Dodgems, carousels, and candy floss: nowadays, we couldn't imagine a funfair without them. But let's take a step back in time, and see just how much has changed...
The tradition of gathering for both trade and entertainment dates right back to the dawn of civilization. But as the nineteenth century approached, the focus began to shift from commerce, to amusements. Jugglers, acrobats, musicians and magicians were a common sight, and funfair rides such as the carousel appeared - albeit in horse-drawn form.
In was in the Victorian era, though, that the fairground as we know it today really took shape. Amusements became big industry. Local fairs faded in comparison to the excitement of big, travelling shows; and whilst traditional stalls such as coconut shies and the 'Hammer Bell' strength test remain popular to this day, it was the advent of steam power that really brought a whole new level of fun to the fair. Check out this website.
In 1868, an engineer called Frederick Savage set the trend for mechanized fairground rides when he combined the steam engine with the humble carousel. Not much of a thrill, perhaps, but it was the first step towards the bigger, faster rides that make the funfair what it is today. There was, however, one catch. Whilst the Showman's Steam Locomotive of 1889 made it easier to transport these contraptions, the practicality of offering wood- and iron-construction funfair rides for hire was still hindered by their sheer weight and size. Once again, technology saved the day.
As lightweight building materials such as plastics and aluminium became more prevalent around the turn of the 20th century, it became possible for travelling showmen to offer their fairground rides for hire virtually anywhere they were needed. What's more, with modern electronic and hydraulic mechanism, set-up times have been reduced to only a few hours, making funfair hire a fun and easy way to liven up any event.
Here at Irvin Amusements, we're proud to say that we've been there since day one. Established in 1860, at the height of the funfair boom, we have experience bringing fairground rides, traditional Victorian funfair stalls and a range of other amusements to locations all across the UK.
Whether you're interested in dodgem hire, carousel hire, roller coasters, Ferris wheels, ghost trains, popcorn and candy floss stalls, or even whole fairground hire, we're confident that we can offer you a competitive quote, a class-leading service and, most importantly, over 150 years' worth of fun.
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