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Posts Tagged ‘antique shooting gallery’

Step Right UpAfter Hurricane Sandy, Coney Island got lucky when a rare vintage 1940’s Mangels shooting gallery from Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park was brought out of storage, restored, and installed at Coney Island USA’s Surf Avenue storefront. As far as we know, it’s the only one of its kind in operation that is open to the public. Since many shooting galleries were sold for scrap iron during World Wars I and II, you’re more likely to come across cast-iron and sheet-metal targets in the shape of birds and beasts, cowboys and Indians, and soldiers and torpedo boats in folk art collections than as a game in an amusement park.

Richard and Valerie Tucker’s passion for collecting figural cast iron began in the`early 1980s with the acquisition of a row of doves from a William F. Mangels’ gallery manufactured in Coney Island. Thirty years later, they own hundreds of shooting gallery targets from a variety of manufacturers. Step Right Up! Classic American Target and Arcade Forms is a sumptuous coffee table art book with more than 225 color images of American and European targets along with a sampling of carnival banners, signs and game pieces. As the first and only book on the subject, the volume is valuable to collectors and of special interest to fans of carnival art and antiques.

In addition to Mangels, the 144-page book has chapters on C.W. Parker of Kansas, William Wurfflein of Philadelphia, the John T. Dickman Company of Los Angeles and Chicago manufacturers Evans, Hoffmann, Mueller, and Smith, as well as miscellaneous targets and a few European targets. Essays by specialists on the manufacturers supplement illustrations from the Tuckers’ archive of catalogs, trade cards and other ephemera which are a great resource since the majority of targets have no trade marks.

Step Right Up! Richard and Valerie Tucker

Card Suits by WF Mangels. Private Collection. Photo: Kimberly Gavin/Kimberly Gavin Photography

One of our favorite target makers is C.W. Parker, who started out as a shooting gallery operator and soon got into the business of supplying traveling carnivals with a wide variety of attractions. Parker had a showman’s flair for borrowing design ideas from his fellow manufacturers and fashioning them into commercially successful shooting galleries and carousels.

No complete Parker galleries are known to exist or even to have been photographed, says Bob Goldsack, a Parker historian who wrote the book’s chapter on the self-proclaimed “Carnival King.” Parker’s highly detailed and mechanized targets included owls and eagles with flapping wings, whippets chasing rabbits, and the now politically incorrect circus animals, Indians, and Lincolnesque figure holding a sign that says “Hit Me” in a gallery advertised as “A New Political Shooting Gallery.”

A lecture and book signing by the authors will be held at the American Folk Art Museum, 2 Lincoln Square, Columbus Ave at 66th St, in Manhattan, on December 18 at 6pm. Admission is free of charge.

Step Right Up! Classic American Target and Arcade Forms by Richard and Valerie Tucker. Schiffer Publishing, 2014. Hardcover, $45

Step Right Up! Richard and Valerie Tucker

Indian by CW Parker. Photo: Kimberly Gavin/Kimberly Gavin Photography

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Mangels Shooting Gallery

1940s Mangels Shooting Gallery, Coney Island USA. August 3, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

The restoration of the 1940′s Coney Island shooting gallery that ATZ wrote about earlier this year was completed in August and boy is it a beauty. Located next-door to Coney Island USA’s main building, the vintage gallery brings an authentic, old-timey ambiance to that part of Surf Avenue. It’s the third shooting gallery to debut in Coney Island this season as a replacement for equipment and businesses damaged by flooding from Superstorm Sandy.

Made in Coney Island by William F. Mangels, it’s also the only publicly operating shooting gallery of this vintage that we’re currently aware of. There are a few in private collections. Very few. A collector who contacted ATZ, said he had installed one in his home for family and friends to play. Another gallery is used as a decorative piece at a bar in Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio, where it was discovered when the restaurant owner was renovating. No shooting allowed!

The gallery restored by Coney Island USA is on loan from Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, where it was uncovered during post-Sandy renovations. Intact Mangels shooting galleries are exceptionally rare since most were long ago sold for scrap metal or broken up by antique dealers who sell the targets individually. In May, a Mangels cast-iron gallery with over 150 targets from the Elli Buk Collection sold at auction for $60,000 after competitive bidding.

