Did you know that Carousels as we know them originated in jousting tournaments.
Knights in the Middle East and Europe would ride around in a circle, all the while throwing balls to one another. While this might sound like something straight out of Monty Python, it was actual considered an athletic act. The ability to maintain control over both horse and ball were said to equate to ones skill level as a knight.
The first iteration of this tradition that resembles what we see today sprung up around the 17th century, at fairgrounds in Europe. The game was changed to attempting to spear small rings hanging above the rider’s head as they went around in a circle.
This eventually turned into homemade wooden rides at every fair in Europe. The main difference here were that there was no platform. That is to say the rider would sit on a wooden animal which was suspended from the ceiling, and be flung around the circle using centrifugal force.
The 19th century ushered in the playoff carousel we know today. There would be some tweaks here and there but for the most part they were as we know them today.
Now you know.
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