July 25 Is National Merry-Go-Round Day! Join us in some carousel trivia! If you have been reading Kovels Komments over the years, you should know the answers to most of these questions.


Q:  What is the difference between a merry-go round and a carousel?

A:  There is no difference! In the past, merry-go rounds featured different types of animals and carousels just had horses.  But now people use the terms interchangeably.


Q:  How do you know if you have an American or a British carousel horse? 

A:  American carousels go around counter-clockwise and British carousels go clockwise. The side of the horse that you see as you are watching the carousel go around has the most decoration, so it will be different for American or British animals.


Q:  When were merry-go-rounds popular?

A:  They were popular in Europe in the 1700s and 1800s. They came to America in the 1800s.


Q:  Do all of the animals in a carousel go up and down?

A:  No, only the animals on the inside.


Q:  What is the center pole made of?

A:  The center pole is historically made from one very tall tree.


Q: Can you move a carousel?

A:  Yes, they are designed so you can remove the animals and take it apart in pieces so it can be moved. Many old carousels have found new second, third and more homes.


Q:  What is the most expensive carousel animal?

A:  Tigers, pigs, camels, lions, dogs and anything unusual or carved by famous craftsmen.


Q:  I want to ride on the biggest animal. Where is it?

A:  Head to the animals on the outside of the carousel. They are the largest. The largest horses are the “armor” horse with a shield or “flag” horse with a flag.


Q:  Should you restore the paint on a carousel figure or keep the original finish?

A:  That depends. Some collectors only want restored models and others only want original ones. But the restored animals sell for more.


Q:  Can you find two carousel figures that are exactly the same?

A:  No, each one is hand carved and unique.


Q:  Are male carousel horses rare?

A:  This is a trick question. There are no male carousel horses.  All carousel horses are female.


Q:  Are the horses made of solid wood?

A:  Yes and no. They are made of wood but the tails and head are solid wood and the bodies are hollow.


Q:  Where can I see a carousel?

A:  The National Carousel Association has maps on their homepage showing locations with carousels—both old and new—in the United States. Visit their website: National Carousel Association.