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In 1808 the inventor, Richard Trevithick, developed a new locomotive he called Catch Me Who Can. In the summer of 1808 Trevithick erected a circular railway or steam circus in Euston Square in London. During the months of July and August people paid a shilling a time to ride in a carriage pulled by Trevithick's locomotive. Trevithick had plenty of volunteers to ride on Catch Me Who Can that could travel at speeds of 12 mph (19 kph). However, the weight of the locomotive caused the rails to break and he was forced to bring the experiment to an end.
File:Mr Fields Steam Circus (late 1870s) Hollycombe, Liphook 3.8.2004 P8030104 (10354106344).jpg
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In 1970, the parade added one of its most famous attractions, Academy Award winning actor Ernest Borgnine, who became a mainstay of the event as the “Chief Parade Clown.” Borgnine was asked to join the parade after an offhanded remark on the Tonight Show. When host Johnny Carson asked Borgnine what he still wanted to do as an actor, he replied that he had always wanted to play a clown. The next day, parade executives called Borgnine and asked him to join the parade. Borgnine relished his time in Milwaukee, appearing at every Great Circus Parade in the city between 1972 and 2002.
In the summer of 1968, a six-day circus was held on Milwaukee’s lakefront in place of the parade. The year before, Milwaukee was one of the dozens of American cities that experienced a violent civil disturbance in its predominantly African-American inner core area, and planners worried the lingering tensions could make it dangerous to hold the parade. The parade returned in 1969, but after Schlitz Brewing dropped its sponsorship following the 1973 parade, no alternative source of funding could be secured and the parade folded.
The parade returned to Milwaukee in 1985, funded with a combination of individual donations and corporate sponsorships. That year’s parade was shown live on TBS in a broadcast hosted by Pat Sajak and Vanna White. It was not the first time the parade was given national media attention. A photo pictorial of the 1964 parade was featured in LIFE magazine and hundreds of other publications had devoted space to the event through its history. Images of the parade even appeared in newspapers as far away as China and Saudi Arabia. Tape-delayed highlights of parades were shown on PBS and the Armed Forces Network, hosted by Bob Keeshan, aka: Captain Kangaroo.
The resurrection of the parade in Milwaukee lasted through 2003, when funding problems again put the event on hiatus. A version of the parade was held in Baraboo in 2004 and 2005, but continued money problems shut the parade down entirely. In 2009, using money from a “rainy day fund” built up by organizers between 1985 and 2003 as well as a new fundraising drive, the parade was revived in Milwaukee once again. The return of the parade was much heralded and 92-year-old Ernest Borgnine revived his role for the event. But even before the circus train arrived in Milwaukee, organizers announced that the event would not return in 2010. It has not returned since.
History of Fairground Rides
For many people the fairground is now defined by the thrill and spectacle of the riding machines. These rides have a complex history defined by mechanical capability and cultural and social trends.
There is no clear evidence of the development of the very first roundabouts. Simple dobby sets existed in the early nineteenth century. In "Seventy Years a Showman" Lord George Sanger describes how his father manufactured his own dobbies early in his career. Crude in construction, the horses ‘were enlarged examples of the rough penny toys … their legs were simply round sticks. Their bodies were lumps of deal rounded on one side. Their heads were roughly cut from half-inch deal boards and inserted in a groove in their bodies, while the tails and manes were made of strips of rabbit-skin’.
Most roundabouts at this point depended on muscle power to function and, like many others at the time, Sanger's horses were manually turned by children who would work for the showmen in exchange for a free ride. Ponies were also often employed to do this job, in the same way as a horse would turn a gin at a mine on a farm.
An interesting development of the idea of muscle powered roundabouts was the bicycle roundabout, commonly known as Velocipede, which existed on the principle of the punters cycling on a roundabout powering their own ride.
Eventually the application of steam power to fairground rides changed the face of the fairground and the possibilities of the rides. The first evidence of a steam powered ride dates from 1861 when Thomas Bradshaw presented his merry-go-round at the old Pot Market in Bolton on New Year's Day.
According to Thomas Hurst, the eminent Lancashire roundabout proprietor, it was Thomas Bradshaw who first presented a steam powered fairground ride in public. The boiler for the engine was constructed at Pollit's Boiler Yard in Lever Street, Bolton, while the engine was the work of Messrs Rogerson and Brimelow of Deansgate. Bradshaw who made the horses himself, patented his idea in 1863.
It is quite likely that it was this same merry-go-round which visited the Midsummer Fair in Halifax in 1863 being reported by the Halifax Courier as:
‘… roundabout of huge proportions, driven by a steam engine which whirled around with such impetuosity, that the wonder is the daring riders are not shot off like cannon- ball, and driven half into the middle of next month.’
The impact of the addition of steam power to fairground rides at the time cannot be underestimated, although the above seems an unlikely and rather exaggerated account of events. It matches the concerns raised by contemporary gentlemen of the medical profession on the dangers of travelling at speeds of over 30 mph on the railways.
Concern was also raised by a local resident worried by the risk of explosion. ‘It endangers the lives of scores of children’, he claimed, ‘considering the state of pressure at which it is worked’.
The introduction of steam and faster rides was received with a certain degree of apprehension. However, these anxieties were obviously not shared by all, for in 1865 another innovator, Sidney Soames, demonstrated his version of the steam roundabout at Aylsham Fair. The same year the best known of all fairground engineers, Frederick Savage of King's Lynn, constructed his first steam-driven ride and Uriah Cheeseman was reported to receive a set of steam Velocipedes. A Report in the Lynn News suggests that this ride was present at King's Lynn Mart and Oxford St Giles in 1866. The evidence suggests that this was Savage's first such ride.
Unfortunately, the company's records for these early years are incomplete and this cannot be verified with total certainty. The next record of another steam roundabout built at King's Lynn dates to 1868. This time it was a set of steam Dobby horses which were built for George Twigdon, an East Midland traveller who already operated a Dobby set.
A decade later, Savages were regularly producing steam Velocopides and Dobbies for travelling showmen. The involvement of William Sanger led to the title of "Steam Circus" being adopted.
The impact of the steam machine on the development of the riding machine was profound. As the nineteenth century drew to a close numerous patents were taken out for new ideas and designs. Sometimes it was the roundabout proprietors themselves who tried out new ideas, including Abraham Waddington of Yorkshire who patented his idea in 1870.
