Salvatore Cherny


(Cernigliaro) (1879–1974)
used his furniture-carving skills and talents to become a carousel maker. He learned the crafts of furniture carving and cabinetmaking from master craftsmen in Palermo,Italy, where he was born. His interests lay beyond the shores of Italy, however, and at the age of twenty-three, despite suffering from acute seasickness, he venturedacross the Atlantic to America.He found a job at the E.Joy Morris Carousel Company in Philadelphia, where he was able to transfer his knowledge and talents in furniture carving to carouselmaking. Unfortunately, Cherny joined the company only a few months before it was sold, so he soon lost his job. Several months passed before he entered the gate of Gustav Dentzel’s (1846–1909) prosperous carousel company. Using the only English words he knew, Cherny asked Dentzel for a job as a carver in his factory.Interpreting Dentzel’s gruff response to mean no, Cherny walked away disappointed, only to find out a week later that he had actually been offered a job. Whileworking for Dentzel, Cherny contributed flamboyant Baroque relief carvings to many of the outside rows of carousel figures. His carvings of flowing ribbons, Ruben-esque cherubs, and dancing clowns are readily identifiable.Cherny kept busy carving carousel figures for the next sixty-five years. When business was slow at the Dentzel company, Cherny could be found working for twoother carousel companies, the Philadelphia Toboggan Company or Daniel Müller (1872–1951). During World War I, when carousel production was limited, he wasoccupied with the precision carving of hundreds of airplane propellers. After 1930, he moved to California and used his talents to train others in art and woodcarving.
See also
Carousel Art; Gustav Dentzel; Daniel Müller; Sculpture, Folk
Dinger, Charlotte.
Art of the Carousel.
Green Village, N.J., 1983.Fraley, Tobin.
The Carousel Animal.
San Francisco, 1983. ——.
The Great American Carousel.
San Francisco, 1994.Fried, Frederick.
A Pictorial History of the Carousel.
Vestal, N.Y., 1964.Mangels, William F.
Outdoor Amusement Industry.
New York, 1952.McCullough, Edo.
Good Old Coney Island.
New York, 1957.Stevens, Marianne.
Painted Ponies.
New York, 1986.Summit, Roland.
Carousels of Coney Island.
Rolling Hills, Calif., 1970.Weedon, Geoff.
Fairground Art.
New York, 1981