Philadelphia Toboggan Company

The Philadelphia Toboggan Company, which is known for it’s magnificent, beautifully decorated carousels, only made eight of it’s carousels for traveling carnivals out of the ninety four it built in it’s lifetime. They kept great, detailed records of who bought each one and the disposition of them over the years, right up to the company’s […]

Outdoor Show Business

Carnival Business History Perhaps one of the reason that outdoor show business history has so many broken links is due to the fact that so many of the people who played an integral part of shaping the carnival business history were unknown by their given names. In the fifty odd years that I have been […]

The Magical Carousel and The Way They Came To Be

 History Of The Carnival Carousel The carousel may be as much as 1,500 years old when baskets lashed to a center pole were used to spin riders around in a circle in ancient Byzantium. During the twelfth century in Turkey and Arabia, men and their horses played a game in which delicate balls filled with […]

The Massive Funnel Cloud That Landed On The Fairgrounds

Destruction On The Fairgrounds Cetlin And Wilson Carnival Midway Left In Ruins After The Tornado The midway was closed up tight on that fateful night of August 20, 1952. Cetlin Wilson Shows was playing the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia and most of the show’s people had turned in for the night. They didn’t feel […]

The Monkey Speedway

The Monkey Speedway Is Crowd Pleaser On The Carnival Midway Monkeys drove actual cars in the Monkey Speedway Photo above is of Harry & Bee Fee and their Monkey Speedway It is a fact that the general public loves performing animals in unique situations. This may explain the great popularity of the “Monkey Speedway“. Monkeys sat in […]

Searchlights Attracted Curious Crowds To The Carnival Miday

Searchlights Lit Up The Night Sky And The Carnival Midway Searchlights were used during the war and on the carnival midway Searchlights are described as an apparatus that combines an extremely luminous source (traditionally a carbon arc lamp) with a mirrored parabolic reflector to project a powerful beam of light of approximately parallel rays in […]

Pan Lamp Used Before Electricity

Mainstay of Midway Luminescence Was The Pan Lamp Used For Decades Until Electricity The way the carnivals lit the midways long ago  . . . In the early years of the industry, before there was electricity, the mainstay of midway luminescence was the Pan Lamp used for decades until electricity came to be common place. […]

Carnival Show Painters Created Pieces Of Outdoor Artwork

Carnival Show Painters Are Artists Show painters made the carnivals come alive with vivid colors and the artwork they created for the carnival midways. “Pollock” puts the flourishes on a ‘Crafts 20 Big Shows’ Loop-O-Plane tub. He painted on the west coast from the 1950’s until the 1970’s and did work for almost everybody including […]

Early 1900 Carnival Zeidman and Pollie Shows

Early Carnivals Only Had Two Or Three Rides On The Midway Carnivals of long ago incorporated shows and circus acts, and a few rides to draw crowds. Look at all the performers and horses in this one show letting people know it was a family show with clean and moral refinement for ladies and children. […]

Traveling Shows Transported Equipment By Truck

Carnival and Circuses Traveled From City To City By Truck   Truck shows came along relatively early in the history of carnival and circus business but were limited in the distance they traveled. At first trucks were little more than motorized wagons and were considered useful only for short hauls and as drayage vehicles to […]