The partnership of Frederick Savage and William Sanger gave birth to another novelty ride in 1880 when they launched the Sea-on-Land. Replicas of seafaring vessels, complete in later designs with sails and rigging and often named after liners of the day, were pitched and tossed by mechanisms beneath their hulls. The earliest versions incorporated another new idea, the traction centre engine, which combined the haulage engine with the central drive. Savages were not the only company supplying this type of machine, John and Henry McLaren of Leeds also built some examples.
During the 1880s several manufacturers competed to try to make the 'still' Dobby Horses gallop. In 1885 Savages built their first Platform Gallopers for John Murphy from Tyneside. The same year Messrs Reynolds and King designed the overhead crank system which was improved upon the following year by Tidmans of Norwich. By the end of the century crank-action Gallopers were being supplied by several British engineers and still remain a popular ride on the contemporary fairground landscape.
If the roundabout could be mechanised, so could the swing. A patent taken out in 1888 introduced the Steam Yachts. William Cartwright of Bromwich first succeeded in building a set using upright cylinders. Savages also began building Steam Yachts, using Cartwright's improved patent of 1894. Their first set was built for John Collins. The Yachts were often given the names of the latest liners: Lusitania and Mauretania, Cymric and Celtic, although Olympia and Titanic proved short lived names on John Collins’ set.
Savages designed and constructed the first Switchback in 1888, cannibalising an older ride. Their first model was delivered to George Aspland of Boston. The idea proved popular and within a matter of months several important travelling roundabout proprietors, including Greens, Baileys, Studts and Murphys had similar machines.
The earliest examples featured plain toast-rack cars, which proved uninspiring to customers and soon were transformed into elaborate chariots at the hands of skilled wood carvers.
In 1894 the idea of the Venetian Gondola was introduced by Pat Collins of Walsall. He boasted in 1899 that his were a faithful reproduction of the Gondolas used by the Doges of Venice Grand Procession as immortalised by Shakespeare and Byron. These Switchback rides, along with their electrified counterparts the Scenic Railway, were a highpoint of early fairground art and aesthetics, indicating the way forward in reaching for decorative benchmarks. Italian designers and craftsmen were imported at the showmen's expense, and a lavish centre organ became a standard of exuberance.
It was John Green's brother, George, who helped to develop the Switchback Galloper in 1889. Virtually a cross between a Switchback and a Platform Galloper, it was built by Savages, although never in large numbers. Despite this, an example was travelled in Scotland by the Wilmots and the ride continued to attend fairs north of the border until the 1930s.
A century earlier than the opening of the Channel Tunnel in 1994, train journeys of this type were already being simulated in the British fairgrounds. By 1895 some of the biggest names in the fairground were travelling this type of ride. Pat Collins of Walsall, George Thomas Tuby of Doncaster and William Davis of Stoke on Trent presented models built by Savage while other engineering firms in the north of the country such as John Fowler and Thomas Green from Leeds also invested in the design of such rides.
Novelty has always been important in attracting customers, if a trip through the Channel Tunnel, complete with smoke and steam did not appeal, then a ride on Razzle Dazzle might. Sitting on seats on a circular platform, it dipped from side to side as it rotated. As early as 1893 Savages held a patent for the machine, but later examples built in Hartlepool by the Howcroft Carriage and Waggon Works proved superior.
Savages, Tidmans and Walkers continued to supply steam driven rides until the outbreak of the Great War and also applied the technology to old ideas and designs which reappeared in slightly different formats. Pat Collins took delivery of a Velocipede as late as 1896 and Reuben Holdsworths' Pigs and Balloons built in 1908 were essentially a Platform Galloper of the 1885 patent with the addition of a counter-rotating top.
The most important development prior to the First World War was the Scenic Railway. Electricity now drove the massive motor cars. Enoch Farrar of Yorkshire took delivery of the first in 1910. He claimed it to be the most important invention in electrical science as applied to amusements ever introduced to a discriminating public, and that he was offering ‘journeys in real motor cars . travelling at 60 mph . over mountains and valleys through beautiful Alpine Scenery’.
Many fairs were cancelled during the war and the building of new rides came to a near halt. Under blackout conditions, whilst the threat of Zeppelin raids existed, some fairs managed to remain active. However, the impact of the war, together with the economic depression that followed in 1918, made the construction of new roundabouts an expensive investment and severely slowed down the development of new inventions. At this time of decline Savages only managed to build a few sets of the old time classic Gallopers, Steam Yachts and Scenic Railways, while Orton, Sons and Spooner of Burton upon Trent continued working with the idea of the Scenic Railways, featuring new themes such as Dragons, Peacocks, Whales and Dolphins. Their final Scenic Railway was built in 1925 for William Davis of Stoke on Trent.
During the 1920s most of the new ride designs came to the UK from Germany and America. "The Whip", built in the United States by W.F. Mangels Co of Coney Island, was one of such new age rides finding their way into the British fairgrounds. However, it was the German Chair-o-Plane that became a much more common scene on the British fairground landscape. Although a few were built in the UK, most Chair-o-Planes were imported from Germany where they were built by companies such as Bothmann of Gotha, Saxony. This ride was easy to bring into the country by the chair load in living wagons by British showmen such as Tippler White from Yorkshire.
Another novelty introduced to Britain in the early 1920s was the Caterpillar. After a season in a permanent park, the first example was taken over by the Green Brothers, who travelled at least four of these rides. Most Caterpillars were built either on the continent or in America, but a few did begin life in Britain. Today they are restricted almost exclusively to parks. Sadly, Green's original machine was broken up in Morecambe in the 1980s.
The Big Wheel has been in existence as long as the swings and roundabouts and, just like these classic fairground rides, its basic design principles have remained unchanged since.
The most spectacular wheels, comprising of 40 carriages and capable of carrying over 1,000 passengers, were specially built for early exhibitions such as the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 and the Empire of England Exhibition at Earls Court in 1894. Their specific production for travelling the fairs did not start until the mid-twentieth century with modest machines containing 16 cars, which were eventually scaled down to more portable 12 car versions.
Giant Wheels have lost their appeal as a thrill ride in the modern fairground. However, they have been sprouting up in every major city in the world, marketed as tourist attractions and geared towards sightseeing The London Eye is a fine example of this new concept.
European manufacturers are now capable of building giant travelling wheels, but the wheel has become more of an icon of the fairground than a popular ride.
The Cake Walk emerged around 1909, named after a fast and frenetic dance, and the advertising of this machine as 'Captivating', 'Invigorating', 'Rejuvenating' and a 'Progressive British Sport' captured the spirit of the time. The mechanism consisted of undulating bridges and gangways driven by cranks, with the belt drive often connected to the organ so that a speed up of the music meant a speed up of the ride and a speed up of the riders 'dancing'. This made for a good spectacle and showmen quickly learnt that a ride that makes a good viewing spectacle makes a good profit.
