Once Around is Never Enough
Carousels and More
Carousels and Rides Made Here
Over 3,000 hand-carved wooden carousels were made in this factory. Portable carousels were set up at carnivals around the country and stationary units were the main attraction at many early 1900s resorts. Many other rides were also made here that entertained adults and kids in the parks that were forerunners of the amusement parks and thrill rides of today.
The Allan Herschell Company
Allan Herschell, a Scottish immigrant, built machinery and boilers until he saw a carousel on a trip to New York City. He began building carousels and by 1915 when he bought this factory he was the most productive builder of carousels in America. The factory employed up to 75 skilled carvers and had a roundhouse where carousels were assembled and tested.
Simple yet elegant, the horses were designed to travel, being sturdy, easily maintained, and durable. The original carousels were a thrill ride for adults only.
Not only horses but a menagerie of creatures graced the carousels, including giraffes, kangaroos, and this hop-toad.
The factory introduced adult thrill rides such as the Twister, the Hurricane, and the Skywheel, a 90' tall ferris wheel.
Aluminum and Steel
Under the ownership of John Wendler in the 1930s wooden horses were replaced with aluminum, and steel bodied cars were made for whirling rides and bumper cars.
North Tonawanda Factory Timeline
1997 Allan Herschell Company sold by Chance Manufacturing to the Carousel Society of the Niagara Frontier and returns to North Tonawanda.
1983 Allan Herschell factory building becomes the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum.
1970 Allan Herschell Company sold to Chance Manufacturing and moved to Wichita, Kansas.
1953 Allan Herschell Company sold to Weisner/Rapp, soon after moved to 1165 Clinton Street, Buffalo, NY. The company will later change hands again and be owned by Lisk-Savory.
1945 Allan Herschell Company purchases Spillman Engineering becoming the world's largest producer of amusement park rides.
1927 Allan Herschell dies. Company begins to add cast aluminum legs to its wooden horses. 1923 Allan Herschell retires. A group led by John Wender, a long time employee now heads the company.
1919 Herschell-Spillman Company changes its
1915 Allan Herschell Company forms at this location.
1913 Allan Herschell retires from the Herschell-Spillman Company. 1900 Herschell-Spillman Company forms. This is a joint venture between Allan Herschell and his brother-in law Edward Spillman.
1899 Armitage Herschell Company declares bankruptcy.
1872 Armitage-Herschell Company forms and begins making steam engines, gears, machinery. Eleven years later they make their first steam riding gallery (Carousel).
1851 Allan Herschell was born in Arbreath, Forfarshire, Scotland.
Cultural Heritage. A thrill ride industry was born on the Seaway Trail. Seaway Trail, Inc. Corner Ray & West Main St., Sackets Harbor, NY 13685. www.seawaytrail.com . America's Byways. This exhibit made possible by a grant from FHWA to Seaway Trail, Inc.
Erected by Seaway Trails, Inc.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Entertainment • Industry & Commerce. In addition, it is included in the Great Lakes Seaway Trail National Scenic Byway series list.
Location. 43° 1.771′ N, 78° 52.379′ W. Marker is in North Tonawanda, New York, in Niagara CountyTouch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 180 Thompson Street, North Tonawanda NY 14120, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Herschell-Spillman Steam Boiler (within shouting distance of this marker); Proud Tribute is Here Paid (approx. 0.2 miles away); Dedicated to the Memory of Those Who Made the Greatest Sacrifice (approx. 0.2 miles away); Sweeney Cemetery (approx. 0.2 miles away); North Tonawanda (approx. 0.4 miles away); First Schoolhouse (approx. 0.4 miles away); Gastown (approx. half a mile away); City of Tonawanda (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in North Tonawanda.
Also see . . .
1. Herschell Carrousel Museum. (Submitted on July 20, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.)
2. Allan Herschell Carousel Factory - Wikipedia. (Submitted on July 20, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.)
3. Allan Herschell Company - Wikipedia. Includes a list (incomplete?) of extant rides and locations. (Submitted on July 20, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on July 20, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page has been viewed 354 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19. submitted on July 20, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.