View Full Version : Friday Trivia: Carousels

Star lover
February 2nd, 2018, 08:49 AM
Depending on where you come from, you may call carousels by another name, perhaps: “merry-go-rounds”, “flying horses” or “roundabouts.”


They have been popular rides for the past 200 years, but they started off as military training machines. In fact, the word “carousel” comes from the Spanish word, carosella, which mean “little battle.”


This name was fitting because carousels were originally used to train knights to use their swords while riding on a horse that moves up and down. Objects were placed along the outside of the carousel; the knights tried to stab the objects or catch them on their swords.

Jousting competitors also trained on carousels, but, when Catherine de Medicis’ husband was killed in a sudden jousting accident, the carousel quickly became a safer form of entertainment. Crowds would watch as entertainers would catch objects on their swords and travel in circles until they got dizzy.


So spectators naturally wanted a shot at riding the carousel and even catching one of the objects on their sword. This is how it became the popular amusement ride it is today.

In fact, a small number carousels still exist that have an obstacle as part of the ride. On these carousels, riders will try to grab a brass ring as they ride around on the carousel. There are steel rings as well, and those are often thrown at a target to discourage people from keeping them as souvenirs. The brass ring can often be redeemed for a prize, which is usually a free ride on the carousel.

This is also where the term, “catch the brass ring” comes from.

My personal favorite is the Frog at The Henry Ford.....their most valuable. It is the only American carousel animl wearing human clothes. I love it!


February 2nd, 2018, 09:37 AM
I've always wanted to own an antique carousel horse.

Rhonda K
February 2nd, 2018, 10:01 AM
Thank you for a magical trip down memory lane. The "merry-go-round" was always my favorite ride at our fair. Such sweet memories of a happy time with my beautiful mom...oh to be a little girl for just a little while longer.

Thank you Star lover!

February 2nd, 2018, 10:57 AM
Fascinating trivia. Bring back good memories.

February 2nd, 2018, 11:25 AM
Very interesting

February 2nd, 2018, 12:56 PM
This is was a good one, Anita. I love carousels.

February 2nd, 2018, 02:11 PM
I love carousels. We're fortunate to live near 2 Looff carousels in RI, each built in 1895 and still working. I remember going to one of them with my grandmother and she would always grab the brass ring and then toss it into a huge clown's mouth. Now my DGD and I love to ride any carousel we come across. We ride it over and over while poor DH gets dizzy on the sidelines just watching us. I also love it when they have a spinning car (or teacup). Summer can't come soon enough.

Debbie Watters
February 2nd, 2018, 02:33 PM
Whoever would have thought that such a neat ride would have come from the military? Love these facts! Thanks for sharing!