The Dodgems as we know them today were introduced in Britain in 1928 by Messrs Lusse Brothers. Earlier models of this type of ride had been in existence before this time, but they did not gain popularity in the UK until they were presented in the fairgrounds by a number of British firms including Orton and Spooner, Robert Lakin, Lang Wheels and Rytecraft. Savages were in decline by this time but they did build a set of Dodgems for London showman Patsy North.
The origin of the Dodgem track is difficult to trace with several claims to its invention and a multitude of patents in existence. However, the most important aspect of the Dodgems is their development into their current format a controllable bumper car powered through an electrical pick-up linked to the roof nets.
The Pleasure Beach at Blackpool had a Dodgem type machine as early as 1913 called the Witching Waves whereby motion was provided by a complex arrangement of tilting floor panels. This is likely to have been upgraded in 1921 with the Dodgems introduced and patented by concessionaire George Tonner.
Paul Braithwaite's index of patents has various entries for Dodgems the first patent is simply described as a 'Dodgem system' in 1921, it is not clear if this resembled a modern day machine. The next ones date of 1923 and are described as, ‘Dodgem type rocking horse and Bumper cars on dished track’, and 'Bumper Car' patented by Lusse Brothers. Lusse Brothers provided further patents in the following years for drive mechanism and steering, which indicates a development towards the modern Dodgems. It is still unclear whether the famous electrical pick-up via pole was in operation at this point. Three more patents followed in 1928 from different companies including Lusse Brothers for ‘Dodgem electrical apparatus’, ‘Dodgem Car power unit’ and ‘Dodgem Car improved bumper’. Certainly in this latter period Lusse perfected the Dodgem car as a microcosmic motor car with futuristic designs appearing up until recent times.
It was again Bothmanns who were to introduce what was to become possibly the most popular of all roundabouts of the inter-war years. The first German Noah's Ark was opened at Mitcham in 1930 by William Wilson. Almost immediately both Orton and Spooner and Robert Lakin began to build their own versions. Although both firms tried different constructions, it was the various themes adopted which are best remembered.
The early Noah's Ark survived into the mid-1930s when Lakin introduced their famous Ben Hur rides, horses and chariots were now featured on the platforms. Edwin Hall's introduced scenes of the Circus Maximus in Rome made famous by the 1925 film, which were reputedly breath-taking. Later horses gave way to motor cycles, and so the Speedway theme was introduced. Even royalty was celebrated with a number of Coronation Speedways built in 1937.
Swirls, Waltzers, Mont Blancs and Loch Ness Monsters
More ideas came over from both France and Germany between the late 1920s and early 1930s. The Skid or Swirl, a close imitation of the Whip but circular in construction, was built by Lakins, using additional features suggested by Charles Thurston, who also worked in close liaison with Lakins in building the first Waltzer in 1933.
The Mont Blanc, originally brought from France, was also built by Lakins, who later changed its theme and called it the Airways.
Fresh interest in subterranean movements in Loch Ness in 1935 gave rise to a new ride in the same year. Both Lang Wheels and Lakins built rides based on the Loch Ness Monster theme, however these did not prove popular. The concept of this ride nevertheless did give the idea for another new ride which came in just before the outbreak of the second wold war, the Autodrome.
The old serene pace set by Gallopers and Switchbacks was taken over by the new trend for speed which became the essence of new rides. The perfect example of this new fast thrill ride of the 1930s was the Moonrocket. The first of these rides was imported by Joseph Schipper for John Collins, although Lakin built models proved more popular with the customers. The illusion of speed was increased by having the whole centre dome, including a figure of Popeye astride a small rocket, rotate the opposite way to the cars.
The Second World War and After
The development of fairground rides after the Second World war was fast and frantic.
Just before the war a few new American novelty rides found their way into Britain. The Octopus and the Dive Bomber, built by the Eyerly Company, were functional in nature and striped of the rich decorations that once defined the early British Fairground. The British showmen quickly adapted these rides to give them unique identities to indicate the thrills on offer through artwork. Britain also added its own ideas, and attractions with names such as the Hurricane, Jets, Twists, Satellites and Meteorites soon populated the fairground.
Slowly, however it was the influence of the German and Italian builders who put the decorative skills of the British Fairground artists back to use. The Superbob, Matterhorn, Pirate Boat and the Break Dance, all have "back-flashes" which give the ride a theme. Sometimes these were inspired by blockbuster films and pop music hits such as Ghostbusters and Thriller. The final part of this re-birth in fairground art came with the introduction of the Miami Trip whereby the UK established itself at the top of fairground art design.
Competition in the 1990s still encouraged showmen to invest in new rides, but increasingly this demand has been supplied by foreign manufacturers. Top Spins, Orbiters and Quasars have been built in Britain, as was Wilson's Super Bowl, but 'big-hitting' rides increasingly come from Dutch and Italian manufacturers. The development of highly advanced spinning and looping rides is still underway, and looks set to continue long into the twenty first century.
Gentry Bros. Twin Steam Calliope # 1
(1) Sullivan & Eagle actually built two identical calliope wagons as well as bandwagons and ticket wagons for the Gentry Bros. Famous Shows, which operated from one to four units annually in the very early 1900’s. Some speculate there was a third set of identical wagons but no proof has come forth that such was the case. The calliope pictured was built in 1902 for Gentry Bros. and was on that show’s units from 1902 through the 1922 season. The Gentry units finally narrowed down to one and that show was last operated by the Gentry Brothers in 1916 and following the season was sold to Newman and Austin who continued operating the show from 1917 through the 1922 seasons.
In the winter of 1922-23 the calliope along with the other equipment was sold to James Patterson of Paola, Kansas. In 1923 the calliope was placed on Patterson’s circus called Gentry Bros. and James Patterson Combined Circus, a fine, clean, little 15 car show that was on the road through the 1925 season. In the winter of 1925-26 Patterson sold the show to Floyd and Howard King.
( 1926 – Joseph Bradbury Album # 6 – photo # 44D – Gentry Bros. Circus – E. Deacon Albright, player, standing in wagon. Note rebuild of wagon drop frame. Photo by Walker Morris. )
For the 1926 and 1927 seasons the Kings placed the calliope on their 10 car circus titled Gentry Bros. In 1928 the show was called Walter L. Main, and in 1929 and 1930 the show was called the Cole Bros. World Toured Shows. Cole Bros. went broke Aug. 30, 1930 at Scottsville, Ky., and shortly thereafter the calliope with the other property was sold to H. C. Ingraham and Bert Rutherford who shipped it to Peoria, Ill., for their proposed circus. Their show never got started and the wagon was later taken over by the Venice Transportation Co. which held a mortgage on the Cole property.
