28 May 2007

W.F. Mangels Work Still on View at Coney

I was watching my kid go round and round on this old horse-and-buggy kiddie ride at Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park in Coney Island when I noticed a small iron plaque at the bottom of every buggy. "W.F. Mangels Co. Coney Island New York" it read.

I found the idea of a manufacturing company that identified itself as being based in Coney Island (not Brooklyn, not New York City, but Coney Island) fascinating, so I looked into Mr. Mangels and this is what I found out (some of which I'm sure you smarties out there already know): He was William Fredrick Mangels, a German immigrant. He came to the United States in 1883 and founded his company in 1890. He quickly became a big wheel in the carousel biz, making most of the carousels found at Coney, including the recently shuttered B&B Carousel.

He is thought to be among the first in his line to create kiddie rides, which would explain the Deno attraction.

Mangels is most famous, however, for invented The Whip, which was introduced in 1914. The world went wild for The Whip; the rides were everywhere; some still exist. He died in 1958. His son Albert took over for a while until the company finally folded in the late '70s.

The horse and buggy ride still works fine. My son clanged the hell out of his bell.


cotterpin said...

I thought you might like to see the pics I took of "The Whipper" - a Mangels ride still very much in use at Knoebels Grove Amusement Park in PA.


Anonymous said...

Last night I was at our local county fair in Vero Beach, FL & was mesmerized by a children's ride that my son & godson rode. It was a very simple circle of fire trucks. It was owned & operated by the James E. Strates Shows of Orlando, FL and it was in incredible condition. I would guess that it was originally built in the 1950's-60's. It had the W.F. Mangels - Coney Island name on it & I did a search of "Mangels Coney Island" & this blog came up. Beautiful wooden seats and a simple design. If anyone knows anything about this ride or company I would be interested in learning more.

Thanks, Bob Schlitt Jr.

km hess said...


Please come round to see my numerous snaps of WF mangels' rides,,,all in phenom shape,,all in Ocean City MD! Link above!

Anonymous said...

I work for James E. Strates shows and i am the foreman of the mangle fire engine ride that you saw at Vero Beach. The ride was manufactured in 1936, we do our best to maintain the ride to its original condition