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Miniature Carousel Builders Corner

This "Jouster Carousel" was built by Howard "Chic" Hutton...

The Jouster Carousel idea dates back to the 16th century when the noblemen would practice for their tournaments. It was originally a game called "Little War." The ring was hung by a ribbon and the riders would spear the ring which was practice for their tournaments. By the year 1500, people were playing "Little War" in France, Spain, Italy and even in Arabia. The Spanish word for "Little War" is carosella and to this day merry-go-rounds are referred to as carousels. The noblemen decorated their horses and dressed up in very fancy costumes. In the beginning the game was only for noblemen but became very popular and other people wanted to play the game.


In the 17th century carousel machines were invented with wooden horses, a long bar, with a strong pole and powered by mule, horse or men. Some of the fancier Jouster Carousels had a bucket seat between the horses that would accommodate their lady friend. In 1860 another Frenchman invented a "merry-go-round" that had wooden horses with pedals and each rider had to pedal his own horse, like a bicycle. In the 1700's an Englishman used a steam engine to turn a merry-go-round, and then in 1915 steam engines were replaced by electric motors.


All over Europe carousels were appearing at Fairs. It is believed that this was the origin of what later brought about the brass ring machines as we know them today.

The jousters on the pictured carousel were crafted from a Fischer Price child's toy with various modifications.

Information source: Merry-Go-Round by Art Thomas

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