In 1938 G. W. Christy purchased the Cole property and had it shipped to his place in South Houston, Texas. It was rumored that Christy was returning to the road with a railroad circus, however that did not take place. Christy advertised the show for sale as a unit but finding no buyers he finally sold most of it off piecemeal commencing about 1945. The calliope was sold to Dr. C. S. Karland Frischkorn of Norfolk, Va. who was a circus fan and also operated magic shows. He renovated the wagon and replaced the sunburst wheels with pneumatic tires.
( 1955 – J0seph Bradbury Album # 26 – photo #4C – King Bros. Circus Steam Calliope )
In the early Spring of 1952 this writer was visiting the King Bros. Cristiani Combined Circus winterquarters in Central City Park, Macon, Ga., looking over equipment being assembled for the street parade which the show was reviving for that season. Floyd King told me he had just gotten an oldtime steam calliope and was very proud of that fact. When he showed me a photo of it, I recognized it instantly, and Floyd remarked that he had owned it years ago. And true it was indeed, the steam calliope he had owned 22 years ago had come back to him again. It was delivered a week or so before opening date. It was fitted up for the road with a tractor attached to pull it over the road and it brought up the rear of the King-Cristiani street parades of 1952 and 1953, and the King Bros. parades of 1954 and 1955. After financial disaster struck the huge 1955 King show the equipment was split into two smaller units for 1956, both titled King Bros., but one known as the Eastern Unit, managed by Floyd King, the other known as the Western Unit and managed by Arnold Maley. The steam calliope went with the Eastern Unit. I heard it play in the abbreviated 1956 parade of the Eastern Unit on opening day in Macon in 1956. A few days later much of the parade equipment was attached, abandoned and the parade was finished. The show limped along for several months before closing. The show’s receiver sold the steam calliope in the fall of 1956 to the Blue Grass Shows, a carnival, which had intended to use it for lot ballyhoo.
Having tried to find a Merry-Go-Round for the Drive in theater for almost nine years, C.E. Bradshaw of Martin, S.D. found an ad in Billboard by “Specks” Grosskurth offering the calliope for sale. Driving to Owensboro, KY. to see it, Bradshaw and his associate, Roy Metzger of Winner, S.D. liked what they saw, bought it and drove it out to O’Neill, Nebraska where it remained for nearly 30 years. Difficulties in getting parts and repairs made that scheme impossible, but finally an old retired employee of a steam calliope manufacturer got it in working shape. Originally built as a 20 whistle unit, the wagon was later modified to enlarge the calliope to a 32 whistle unit. The coal fired boiler was also modified as a propane fired boiler.
( 2009 – Peru Circus Parade – Bob Cline Photo )
The former Gentry Bros. Circus Steam Calliope is now back at home in Peru, Indiana where it started its journey nearly 120 years ago. The owners, Peter Redmon and James Clary were told of the wagon existing in a shed in Nebraska. They went out there and bought it in July of 1987. I n 1987, the wagon/truck was on loan to the newly created International Circus Hall of Fame. The owners, Peter Redmon and James Clary donated this unit to the Circus City Festival on December 23, 1994 where it remains today.
(1) Excerpts from the Circus Wagon History File, Bandwagon, Vol. 4, No. 6 (Nov-Dec), 1960, pp. 3-5
The Old RailRoad With Carnival and Circus Trains
By: “Doc” Rivera
The American circus is older than the country itself. The first circus troupe of record dates back to 1724 when a small troupe gave its first performance in an open arena outside of Philadelphia. The first complete circus performance is generally ascribed to John Bill Rickets who built an amphitheater in Philadelphia and gave his first performance on April 3, 1793.
President George Washington was an avid circus fan and attended Rickets’ Show on April 23 and 24, 1793. By the early 1820s, there were approximately thirty animal circuses touring the eastern United States. These shows moved at night by wagon, over country roads, often mired in mud. During the heyday of the railroad circus, these shows would become known as “Mud Shows” for obvious reasons. There had been an occasional attempt at railroading by a few of the early shows, but most went back to the wagons and country roads after only one season.
Eventually, the term, “railroad show,” became synonymous with large circuses and carnivals. In the early years, people began to think that if a circus or carnival traveled by rail, it had to be modern and big. A show that made the transition from a mud show to the rails had reached the big time. The railroad impacted the type of equipment carried by the various shows. Mud shows made every attempt to keep their wagons light and small in size, but the railroad show permitted the shows to increase the dimensions and weight of their wagons. After the penny conscious show owners filled the insides of their wagons, they modified the outsides to carry even more equipment. The wagons were further modified to include removal or flipping up of the wagon tongues used to pull the wagons to the show grounds so that they could get more wagons on a flat car. When the railroad show owner could no longer modify the wagon to carry more equipment, they modified the rail cars themselves. The circus and carnivals wasted no space on the railroad cars extra tent poles, ride parts, and various equipment was stored either on the roofs of stock cars or under the wagons on the flat cars. Some of these early shows actually had so much surplus equipment crammed into and on the wagons that the sides actually bulged dangerously beyond the sides of the rail cars themselves. (see photo)
An example of an early 1900’s “Show Train”
The railroads generally charged the show to haul their train in multiples of five or ten railcars. If a show consisted of ten to 35 cars, the railroad charge in increments of 5 cars shows of forty or more cars were charged in increments of ten cars. So, whether the show train consisted of 16 or 20 cars, the owner was charged for a movement of twenty cars. Therefore, you will find that the length of most show trains were in multiples of five or ten. Before the days of trucks and tractors, when horses were the prime means of moving the wagons from the train to the circus lot, the train consisted of approximately 50% flat cars, 25% stock cars, and 25% coaches. A typical 20 car train of the time would consist of 5 stock cars, 10 flats, and four coaches. The fifth coach would be traveling ahead of the show as an advance or advertising car, perhaps connected to a scheduled railroad passenger train, but was still included as one of the 20 cars of the train.
The “Gilly” Show – Railroad History from Circus Trains and Carnival Trains
Two car railroad shows began around the 1890s. For many a fledgling operator, the introduction into outdoor show business was on a shoestring budget. Few could afford the initial outlay of money that was required to get a show of any decent size on the road. The “Gilly” show was entirely different in operation than the flatcar circus and carnival. These shows came to be known as “Two Car Shows” since that is exactly what most of them had, two railroad cars. Although the large flatcar railroad shows moved on their own schedule, the Two Car Show moved on regularly scheduled trains, usually passenger trains. They mainly consisted of a baggage car and a coach.
