The Man Who Saves Carousel Horses from the Glue Factory
In an age of 100-mph roller coasters and high-tech amusement parks, one master craftsman carries the torch – ’round and ’round – for a dying breed of carousel carvers.
Photos and GIF by Ariana Michelle Igneri
It’s a serene November morning in Upstate New York and Bob Yorburg is standing in front of a massive, unfinished wooden lion.
Yorburg, 61, is one of the last professional carousel carvers in the U.S. He puts down his chisel, picks up a remote control, and scans through a CD of carousel music, band organ arrangements and amusement park songs from the early 1900s, searching for the perfect track. The silent room suddenly erupts in a fantastic clamor as pipes, cymbals and bells trot out of the speakers. The lion seems to spring to life, and Yorburg – his rosy cheeks puffing out with a smile – tosses the remote on his workbench and throws up his hands. “If that doesn’t get you going, I don’t know what will,” he says, laughing. “You just gotta carve to that.”