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C.W. Parker Amusement Company records

1890-1955
 Collection
Accession: 2730

Abstract

The C.W. Parker Amusement Company produced various amusement devices, such as shooting galleries and ferris wheels, but was best known for its carousels named "Carry-Us-Alls." When the company was founded in 1894 by C.W. Parker (1864-1932) in Abilene, Kansas, it was the only carousel manufacturer not on the east coast. This small collection of records documents the professional life of C.W. Parker, the "Amusement King" and his company. The collection comprised of textual material, including financial records, correspondence with other manufacturing vendors, and publications regarding the company's progress.

Dates

  • 1890-1955

Creator

Extent

5 Linear Feet

Physical Description

Typed and handwritten papers. ~100 photographic prints : b&w ; 4 x 5 in. ~100 negatives : b&w ; 4 x 5 in. 7 reels (100 ft.) : si., col ; 16 mm. 1 sound disc : analog, 78 rpm ; 12 in. 1 sound disc : analog, 78 rpm ; 6 in. 4 miniature carousel horses. Wooden and metal carousel decorations. Metal company plates.

Biographical Note

Charles Wallace Parker (1864-1932) was the "Amusement King" of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. After purchasing his first shooting gallery, Parker became interested in amusement devices and constructing newer and better versions. Parker built his first carousel in 1892, and two years later, in 1894 in Abilene, Kansas, he started his company, which was initially named the Parker Carnival Supply Company. In 1896 the company was renamed C.W. Parker Amusement Company. C.W. Parker married Louisa Westrup (1870-1968), and the two of them had six children. Their son, Paul D. Parker (1898-1992), eventually ran the company until 1955.

Historical Note

The C.W. Parker Amusement Company produced various amusement devices, such as shooting galleries and ferris wheels, but was best known for its carousels named "Carry-Us-Alls." When the company was founded in 1894 by C.W. Parker (1864-1932) in Abilene, Kansas, it was the only carousel manufacturer not on the east coast. Most carousels manufactured were portable, but five large carousels, known as park machines, were built. Only one of these park machines is still in existence in Portland, Oregon. In 1911 after property line disputes with the city of Abilene, the C.W. Parker Amusement Company moved to Leavenworth, Kansas. World War I caused a shortage of supplies for the carousel manufacturers, but the C.W. Parker Amusement Company endured through the Great Depression up until 1955.

Scope and Contents

This small collection of records documents the professional life of C.W. Parker, the "Amusement King" and his company. The C.W. Parker Amusement Company was the leading amusement device manufacturing company in the early twentieth century. The collection comprised of textual material, including financial records, correspondence with other manufacturing vendors, and publications regarding the company's progress. There are also graphic materials, including images and films of the famous Parker carousels and amusement devices, company employees, and the Parker family members. The C.W. Parker records collection also possesses unique physical objects, including metal and wooden miniature carousel horses.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions on access; this collection is open for research.

Negatives (Box 3) and film material (Film Cans 1-3) are located in remote storage. Please contact staff 48 hours in advance of research visit at askhagley@hagley.org

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
C. W. Parker Amusement Company records
Status:
Author:
Jamie Bressmer
Date:
2021
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA
302-658-2400