In the days of these Two Car Railroad shows, it was standard railroad procedure that anyone buying a specific number of first-class tickets, usually 25, received a free baggage car.
Even with the two-car railroad show that might own its own cars, the railroads operated the same way. Buy the specified number of first-class train tickets and the railroad moved the cars for free. Many a two-car show owner would buy only the required number of tickets but carry upwards of 75 people. These un-ticketed people would hide in possum bellies, any available compartment, and especially the baggage car until the conductor had received the tickets and counted the people on the car.
Frequently, the two car shows would rent a show lot from the railroad and set up adjoining the railroad cars on the siding. Most of these two car shows trooped as “gilly shows,” which meant that the show either hired local farmers with wagons to move the show from the train to the show lot, or they carried their own gilly wagon. This was basically a skeletal wagon with removable wagon wheels. When the show was traveling, the wagon would be disassembled and shoved into any remaining space on the baggage car. Most showmen of the day knew the amount of work associated with a Gilly operation and the infrequency of the paydays and stayed away from such operations. Most of these Gilly Shows were considered “high grass” shows in the circuses and carnival business, They were shows that played the small, sparsely populated, rural towns of America. All equipment had to be torn down, loaded onto the wagon, then transported to the railcar. The wagon would then be returned to the lot to get whatever equipment was left. This process might require a half dozen trips. Once at the rail car, it would have to be reloaded from the wagon and packed tightly into the train. When the train reached the show’s destination, the whole process had to be repeated in reverse. The last of the Gilly Shows was Cooper Bros. Circus which called it quits at the end of their 1934 season.
Rail Equipment of The Old Shows – Railroad History from Circus Trains and Carnival Trains
Since the railroads charged the show by the number of cars moved, not the length or weight, the shows’ ownership built longer car lengths of 50 feet, then 60 feet, and finally 72 feet. It cost the shows the same amount to move ten 40 foot cars as it did to move ten 60 foot ones. The modern Ringling show uses flats of 85-foot length. In the heyday of the railroad show, two companies emerged as the primary suppliers of circus and carnival flat and stock cars, the Warren Tank Car Company and Mount Vernon Car Manufacturing Company. The trains coaches were used equipment purchased from the railroads or other defunct shows that had gone ‘belly up.’
In 1923, following World War I, and again in1947, after World War II, the Ringling Brothers Circus purchased surplus hospital cars from the government and converted them for circus use. The three basic types of carnival and circus railroad cars used from the 1930’s into the 1950’s were flat cars, stock cars, and coaches. Along with these cars, there were some specially modified and unique cars.
Stock cars were usually coupled directly behind the locomotive to help minimize jolting the animals, then came the flat cars which were the heaviest due to the rides and other equipment, and finally, the coaches brought up the rear of the train.
Show trains were moved in sections. Prior to WW II, RBBB had 100 cars which were moved in four sections. According to Emmett Kelly, Jr., it cost the circus about $1000 to rent the locomotive which moved each circus train section and $1.00 a mile to move the Ringling Bros. show following World War II. In 1947, RBBB traveled on 109 cars, the largest railroad circus in history. In 1949, the RBBB moved on 89 circus railroad cars which when fully loaded weighed approximately 6,850 tons. If this same equipment was moved on standard rail cars of the time, it would have required a 178 car freight train.
Railroad carnivals could be much heavier due to the weight of the rides and heavier built wagons that were primarily constructed from iron and oak.
Motive power for the show train was always provided by the railroads. What type of motive power did the railroads use to move the heavy circus trains? 2-8-2 Mikados by the Chicago and North Western Railway and Santa Fe, 4-8-4 Northerns by the Union Pacific and Milwaukee Road the Chicago Burlington & Quincy (the Burlington ) used EMD 6000 horsepower freight diesels.
Even though circus trains included passenger coaches, they were always moved as freight by the railroads, and so, the railroad’s caboose brought up the rear.
Flat Cars – Railroad History for Circus Trains and Carnival Trains
The early flat cars, like most railroad equipment of the era, were made of wood by wagon companies or contracted in railroad shops. They required adjustable metal truss rods along the bottom to keep the sag out of the car due to the heavy loads they had to bear up under. They were a maintenance nightmare due to wear and weather and required constant attention by the train crew.
The first show flats of steel construction were sixty-foot cars. The first show to use these flats was the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show in 1911. By the 1920’s the Warren Tank Car Company of Warren, Pennsylvania, and the Mt. Vernon Car Manufacturing Company of Mt. Vernon, Illinois, were the principal providers of the steel circus and carnival flat cars. In 1926, both these companies were competing heavily to get circuses and carnivals to convert from the 60-foot cars to their new 70 and 72 foot flats. Two other companies produced limited amounts of steel show flat cars, Keith provided cars similar in appearance to those manufactured by Warren to the Hagenbeck-Wallace and the Sells-Floto circuses in the 1920s. The other company was the Thrall Car Company of Chicago which built five flat cars in 1947 for Ringling Brothers Circus stayed with the wooden flats longer than the other circus, using them into the late 1920s, beginning the conversion to Warren flats in 1928. The last of the wooden flats, which originated with the 101 Ranch Wild West Show, were used by the Bill Hames Carnival in the 1940’s.
The 70 foot Mount Vernon flat cars can be distinguished by the pot belly sides with ribs. (see photo on right)
The 72 foot Warren flat car had no ribs and gently arcing sides on both top and bottom. A typical Warren flat car measures 73 feet over the couplers, seventy feet for the bed, and 9′ 9 1/4″ in width. (See photo on left)
Stock Cars – Railroad History Circus Trains and Carnival Trains
Stock cars were 72 feet long and of two basic types. One was designed for the horses and ring stock and the other for the elephants, or in circus parlance, “bulls.” Like the flat cars, most stock cars were built by the Warren Tank Car Company or Mount Vernon Car Manufacturing.
The cars used to transport the bulls had solid sides and small windows for ventilation near the top of the car since the elephants were susceptible to pneumonia. They were also about a foot taller than the other stock cars and had larger doors positioned directly across from each other in the center of the car. The elephants were usually positioned in three pairs at each end of the car and another elephant could be loaded at the center of the car, facing a door. Thus, each bull car could carry 12 or 13 adult elephants. If a circus did not have this many bulls, one end of the car might be outfitted with bunks for the “bullmen,” or elephant handlers.
