- Despite revisions in design and a changing and expanding market,
three basic styles remained intact over the years.
- The Philadelphia Style is represented by elegance and realism,
with a touch of fancy, as incorporated in the Dentzel and the
Philadelphia Toboggan Company horses. Philadelphia style horses were
realistic. From the veins carved into perfectly shaped heads to the
careful positioning of each well-formed leg, the wooden reproductions
mimicked real animals. Natural poses captured the toss of a mane or a
powerful gallop with the faithfulness of a stop-action camera. If it
were possible, the carvers would have added the smell of the stable and
a high-pitched whinny to their creations.
- The Coney Island Style encompasses the spirited carvings of Looff
and his proteges, M. C. Illions, Charles Carmel, Solomon Stein, and
Harry Goldstein. The horses were flamboyant and stylized. Often,
unusual objects such as cherubs, eagles and roses peeked from under
saddles or arose from painted hides. Coney Island animals exhibited
the most fanciful or romantic ideals. Skilled craftsman took
ornamentation to the edge of reality.
- The Country Fair Style was usually a simpler styled animal. These
country cousins traded cumbersome adornment for simplicity and greater
mobility. Fantasy Island's representative Spillman Engineering horse,
though in the country fair style, departs from this simplicity and is a
superb example of their craftsmanship. This horse was carved for a
permanent park installation and not the usual traveling carousel.