It's rumored that, if you look closely, you'll see tears of joy in the eyes of our carousel's maintenance technicians when you get them talking about motors and cranks and all of the other greasy things that keep our carousel turning!

They take pride in their job, which is quite different than keeping a '57 Chevy on the road. There are no carousel supply houses where you can go to buy new shafts and gears for an '09 Looff. So, the maintenance tasks often involve designing and fabricating parts before they can be replaced!

Mike the Maintenance Guy Mike preparing to
install a new crank
Both Motors
New motor (left) and
old motor (right)
The original motor is still located in the center surround area. It drove the carousel through a drive belt that was connected to an idler wheel, and shifted to a drive wheel by a large lever when it was time to start the carousel.

This motor served from 1909 until 1987, when it was replaced with a D.C. motor that could be operated by a switch, eliminating the need for the lever and drive belt. The original motor still works, and could be put back into operation if ever there was a reason to do so.

A ring gear is driven by the D.C. motor's drive shaft and the attached drive gear. The ring gear is attached to the upper carousel assembly, which rotates when the motor turns. Power to the 180 light bulbs that turn with the carousel is provided through a set of carbon brushes that rub against a copper commutator.

Ring Gear
Ring Gear
Idler Drive Wheels
Original Drive Wheel (Left) and Idler Wheel (Right)
The original idler wheel and drive wheel are still in position inside the center surround, and still lined up with the old motor. All that would be required to activate them is to hook up a drive belt and disconnect the new motor from the ring gear.

During 2004, four of the cranks were replaced with newly designed and fabricated replacement parts. This turns out to be a large project because all three horses riding on each crank have to be removed. It should be worth it, though. We're expecting the new cranks to last another hundred years!

Old and New Cranks
Old crank (above) and new crank (below)

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