Cafesjian's Carousel
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Carousel at a Glance

Carousel at a Glance

Builder

Cafesjian's Carousel was built in 1914 by Philadelphia Toboggan Company. It is known as PTC 33 because it is the 33rd machine they made. The company employed German and other immigrants to do most of the carving and painting. The word "toboggan" in the company name is an old term for roller-coaster car, which was the company's original product. 

Size

The carousel is 50 feet across at the platform and 54 feet at the upper rim. It weighs 30 tons and is suspended from a center pole.

The carousel's name

The carousel is named for the late Gerard L. Cafesjian, who contributed the major share of the money needed to rescue it from auction, restore it and build its pavilion in Como Park.

Owner-operator

The non-profit community-based organization Our Fair Carousel, Inc. owns Cafesjian's Carousel and operates it with volunteers. The 501(c)(3) organization accepts contributions to help support ongoing maintenance and restoration.

History

The carousel spent its first 75 years at the Minnesota State Fair. In 1988 it was headed for a New York auction. Read about its dramatic rescue.

Restoration

One of only three operating carousels still in original paint, the carousel has been restored to its 1914 beauty. 

    Carver

    The chief carver of this carousel was David Lightfoot, an English immigrant who learned the craft working alongside PTC's other talented carvers. No records identified him as head of the carving shop, but his style characterizes PTC carousels created from 1913 to about 1916. In fact, his work was wrongly attributed to other notable carvers until OFC founder Peter Boehm solved "the mystery of the unknown carver." Read all about Lightfoot and his distinctive work in State Fair Carousel: Saving a Minnesota Treasure.

    David Lightfoot and his young son pose with "Smokey," carved by Lightfoot to closely resemble several distinctive horses on PTC carousels carved between 1913 and 1916

    David Lightfoot and his young son pose with "Smokey," carved by Lightfoot to closely resemble several distinctive horses on PTC carousels carved between 1913 and 1916

    These and other family photos helped identify Lightfoot as the head carver of Cafesjian's Carousel

    These and other family photos helped identify Lightfoot as the head carver of Cafesjian's Carousel