Before tractors and trucks were in widespread use, the circus carried two types of horses. Baggage stock were the draft horses used to move the wagons between the train and the lot and in the show parade and the ring stock which were the horses that performed in the show. Rail cars which carried ring stock were equipped with individual stalls for each horse. Baggage stock did not have stalls but were loaded side by side, always in the same spot, in each end of the car. Since the baggage stock would be needed immediately at the next city, they were carried with their harnesses on. Chains were hung from the roof of the car with a hook on the end. The horse’s collar was attached to the hook to relieve the weight around its neck. The harnesses were only removed from the baggage horses at the horse tops (stable tents) on the show lot during the day. Each stock car had troughs running the length of the car so that the horses could be fed in route during long hauls. Each trough had a lid with a chain attached. The chain ran to a handle in the roof and during the trip, the attendants would walk along the roof and raise the trough lids to feed the horses. The loading ramps for cars that carried ring stock had sides, but those for baggage stock did not since the harnesses and collars had a tendency to catch the rails as the stock was loaded or unloaded. The ramps were stored on racks located under the car during a jump.
A typical stock car could carry about 27 baggage horses or 32 ring stock. Ponies and other small animals could be double-decked so that no space was wasted. If there was still extra space inside, it was used to store extra supplies of programs, tickets, and concession items. Doors on these cars were offset on each side, that is not across from each other. This permitted loading the entire length of the car with stock, no wasted space in the center of the car as there would be if the doors were directly across from each other.
Into the 1920s, most stock cars were wooden, including the ends. With the arrival of the steel flats, the ends of the stock cars became more solid as they were made from corrugated steel. The stock cars used by the Ringling Bros. today are converted from former passenger cars and are equipped with automatic, temperature controlled watering devices and air conditioning. (See Photo)
Coaches and Unique Passenger Cars – Railroad History From Circus Trains and Carnival Trains
Although a very few shows bought new coaches for their personnel, most carnivals and circuses purchased obsolete or at least, used, railroad equipment. Almost without exception, any coach coming into the shows rolling stock lineup was immediately gutted of everything that the Pullman company had installed.
The circus had a very strict employee caste system and this was no more pronounced than in personnel sleeping assignments on board the train. Featured performers and key personnel were often assigned a stateroom or perhaps even a half or third of a car. Some of the larger shows might even have a private coach for the owner or star performer (See photo), such as Tom Mix on the Cole Bros. train. The Ringling train carried two private cars, one for John Ringling, “The Jomar“, and another for Charles Ringling, “The Caledonia“. However, these were the rare exceptions. Most of the circus coaches were filled top to bottom with berths. An individual’s assignment in the circus and length of employment dictated the assigned berth. A newcomer, or “First of May” in show parlance, might be assigned the top berth. Working men might be assigned two to a bunk. These cars were not air-conditioned and many a circus and carnival worker chose to sleep on an open flat, beneath the wagons, on a hot summer night. The same premise held true for carnivals although they didn’t have the rigid caste system of the circuses. Bosses and their families that were part of the office hierarchy such as the Ride Superintendent, Train Master or Lot Man could be assured a better stateroom appointment while the “Roughies” and “Ride Monkeys” could expect a plywood bunk in a gutted out former coach with a shared toilet at the end of the car. Since there was no air-conditioning, these coaches could usually be identified by the smell that emanated from them, especially during the hot summer months. There were no porters on most carnival trains.
Coaches were assigned by circus department, for example, band members might be assigned to one car, performers and staff to another, clowns to another, and so forth. Single girls were assigned to a separate car which became nicknamed “the virgin car.”
The porter assigned to each car was not only the housekeeper but the law on the car. He enforced the rules and settled disputes. He also was the mailman and ran errands for the occupants of his car. For these duties, he was tipped quite handsomely from his “charges.”
In 1947, RBBB had taken possession of surplus hospital cars purchased from the government following World War II. These cars were converted for use by the circus. (The Monon Railroad’s coaches for trains like the Thoroughbred were also converted hospital cars.) In 1986, three of these converted hospital cars were seen in a Tampa, FL, scrap yard awaiting demolition. One of these hospital cars, Advertising Car No. 1, is preserved at the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, WI.
In later years, most of the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus Coaches had hot water and showers. Each had a porter assigned whose responsibility was to make up the beds and keep the car clean. One car had short berths for the midgets as well as special berths for the fat lady and giant. One car was designated for the single women of the show and had a “car mother” assigned to look after the girls another was set up for families , and another for the single men. Unlike most other railroad shows, every working man had his own berth. The early circus coaches sometimes had berths three high some shows had a single berth at the top of the car and a double berth below in which two workers slept.
Unique Rail Cars – Railroad History From Circus Trains and Carnival Trains
In 1936, Ringling Brothers added a hospital car, Number 99, called the “Florence Nightingale” to the circus train. This luxury traveled with the show for only one year.
In 1949, Ringling Brothers added a laundry car with commercial laundry equipment to do the shows dry cleaning and laundry.
John Ringling’s private car, the Jomar, had a cook, valet, and secretary who stayed with the car even with John Ringling was not on the show. It contained a living room, staterooms, full-sized bathroom, dining room, kitchen, and quarters for the chef and butler. This car reportedly cost John Ringling $100,000, not a small sum in 1921. Today this car can be seen, fully restored to its former splendor, as a static exhibit at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota Florida. It is an absolutely beautiful and magnificent piece of show history.
The Pie Car – Railroad History From Circus Trains and Carnival Trains
The Pie Car is the closest thing the show train has to a railroad diner or club car. The Pie Car served as the social gathering place while the train was in route. Sometimes, the operation was let out as a concession and on other shows, it was run the by the show’s management. The Pie Car offered short-order food and some had a bar. Show personnel could usually find a game of cards or dice in progress in the Pie Car. The Pie Car did not always serve full meals for the show people on many shows. One exception was the Nickel Plate Shows which had no cookhouse and fed its personnel three meals per day in the Pie Car. The Pie Cars on today’s Red and Blue Units of the Ringling Bros. Circus are dining cars and a large portion of those shows’ personnel eat their meals in the Pie Car. However, these modern day Pie Cars still offer short orders from an early breakfast to a midnight snack.
Advance or Advertising Car – Railroad History From Circus Trains and Carnival Trains
The advance car went well ahead of the show, usually as part of the back end of a passenger consist. It was usually identified by the flamboyant, bright and artistic paintwork it carried.
