Detail, carving on outside peace chariot horse

A Grand Carousel

PTC#30, the thirtieth machine made by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC) in Pennsylvania, USA, was built in 1913. The carousel was specially ordered by entrepreneur, Cozens Spencer, for his new, White City amusement park in Sydney, Australia. In 1913 it cost him US$14,657.00 plus shipping! Like a giant puzzle, the huge carousel, complete with cast iron machinery and hundreds of timber parts, set sail from America in October, 1913 and arrived in Sydney in November. Ten years later PTC#30 came to Melbourne for the grand re-opening of Luna Park in 1923. This was the carousel's second location where it has remained ever since and is fondly remembered by generations of Melburnians.

The carousel was one of PTC's "high class" rides, a grand machine designed for a permanent location. With a platform 52 feet in diameter, it still has the original 68 horses four abreast, 2 Roman chariots, elaborate decoration and 36 cherubs frozen in flight on the rounding boards. 26 original scenery paintings adorn the center panels and rounding boards, painted by PTC's Max Soltmann. During the recent restoration of PTC#30, it was discovered that much of the original paint was in tact on the majority of horses, rounding boards and center panels. Company ledgers confirm that much of this work was done by PTC's head painter of 30 years, Gustav Weiss.

The shortlived White City amusement park in Sydney  - by 1918 it had folded.
PTC30 in 1923 - the year it arrived at Luna Park in Melbourne "Giant Carrousel", PTC 30 at White City, Sydney c.1913.
Swords and Flowers

PTC#30 is almost identical in design to the four and five row machines PTC# 20, 21 and 22, made between1911 and 1912. These carousels and #30 shared the romantic theme "War and Peace" which allowed skilled PTC carvers great scope for creative invention and individuality in horse carving. Armour, swords and shields adorn the dark, spirited horses following the eagle chariot of War on PTC#30. The Peace chariot is more serene with a "Columbia" figurehead surrounded by carved flowers. She is followed by gentler horses with arched necks and softer colours. Lyrical flowers and butterflies are typical of PTC's romantic style and are liberally scattered around PTC#30.

Most PTC carousels had a lead horse, usually the most magnificently carved and often armoured like a medieval knight's steed. PTC#30's golden lead horse embodies both war and peace with it's war helmet and gentle angel. Of the 68 horses on PTC#30, 66 are jumpers (moving up and down) and 2 are standers (stationary on the platform). They were identified as "king horses" by the company on the 1913 assembly plans that accompanied the carousel to Australia.

Outer War chariot horse with gilded swords