In an age of high-tech amusement parks, carousel carvers are a dying breed. Bob Yorburg is one of the last ones.
“During America’s carousel “golden age,” which lasted from the late nineteenth century until about 1930, there were more than four thousand handcrafted carousels made by famous carvers like Gustav Dentzel and Marcus Illions. In the last century, many of the period’s iconic horses, chariots and carriages have become more mechanized and technologically advanced. They’ve also drastically decreased in popularity. Yorburg says he knows of only about a half-dozen independent American carousel carvers like him. According to Patrick Wentzel, chairman of the National Carousel Association (NCA), there are just a couple dozen others employed by the few remaining companies that specialize in carousel carving and restoration. They all work to maintain the two hundred antique American carousels Wentzel monitors in an ongoing NCA census project. In fixing and sometimes recreating old carousel horses, menagerie pieces and band organs, Yorburg aims to make sure this number doesn’t drop further, preserving a sliver of Americana for generations to come.”
Read the full story about Yorburg and the evolution of the merry-go-round on Narratively.