C.W. Parker Amusement Co. collection
The C.W. Parker Amusement Co. collection contains materials from 1892 through 1956, with the bulk of the papers dated between 1900 and 1928. This collection contains business cards, envelopes, order forms, letterhead, blank leases, a blank agreement of payment, original and reproduced letters, tickets, articles, logos, ride descriptions, a flier, a postcard, and other ephemera. Additional scope and content information can be found in the Contents List section of this finding aid.
The C.W. Parker Amusement Co. collection has been arranged into four series. The collection is housed in one archival document box and one oversized folder.
- 1896 - 1956
- Majority of material found within 1900 - 1928
Conditions Governing Use
0.1 Linear Feet (1 box, 1 oversized folder)
The C.W. Parker Amusement Company was a Kansas-based amusement rides manufacturer from 1892 until 1955.
Charles W. Parker entered the amusements business in 1882, establishing a lucrative shooting gallery next door to a saloon in Abilene, Kansas. After Parker purchased a second-hand Armitage-Herschell carousel in 1892, he officially founded the C.W. Parker Amusement Company in Abilene. The company expanded rapidly, and by 1900 manufactured a wide variety of amusement rides and attractions; these included Parker’s signature “Carry-Us-All” (a name he created as a derivative of “carousel”), shooting galleries, military band organs, cylinder pianos, carved wagon show fronts, mechanical and electrical shows, and the railroad cars which transported the company’s products. Parker believed that carnivals should be clean, moral, and instructive as well as entertaining, and his carnival companies bore the distinctive “Parker’s Seal of Cleanliness” stamp. By 1908, the C.W. Parker factories claimed to be “the largest establishment of its kind in the United States, devoted exclusively to the manufacture of amusement devices.” In 1911, the company moved to a bigger factory in Leavenworth, Kansas, where it remained in operation until 1955.
Over the course of its existence, the C.W. Parker Amusement Company produced approximately 1,000 carousels. As of 2017, fewer than 20 of these carousels are still in operation.
System of Arrangement
Series I: Administrative papers, c. 1896-1920 and n.d.
Series II: Correspondence, 1927-1928 and n.d.
Series III: Descriptions of rides, n.d.
Series IV: Miscellaneous/ephemera, 1912-1956 and n.d.
- Finding Aid to the C.W. Parker Amusement Co. Collection, 1896-1956
- Nicole Pease
- 18 May 2017
- Description rules
Part of the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong Repository
One Manhattan Square
Rochester NY 14607 USA