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Mangels Shooting Gallery

1970s Photo of Shooting Gallery Under the Wonder Wheel Made by W.F. Mangels Co., Coney Island. Photograph © 1975 by Charles Denson

A rare vintage 1940’s Coney Island shooting gallery that used to be under the Wonder Wheel is about to come out of retirement and make a comeback on Surf Avenue. Last night Dick Zigun, artistic director of Coney Island USA, announced in a series of tweets that the iconic shooting gallery, which had operated for many decades next to Spook-A-Rama on Jones Walk, would reopen at 1214 Surf Avenue.

Zigun said that the historic shooting gallery will be a “major working exhibit/game fronting CIUSA’s new Art/Culture gallery formerly Denny’s Ice Cream.” The nonprofit arts organization bought Dennis Corines’ ice cream shop and building next door to Coney Island USA’s headquarters last March for $1.3 million. Unfortunately, Denny’s was one of the first casualties of Superstorm Sandy in Coney Island’s amusement area. The building had to be gutted and there was talk of replacing the ruined ice cream machines with a paintball game, mini-golf or a roller rink. The idea of using the Mangels shooting gallery in storage at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park came up when it had to be moved during renovations after the storm.

Pictured above in a 1975 photograph by Coney Island History Project director Charles Denson, the gallery has cast-iron targets in the shape of soldiers, paratroopers and torpedo boats. It was manufactured in Coney Island by William F. Mangels, the inventor of such early 20th century thrill rides as the Whip and the Tickler, and the builder of the mechanism for the B & B Carousell. Researching a story on antique carnival pieces for Games Magazine a few years ago, we learned from a collector that Mangels held the most patents on shooting gallery targets. From the early 1900s until 1969, well after other manufacturers had gone out of business, his shop on 8th Street produced a wide variety of targets.

Coney Island shooting gallery target

Morphy Auctions

Intact Mangels shooting galleries are exceptionally rare since most were long ago sold for scrap metal or broken up by antique dealers. Last April, ATZ wrote about this Mangels’ paratrooper target up for auction in Pennsylvania. It appears identical to the large paratrooper seen in Charles Denson’s photo. The price realized for the single target was $1,020. In 2009, an intact Mangels mechanical shooting gallery installed at Duke Farms and used by heiress Doris Duke during parties at her home sold at auction for $43,200!

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19th century Mangels mechanical shooting gallery

This late 19th century Mangels mechanical shooting gallery owned by Doris Duke and installed at Duke Farms sold at auction last summer for $43,200. Photo via Millea Bros Ltd

William F. Mangels, the Coney Island-based inventor of such early 20th century thrill rides as the Whip and the Tickler, also held the most patents on shooting gallery targets. From the early 1900s until 1969, well after other manufacturers had gone out of business, Mangels’ Coney Island shop turned out cast-iron and sheet-metal targets in the shape of birds and beasts, stars and moons, cowboys and Indians, and soldiers and torpedo boats.

In the early 1900s, shooting gallery operators could select from 25 different kinds of targets for “The Slide” –a chain slide mechanism– all for a dollar a piece. Ducks with moving wings could be purchased for an extra fifty cents! Today, collectors are willing to pay $200 to $1,000 per target, depending on the condition and rarity of the figure. Last June, an intact Mangels mechanical shooting gallery installed at Duke Farms and used by heiress Doris Duke during parties at her home sold at auction for $43,200! It featured a moving clown, ducks, squirrels, birds, stars and circular spinning targets. The late 19th century shooting gallery was stamped “W.F.M. Co. 389” and bears the characteristic plaque “Made by W.F. Mangels Co. – Coney Island – New York.”

ATZ can’t let February go by without honoring the memory of this amusement industry innovator’s birth. Born February 1, 1867, Mangels was best known as a developer and supplier of amusement rides and the mechanisms for carousels and roller coasters After he died on February 11, 1958 at age 92, his family carried on the business for another decade. The Coney Island History Project inducted Mangels into the Coney Island Hall of Fame and some of his kiddie rides can still be enjoyed by visitors to Coney Island’s Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. Keep an eye out for the rides that bear the Mangels plaque.

Mangels Pony Cart Ride

Mangels Pony Cart Ride at Deno's Wonder Wheel Park, Coney Island. The Mangels plaque can be seen to the left of the numeral 8. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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