1964-65 New York World's Fair Carousel
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In the Beginning  

Coney Island

"The Carousel at the Fair was made from two carousels.   Both carousels were the work of Marcus Charles Illions master carver of carousels. Prior to the fair, a lawyer named JOHN S. ROGERS formed 'The American Cavalcade Corporation'. He purchased the Charles Feltman's Carousel from Coney Island. The carousel was in various stages of disintegration and placed in storage on January 18, 1964. A second carousel was acquired by Mr. Rogers in order to supply a crown bearing and working carousel structure. Marcus Charles Illions also crafted the second carousel, however it was not as detailed or of the higher quality of his work. This carousel too came from Coney Island and was called the Stubbmann Carousel. They were combined to make the Carousel at Carousel Park at the Fair,  When industrial sponsorship could not be completed in time for the opening of the fair, it was financed through investment by a New York patent attorney named Greer Marechal. The carousel was made-up of 71 horses, 24 from Feltman's and 47 from Stubmann's,plus a camel, a lion, and a giraffe from Feltman's and two chariots.  Among the famous that took-a-spin on Feltman's carousel when  Coney Island was a gathering place for New York society were William Howard Taft, Diamond Jim Brady and the Ziegfield Girls."

Provided by Bruce "Hoodlock" Mentone from the New York Times; additional material provided by John Rogers.

Feltman's Carousel
Location - Feltman's Restaurant
Builder / Carver - Mangels / Illions
Years Operated - 1903 - 1964
Type - 3 rows of horses  

The new Feltman carousel was lavish, from the sumptuous rim to the animated organ. The Illion carved horses had stately, powerful poses, and rich, bejeweled trappings gleaming with gold leaf and intense colors. These new horses were mixed with plainer Looff horses salvaged after the fire and redecorated. The Astroland owners, who were the new owners of the Feltman property, retired the ride in 1964 because it made too little money. The space was cleared for the Astrotower.


Feltman's Restaurant on Surf Avenue, Coney Island- Note carousel visible inside

Early photograph showing Mangels/Illions restoration that went to the fair

Another early photograph (Rol Summit)

More old Feltman photos


Click on small picture to see enlarged version


More about the early days:

The old Feltman carousel had very unusual horses on it. Some of them had internal lightbulbs which illuminated the jewels on the horses. The Feltman carousel had two very spectacular band organs. One was a huge 94 key style Selection Gebruder Bruder which featured an actual mechanical orchestra with small animated musicians. According to the late Edo McCollough, it was the loudest organ in Coney Island and could be heard for blocks down Serf Avenue. 

The organ has been fully restored and is in a museum in Germany in the state of Baden. It is a spectacular organ! The other Bruder was an early 80 key organ with mechanical dancing couples on top of the organ. This organ survives and is in a collection in the Chicago area. It is fully restored.   These organs were sold to Feltman by William F. Mangels. He by the way, had a museum filled with Coney Island artifacts which opened in the late 1930's. This museum was sold to the Horn Brothers of Sarasota around 1958. Mangels gave the paper archives to Fred Fried which are now at the Smithsonion. A friend who drove Fred Fried to Mangels to pick up the paperwork left with a treasure, the first known Coney Island made roller coaster car which I later acquired from him along with his large 110 key Gavioli band organ.  ou can see the Gavioli at the following website:

The B.A.B. Organ Company of Brooklyn maintained many of the band organs at Coney Island. In 1958 the B.A.B. Organ Company was purchased by Senator Charles Bovey and was moved to Virginia City, Montana. Mr. Bovey bought Virginia City and Nevada City, Montana to use as a museum.  The organ collection was put in a building in Nevada City, Montana where it exists to this day. Part of the B.A.B. purchase was the purchase of the complete Molinari Organ Company workshop.   Molinari made monkey organs for the streets of New York. By the way in the early days, Irving Berlin would visit these people to have some of his earliest songs pinned on the cylinders! The collection is now owned by the state of Montana. 

Tim Trager Trager@idt.net (reprinted with permission)



Stubbmann's Beer Garden Carousel
Location - Hotel Eleanor at Stubbmann's Beer Garden
Builder / Carver - Mangels / Illions
Years Operated - 1908 - 1953 (at Stubbmann's)
Years Operated - 1953 - 1964 (at Steeplechase Boardwalk)

The Illions carving style had progressed from that of the Feltman's carousel. The carvings on its handsome Louis XIV chariots were more lifelike and inventive. Unfortunately the overall effect of the carousel was less magical and didn't have the popularity of the Feltman carousel. In 1909 Illions, to celebrate his independence from Mangels, created a new line of horses. He refurbished the outer row of horses of this carousel with ones featuring explosive flying manes and powerful straining bodies.

This carousel was eventually moved to the Boardwalk at W. 16th Street to replace an IIlions machine lost in a fire. Since it was just below Steeplechase, it became known as the Steeplechase carousel.

Provided from the following site by Jeffrey Stanton (Copyright)
http://naid.sppsr.ucla.edu/coneyisland/articles/carousellist.htm http://naid.sppsr.ucla.edu/coneyisland/index.html

The horses from this carousel and the Stubbmann machine were combined and hurriedly refurbished for the New York World's Fair in 1964. It operated at the Carousel Plaza of the Lake Amusement area. Afterwards it continued to operate in Flushing Meadows Park.**

Hotel Eleanor on Surf Avenue with the Stubbmann Carousel Pavilion

Early photo of the carousel within the pavilion (Rol Summit)

Stubbmann restaurant staff posing for a picture on the carousel (Rol Summit0


Coney Island Photos

The Stubbmann Carousel at the Steeplechase Boardwalk

Two Views from the Parachute Jump at Steeplechase Park, Coney Island.   Note Carousel on left side just above the Steeplechase sign.

Click here for full size photo
Steeplechase Park from the air with Carousel and Parachute Jump

Another view from the air

Postcards with The Stubbmann

Postcard- Carousel at boardwalk on the right

coney carousel.jpg (11906 bytes)
Click here for full size photo
Click here to zoom in to the carousel
Click here to the the back of the postcard

Postcard- Coney Island Boardwalk with Parachute Jump and Carousel, Dexter Publishing

coneywalk.jpg (19345 bytes)
Another Postcard- Carousel in center

Click here for full size picture
Photo copy of postcard- Carousel at Boardwalk in center


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