This car was designed to be noticed. (See photo) Its function was to alert the population in the area of the show’s arrival. The advance car, in addition to sparse living accommodations, had large wooden tables and reams of “bills” ( bright and colorful posters) that could range in size from a window card to a ‘multi-sheet’ that could cover the entire side of a building or barn. The stories regarding the escapades of the advance teams are the stuff of legends as they often pasted their bills over every surface possible despite the property owners objections.
“Goliath” Car – Railroad History From Circus Trains and Carnival Trains
In 1928, Ringling featured a sea elephant, named Goliath. The previous year, the Warren company had built Ringling a modified stock car for a white elephant which had been exhibited in 1927. This car had an off-center dividing wall which divided the car into a short and long end. In 1928, Ringling installed a large water tank in the short end of the car for Goliath , and filled the long end of the car with regular elephants. When Goliath was returned to the car each day, his specially built flatbed wagon was backed up to an extra door on this customized stockcar and Goliath would enter his private compartment. This specially modified car presented problems during transportation since the sloshing of Goliath in the tank and the movement of the water would cause the car to sway and frequently derail. This car was on the Ringling circus train for four years and traveled a fifth year with the Ringling owned Sells-Floto Circus train.
Steam Circus - History
This reminds me of the hidden horror Hateful route in Hatoful Boyfriend!
It also JUST knocked me that they're, like, Joseph and Mary. and all of their kids are Jesus-like named. OMFG GUYS DO YOU SMELL SULPHUR HERE CALL THE EXORCIST.
The tricky thing about LGBT games is we HATE seeing games about being gay. It sort of objectifies the whole issue and alienates us. It feels like "you are one thing, the viewer, but now here is GAY."
However, we LOVE seeing stories about realistic characters that happen to be gay, which is what dream daddy does.
It's weird people don't seem to get this. Like, you'd just make a normal game, with normal characters, etc etc, the only difference being the characters happen to be gay.
Now, for game genres I'd like to see more LGBT representation in would be, of course, visual novels and dating sims. Most visual novels or dating sims featuring gay characters fetishize the character's sexuality or make it about the character BEING gay. You can't write a character that is gay. You need to write a character that HAPPENS TO BE gay.
We aren't CONSUMED by our gayness all day every day. We have our own personalities, quirks, likes and dislikes, all completely separate from our sexuality and THAT'S what I (and I assume others of the community) would LOVE to see more of!
well it's because this game isn't erotic, doesn't fetishize the LGBT community OR dads, and overall is a wholesome game about friendship, bonds, and family.
I'm pretty sure most of the games you are referring to by erotic are just that, erotic games that objectify women, men, the LGBT, or whatever other content it has. Those games are built literally for people to fap to and many people find it disgusting and do not approve of it, ie look down on players of those games.
Some erotic games are good, but many shriek "I have tits PLS fap to me! Also there's no real story or personality to anything and all actions are unjustified or justified by stupid reasons!"
Since this game is nothing like an erotic game, it wouldn't be getting the same hatred as erotic games. Does this make sense to you?
Except it seems you have a prejudice about the word erotic. Can you also please not try to think for me ''I'm pretty sure most of the games you are referring to'' you sound just like the mindless general sheep. I never said anything in the sense as you just did. erotic has a lot of forms and meanings not just the objectification of women you just tried to blame me of. In that regard it does not make sense to me. And in my opinion having the option to make out and or sleep with someone is erotic so in this case it does apply to this sim. ''In my opinion'' apparently it is necessary to state this every time as it isn't apparent enough. Okay babe, maybe this'll help.
Definition of erotic:
"relating to or tending to arouse sexual desire or excitement."
"not just the objectification of women you just tried to blame me of" I listed more than women doll. It feels like you have an agenda )
"And in my opinion having the option to make out and or sleep with someone is erotic so in this case it does apply to this sim." You'd be right if and only if it was graphic in either words or visual, and it is neither. Erotic games explicitly feature graphic sexual scenes. All erotic games do, otherwise it is not considered an erotic game. You might be confusing a normal dating game (it would be literally like this game, no erotic scenes, no graphic scenes, only mild suggestions) with an erotic game. If you're not, then your opinion doesn't matter on what qualifies content as erotic. There are regulations and in those regulations, for a game to be erotic is needs to have graphic sexual content. Period.
- The Malcolm Airey Collection contains a large number of circus programmes from both the UK and Europe including Billy Smart and Belle Vue.
- The Hull Fair Project was conducted with funding from The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and contains many images which are available to view in the reading room.
- Harold Dever: a collection of over 300 photographs of rides, engines, shows and acts from a variety of fairs and shows.
- Jack Leeson: over 11,000 photographs and negatives, both collected and taken by Leeson, and notebooks with detailed lists of every fair visited.
- Ron White: collection of digitised photographs of Scottish fairs
- Stanley Houghton (1881-1913): playwirght whose most famous work Hindle Wakes, 1912, has been filmed several times the story includes a trip to Blackpool.
Steam Circus - History
Photographs by the author. [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. Click on all the images to enlarge them.]
Jubilee Steam Gallopers . This set of hand-painted wooden fairground horses is still doing the rounds for Carter's travelling Steam Fair of Maidenhead in Berkshire, the largest independent fair in the country — and one which numbers amongst its rides an "overboats" wheel of 1875, the very oldest working fairground ride in Britain (see Storr, and "Carter's Overboats"). Although the ride shown above is not the oldest, it is still (if only just) Victorian. Information given on one of the central panels tells us that the horses were originally built by Robert Tidman & Sons, Norwich, in about 1895. According to Grace's Guide , Tidman's firm operated between 1883 and 1925. Naturally, restoration, repainting (by hand), and replacement has continued since then, but always in the style of the original.
Left: A closer view of one of the "Gallopers." Right: The steam engine powering the ride.
It is worth noting that this is not a carousel on the American model. It turns clockwise rather than anti-clockwise, and the horses are generally different from each other. Their motion is different too. Carter's description of them on their own website explains that this is, in fact,
a very British ride, born of a time when normal working people couldn't afford their own horse. It provided a much-needed flight of fancy, a break from the drudgery of work, and often they would be highly decorated with exotic scenes, portraits of actors and actresses, of great men and royalty. In the days before cinema or television, it was transporting people into a gaily-coloured world. They're called Gallopers because the horses speed round, and as they race they're pulled up and down on cams, which gives them a "galloping" motion. When they were made in about 1895, this would have been the fastest most people had ever travelled.
Left: A closer view of the organ.
Although it was acquired later on, the engine is thought to be about the same age as the horses, especially since it fitted perfectly into place. The 46-key organ dates from not much later, about 1900, and was built by the celebrated French firm of Gavioli et Cie.
