32¢ Indian Pony
American Folk Art Series
Issue Date: July 21, 1995
City: Lahaska, PA
Printed By: Sterling Sommer for Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Up until the mid-1800s, rotation power for crudely constructed carousels was provided by a horse or man pushing, pulling, or cranking the mechanism. It wasn’t until the 1860s that Frederick Savage, an English engineer, designed a center-mounted steam engine capable of carrying up to four rows of horses on platforms that reached forty-eight feet in diameter. His overhead gears, which allowed the horses to move up and down, soon followed. These inventions revolutionized the carousel industry, making Savage’s portable roundabouts an enormous success.
Although carousels appeared in America as early as the 1800s, it wasn’t until 1864 that Gustav Dentzel shipped his carousel from Germany and installed it in Philadelphia. The smashing success of his carousel spawned the Golden Age of the Carousel (1870-1930).
Daniel Muller, who carved the horses shown on the stamp and the front of this cover, began his career carving horses for Dentzel. In 1899 he left the Dentzel firm to carve figures for the newly formed Philadelphia Toboggan Company. His beautiful, sensitively carved animals launched the PTC as a major force in the business. In 1902, along with his brother Alfred, he established the D.C. Muller & Brother Company.