32¢ Carousel Horses
American Folk Art Series
Issue Date: July 21, 1995
City: Lahaska, PA
Printed By: Sterling Sommer for Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Carousels have a long and fascinating history that can be traced as far back as early Byzantine times. Rather than being used for amusement however, early carousels were actually used for training purposes. In fact, the word itself comes from 12th-century Arabian games of horsemanship called carosellos or “little wars.” Fragile, heavily scented clay balls were tossed from one rider to another; dexterity and equestrian skill was needed to avoid the unmanly mark of the loser – a bath of sweet smelling perfume.
By the late 17th century, carousels had been developed to train young noblemen for spearing contests. Seated on wooden horses the riders tried to lance rings as they rode around a pole. Forerunner of the modern day carousel and its game of “catching the brass ring,” the ride evolved into a popular form of entertainment.