In the first half of the nineteenth century, travelling shows were generally circuses or menageries (like George Wombwell's Travelling Circus) panoramic or lantern-slide shows waxworks (like Mrs Jarley's in Dickens's The Old Curiosity Shop ) or freak shows — some of which became more popular than ever in the course of the century. Traditional fairs, on the other hand, held regularly on commons and greens from centuries back, were going out of fashion. No longer needed for such purposes as selling farm produce and livestock, or hiring labour, they had become too rowdy for their neighbourhoods. The increasingly notorious twice-yearly Greenwich Fair, for example, was stopped in 1857. Many others were hit by a series of restrictive Fairs Acts in the late sixties and early seventies: it seemed, as Jerry White suggests, that this was a matter not just of "civic disapproval" but of "changing taste" as well (210).
Yet just when they seemed doomed to disappear, along came a new attraction: the use of steam to power exciting new rides:
Mechanisation shifted the emphasis from the shows, which were rooted in the past, to the rides which gave the showmen complete freedom to keep in step with the technological advancements of an ever revolutionary age. By the end of the Victorian era the landscape of the fairground was populated by rides of all kinds: steam yachts, switchbacks and of course the galloping horses. ["History of the Fairground"].
Left: Carter's Steam Yachts, seen from the back to show the engine. Right: Carter's steam yachts in action.
The steam yachts, with real flags flying and huge painted ones covering the entire bottom of each boat, are almost as spectacular as the carousel. They are actually more scary to ride on than the "Gallopers" because at the height of their swing they are almost vertical. This is a very rare surviving example of its kind, built in 1921 — but the engine itself dates from even earlier, having been saved from a scrapyard and restored.
Left to right: (a) Three-quarter view of the engine, with its tall funnel. (b) Britannia in motion. (c) Stoking the engine (the activity is just visible).
The Steam Yachts' engine "Yorky" dates from 1901, and was made by Savage Brothers of King's Lynn, founded by Frederick Savage in 1850. The firm made steam engines for a variety of purposes, including ones for showmen and fair rides. This engine was originally for Waddington's (see "Excelsior Steam Yachts"). Waddington was a big name in fairground history, especially with regard to steam fairs:
The impact of the steam machine on the development of the riding machine was profound. As the nineteenth century drew to a close numerous patents were taken out for new ideas and designs. Sometimes it was the roundabout proprietors themselves who tried out new ideas, including Abraham Waddington of Yorkshire who patented his idea in 1870.
If the roundabout could be mechanised, so could the swing. A patent taken out in 1888 introduced the Steam Yachts. William Cartwright of Bromwich first succeeded in building a set using upright cylinders. Savages also began building Steam Yachts, using Cartwright's improved patent of 1894. The Yachts were often given the names of the latest liners: Lusitania and Mauretania, Cymric and Celtic, although Olympia and Titanic proved short lived names on John Collins’ set. ["History of Fairground Rides"]
Left: The organ at the front of the ride (the engine is behind it).
Carter's two swinging yachts are called Britannia (perhaps after the Prince of Wales's racing cutter, built in 1893), and Columbia (possibly after a famous American racing yacht of 1899 it has the stars-and-stripes on its base). It is good to see this interest in the larger world, as, in other ways, the fair seems so fervently patriotic! At the front, making a glitzy show that obscures the engine, and sending out its typical fairground music in competition with the Gallopers, is a 47-key organ hand-built for the yachts in 1984 by Dean Organ Builders — as explained on the information panel just below it. The style is entirely authentic, and the result is a complete set of steam yachts. According to the same information panel, it is one of only two surviving, and the only one in the world to still be travelling round on a regular basis.
Traditional rides and side-shows
Left to right: (a) The "overboats" wheel. (b) A "train ride" for younger fair-goers. (c) One of the "Try your strength" strikers. Note the Prince of Wales's feathers at the top.
The more traditional elements of the old fairs also got a new lease of life now. The "overboats" wheel shown here is a more up-to-date version of the Steam Fair's restored, hand-cranked wheel, which only has two boats, and is still in use (although, because it is so labour intensive, it is not part of their travelling fair). A "train ride" for the little ones was naturally popular in the new age of railway travel, and is represented here too. Other stands and side-shows like the "striker," a shooting gallery, a mirror house, coconut shy, ghost train and so on, as well as candy floss and other snack food kiosks, make for a lively and varied fair-going experience for people of all ages. Carter's is unique not only in the historical backgrounds of the individual rides and fairground structures, including even the showpeople's living and moving arrangements, but also in the quality of their hand-painted lettering and hand-painted and gilded decorations. These combine to give an authentic flavour of the popular late-Victorian/early twentieth-century travelling fair.
Queen Victoria featured on one of the overhead signs on the Gallopers. She looks distinctly unamused — but she was, in reality, not a bit strait-laced.
"About Carter's Steam Fair." Carter's Steam Fair . Web. 6 May 2018.
"Carter's Overboats." Carter's Steam Fair . Web. 6 May 2018.
"Excelsior Steam Yachts." Carter's Steam Fair . Web. 6 May 2018.
"Fairground Organs." Dean Organ Builders . Web. 6 May 2018.
"History of Fairground Rides." National Fairground and Circus Archive (University of Sheffield). Web. 6 May 2018.
"History of the Fairground." National Fairground and Circus Archive (University of Sheffield). Web. 6 May 2018.
Horn, Pamela. Pleasures and Pastimes in Victorian Britain . Stroud, Glos.: Amberley, 2011 (see Ch. 4).
"Robert Tidman and Sons." Grace's Guide . Web. 6 May 2018.
"Savage Brothers." Grace's Guide . Web. 6 May 2018.
White, Jerry. London in the Nineteenth Century: "A Human Awful Wonder of God." London: Cape, 2007. [Review]
Beginnings: The Ringling Brothers
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Wisconsin, “the cradle of circuses,” five siblings of German-French heritage, the Rüngeling (later Ringling) brothers (Albert, Otto, Alfred, Charles, and John), were in the process of founding their own circus in Baraboo. Beginning as a song-and-dance troupe in 1882, it grew into a one-ring circus by 1884 and added its first elephant in 1888. After taking the show—the Ringling Bros. United Monster Shows, Great Double Circus, Royal European Menagerie, Museum, Caravan, and Congress of Trained Animals—on the road in horse-drawn wagons, the Ringlings began transporting their circus by railroad in 1890, making it possible for them to take a larger production on longer tours. In 1895, as the rivalry grew between the Ringling brothers’ circus and Barnum and Bailey’s circus, the two organizations agreed to divide the market geographically.