Charles I. D. Looff

Charles I. D. Looff

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Charles I. D. Looff

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Charles I. D. Looff was a master carver and builder of hand-carved carousels and amusement rides in America. Looff built the first carousel at Coney Island in 1876. During his lifetime, he manufactured over 50 carousels,twelve amusements parks, several roller coasters and Ferris wheels, and built California's famous Santa Monica Pier. He became famous for creating the unique Coney Island style of carousel carving.His carousel museum is now located at 2500 Long Beach Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90806.

From Germany to Brooklyn

Charles Looff was born in Bramstedt, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany on May 24, 1852 as Carl Jurgen Detlef Looff. He learned the art of woodcarving and immigrated to the United States, arriving in New York City on August 14, 1870. Settling on Leonard Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, he found work as a carver at a furniture factory. Working part-time as a ballroom dance instructor, Looff met and married Anna Dolle in 1874. After working in the furniture factory all day, he took scraps of wood home to his apartment and began carving them into carousel animals. Young Looff assembled his wooden horses and animals onto a circular platform and created his first merry-go-round. In 1876, he installed his ride at Vandeveer's Bathing Pavilion at West Sixth Street and Surf Avenue. This was Coney Island's first carousel.

Charles Looff opened a factory at 30 Bedford Avenue and built two more carousels, doing all the carving himself. He located one at Feltman's Beer...
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