Allan Herschell Company

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A 1920s Allan Herschell Company merry-go-round at Trail Dust Town

The Allan Herschell Company specialized in the creation of amusement rides, particularly carousels and roller coasters. The company manufactured portable machines which could be used by traveling carnival operators. It was started in 1915 in the town of North Tonawanda, just outside Buffalo, New York, US.

Allan Herschell Company
Private company
Fate Merged with Chance Rides
Founded 1915
Defunct 1970
Area served


Previous companies[edit]

Herschell, together with James Armitage, created the Armitage Herschell Company in 1873. In 1883, his son William traveled to London, England, to meet former Limonaire Frères employee Eugene de Kleist. Backed by Armitage Herschell, in 1888 De Kleist set up band organ production in North Tonawanda, founding the North Tonawanda Barrel Organ Factory.[1] The company produced a range of barrell-organ based products, suited for all ranges of fairground attraction.

Armitage Herschell remained in operation until the early 1900s. The company carved many portable carousels, made simple in style. Surviving steam riding galleries are located in Mississippi and Maine. In 1901, Herschell left the Armitage Herschell Company due to financial complications, thus allowing De Kliest to buy the pair out, and seek new investment from his association with Rudolph Wurlitzer.

Herschell created the Herschell Spillman Company with his in-laws, the Spillmans. Herschell Spillman started out creating and carving carousels in a traditional style, but later branching out to create larger park machines, such as elaborate carousels with many types of animals. Surviving carousels can be found in California, Michigan, and Maryland. The Herschell–Spillman Motor Company Complex at North Tonawanda was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013.[2]

The company later dropped Herschell's name and was known as the Spillman Engineering Company. The company continued to make the same style of carousel, though later it focused more on horses with a few menagerie styled machines. Surviving carousels can be seen in North Carolina and the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York.

Allan Herschell Company[edit]

The last company Herschell created was his own, competing with the Spillman Engineering Company, in 1915. Herschell specialized in horses with rigid poses and portable machines, which enabled them to be packed and shipped easily between towns. Herschell produced over 3,000 carved wooden carousels, which were shipped all over the United States and Canada, as well as other countries such as Mexico, South Africa, and India.[citation needed]

The factory was bought in 1915 and is located on Thompson Street in North Tonawanda. It is one of the last factory complexes in the United States which contained the production of wooden carousels. The complex was expanded to meet the growing company's needs. The building contains a large carving shop, a woodworking shop, a paint shop, a storage area, an upholstery shop, a machine shop and a roundhouse where the carousels were assembled and tested.[citation needed]

Herschell didn't create just carousel rides, but expanded to include rides made for children and adults. He thought up the concept for rides specialized for small children, called "Kiddieland." Twister, Hurricane, Flying Bobs, and the Sky Wheel were thrill rides catered towards adults.[citation needed]

The company moved to Buffalo, New York, in the 1950s, and in 1970 it merged with rival amusement park company Chance Manufacturing of Wichita, Kansas.[3]

Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum[edit]

The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, at the original factory site on Thompson Street, opened to the general public in July 1983,[4] with a full operational carousel from 1916. The first floor of the factory has been opened up to provide exhibits and demonstrations. Different programs are offered, such as woodcarving of various skill levels, guided tours, and a summer lecture series. Special programs, such as Youth Volunteer Program and Neighborhood Partners Program are offered to young people and local elementary school children.

Surviving Allan Herschell Company rides[edit]


Roller coasters[edit]

This lists the 26 current surviving Allan Herschell roller coasters. Below is a list in a table format as noted on RCDB:[13]

Roller coaster Amusement park Location Status
Little Dipper Conneaut Lake Park Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania Operating[14]
Little Dipper Little Amerricka Marshall, Wisconsin Operating[15]
Mad Mouse Joyland Amusement Park Lubbock, Texas Operating[16]
Mad Mouse Little Amerricka Marshall, Wisconsin Operating[17]
Little Dipper Sandy Lake Amusement Park Carrollton, Texas Operating[18]
Roller Coaster Magic Forest Park Lake George, New York Operating[19]
Little Dipper Memphis Kiddie Park Brooklyn, Ohio Operating[20]
Little Dipper Quassy Amusement Park Middlebury, Connecticut Operating[21]
Little Dipper Midway State Park Maple Springs, New York Operating[22]
L'il Renegade Southern Adventures Huntsville, Alabama Operating[23]
Little Fire Ball Kiddie Park Bartlesville, Oklahoma Operating[24]
Little Dipper Tuscora Park New Philadelphia, Ohio Operating[25]
Little Dipper Amusement Park Drive In Laurel, Montana Operating[26]
Unknown Parque Eme Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico Operating[27]
Range YesterLand Farm Canton, Texas Operating[28]
Wild Kitty Frontier City Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Operating[29]
Roller Coaster Huck Finn's Playland Albany, New York Operating[30]
Run Away Mine Cars Donley's Wild West Town Union, Illinois Operating[31]
Unknown Greeley County Fairgrounds Tribune, Kansas Operating[32]
Roller Coaster Blue Mountain Go Karts Collingwood, Ontario, Canada Operating[33]
Roller Coaster Funland Amusement Park North Little Rock, Arkansas Operating[34]
Safari Sheridan County Fairgrounds Hoxie, Kansas Operating[35]
Roller Coaster Wallace County Fairgrounds Sharon Springs, Kansas Operating[36]
Lil Dipper Roller Coaster Sluggers & Putters Canal Fulton, Ohio Operating[37]
Unknown Holland Speedway Holland, New York Operating[38]
Western Train L'ile Aux Enfants Torreilles, Languedoc-Roussillon, France Operating[39]


S-24 Iron Horse 24" gauge train at Van Saun County Park in Paramus, New Jersey
  • G-12 12" inch gauge miniature train[40]
  • G-16 16" inch gauge miniature train[40]
  • S-16 1865 16" inch gauge miniature train[40]
  • S-24 Iron Horse 24" inch gauge miniature train[40]

Other rides[edit]


  1. ^ Tim Trager (20 April 2008). "Some History on Limonaire Freres And Its Famous Band Organs". Carousel News. Retrieved 20 April 2008. 
  2. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Listings". Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 6/17/13 through 6/21/13. National Park Service. 2013-06-28. 
  3. ^ Chance, Harold (2004). The Book of Chance. Wichita, Kansas: Wichita Press. p. 31. ISBN 0-9649065-0-3. 
  4. ^ Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum - The Museum
  5. ^ Funshine Amusements homepage
  6. ^ "McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park - Scottsdale Charro Carousel". Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  7. ^ "National Carousel Association". Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ The NCA Census of Operating North American Carousels
  10. ^ James E. Jacobsen. "Herschel-Spillman Two-Row Portable Menagerie Carousel" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2017-02-06.  with photos
  11. ^ "Cheyenne Mountain Zoo's Historic Carousel". Retrieved 2017-03-21. 
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  40. ^ a b c d A Brief History of the Allan Herschell S-24 "Iron Horse"
  41. ^ a b "Operating Classic Amusement Park Rides". National Amusement Park Historical Association. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 

External links[edit]