As the year 2017 begins, the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum (HCFM)
in North Tonawanda, New York, unveils its new website which features
some interesting new exhibits and historical items recently added to
its collections. Visit http://carrouselmuseum.org/
The museum is at 180 Thompson Street, in buildings that used to be
the site of the Allan Herschell Company. The museum's collection of
rides, period equipment and ephemera interprets the development of the
Herschell companies and changes in the American amusement industry in
the 19th and 20th centuries.
The HCFM operates two carousels and displays various smaller amusement
devices made by Herschell. The museum's three band organs made by
Wurlitzer, a company once located nearby in North Tonawanda, was
recently joined by a large, magnificent Artizan band organ, another
North Tonawanda product.
Recognizing the important part carousel music played in the amusement
park industry, the HCFM purchased several years ago the surviving
music-roll perforating equipment and original tune masters (over 1500!)
that Wurlitzer once used to produce its band organ rolls. This is
particularly fitting because the Allan Herschell Company took over the
Wurlitzer band organ roll business briefly in 1945-1946, before selling
it to Ralph Tussing (T.R.T. Manufacturing Company). The museum not
only displays all the Wurlitzer artifacts but also operates the
equipment to produce music rolls.
To augment its display about music-roll making, the HCFM has just
purchased the one surviving perforator used by the B.A.B. Company of
Brooklyn, New York, which made the type of roll used by the museum's
new Artizan band organ. Museum management and staff, led by Rae
Proefrock and Doug Hershberger, plan to make the perforator, an Acme,
operational and to start producing the 8-to-the-inch, hard-to-find
B.A.B. music rolls.
As if this were not enough to keep HCFM staff and volunteers busy,
they have also inaugurated a new Kiddieland Testing Park Exhibit.
By the 1950s kiddie rides had become the top seller for Herschell,
replacing its tried-and-true carousel-making operation. The company
would test each ride before it was shipped out, often inviting
neighborhood kids in for a free ride. The Kiddieland Testing Park
Exhibit, featuring four refurbished kiddie rides, brings this history
to life for the descendants of those original riders.
At the end of July 2017, the COAA will be hosting another band organ
rally at Olcott Beach, Olcott, New York. These triennial Olcott
rallies are always very fun events. Since North Tonawanda is only a
35-minute drive from Olcott, this would be a great opportunity to check
out the new HCFM displays. See you there!
Irondequoit, New York