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Object Name Animal, Carrousel
Artist Looff, Charles I.D.
Date ca. 1890
Description Carved wooden horse from the Midland Beach Carousel, ca. 1890; made in the shop of Charles I.D. Looff, Brooklyn, New York. The body of the horse is painted black; the harness and saddle are painted red, green, and gold.
(Keywords: Merry-go-round, Gilded Age, Pony)
Acquisition Gift of Mrs. Norman H. Donald
Ownership and History This horse was reportedly received by the donor, Mrs. Donald, when the Midland Beach carousel was dismantled ca. 1940. It was installed as part of the Made on Staten Island exhibit at Historic Richmond Town in 1984.

Charles I.D. Looff worked as a woodcarver in a furniture factory and began producing carved, painted wooden animals during his spare time at home. When he assembled his figures into a merry-go-round on Coney Island in 1876, the result was an immediate success, which led him to open his own carousel factory in Brooklyn four years later. In addition to producing the Midland Beach Carousel, the Looff shop made several other well-known American carousels. Looff closed his Brooklyn factory in 1905, moving his family residence and business at first to Riverside, Rhode Island, and in 1910 to Ocean Park, California, where he continued to build numerous carousels, rides, piers, and casinos.

Begun on a small scale in the mid-1880s, Midland Beach, Staten Island, was developed into an extensive resort complex by the Midland Terminal Company, a subsidiary of the organization that initiated electric trolley service to the area in 1896-1897. The resort, which officially opened on August 29, 1896, grew rapidly, especially after the completion of a trolley line between Midland and South Beach in 1901.
Earliest Date 1885
Latest Date 1895
Maker shop of Charles I.D. Looff, Brooklyn
Subjects Amusement rides
Lexicon Sub-category Recreational Device
Catalog Number 83.059.0004
Support Acknowledgment Online Collections Database record made possible by the Staten Island Historical Society, March 2014.
Legal Status Images and text in this database are copyrighted by the Staten Island Historical Society unless otherwise noted. Items represented here are from the collections of the Staten Island Historical Society. Materials reproduced for personal non-commercial use must credit the Staten Island Historical Society. Commercial licensing is available.