd start with seating.

5.  What if I don't like riding a horse?

It's true.  There are some people who prefer not to climb onto a horse and ride astride.  That's why the carousel carvers invented chariots.  Basically fancy benches, chariots come in all styles imaginable.  This is one of my favorites, the lovers' chariot.  Believe it or not, this carousel is inside a shopping mall in Nyack, NY.

You can have a different kind of ride in a tub.  Although relatively rare now, these were popular with courting couples in the early twentieth century.  Why?  Because as the carousel revolved, so did the tub.  The centrifugal force drew riders closer together -- perfect for shy couples who had few other opportunities to touch without incurring criticism.   (My, how times have changed!)
There's a wheel in the center that allows riders to control the speed at which the tub revolves. While it can't compare to a modern roller coaster, the tub was considered a fast ride in its era.

Most modern carousels include chariots to provide a variety of ride options.  The Carousel of Happiness in Nederland, CO goes one step further and has a space specifically designed for wheelchairs.  The ordinary chair can be easily removed, allowing a handicapped person to ride.

6.  Why don't I see many two-story carousels?

When I found this lovely carousel at a French resort along the Atlantic ocean, I was surprised to see that it had two stories and wondered why I had never seen a double-decker merry-go-round in the States.  Later, I saw the one below in Paris at the foot of Montmartre, and I had the same question.  It was time for some research.

The answer, as you might have guessed, is money.  Oh, it's not that the two-story carousels cost more to construct, although of course they did.  The problem was that it took too long to load and unload the second story.  Even though there were more horses on the double-deckers, when the extra time was factored in, it turned out that fewer people were riding these each day than an ordinary one-story merry-go-round.  The ever practical carousel owners didn't want to sacrifice profits, and so double-deckers became very rare.

And now we've come to the end of our carousel trivia tour.  I hope you've enjoyed the ride and that I've intrigued you enough that you'll want to learn how carousels change Lorraine and Jonah's lives.  Their story, "One Little Word," is part of the Sincerely Yours novella collection.

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  1. There is a two story one in Wildwood NJ and another at Great Adventure, Jackson NJ, I believe. But I have never ridden on either one, though my daughters have. I love carousels, too!

  2. How did I miss the one in Wildwood? I visited the now-closed Floyd Moreland carousel in Seaside Heights (I think) and really enjoyed it, but I didn't know about the double-decker in Wildwood. Time to plan another trip East.