Roland Summit

Author and historian of carousel horses and carvers and co-founder of the National Carousel Association

Roland Summit
Interview Date:
January 11, 2022


An interview with Dr. Roland Summit, author, historian, expert on carousels and carousel horse carvers, and founding member of the National Carousel Association. Beginning in 1959, Roland and his wife Jo collected, restored, and preserved hundreds of wooden carousel horses, many carved by old-school artisans working in Coney Island's famous factories on West 8th Street. In 1970, Roland and Jo wrote a groundbreaking history about Coney Island carousels, focusing on the work of Marcus Illions and Charles Looff. He described carousels as an "historic art form" and a "popular expression of creative genius." That same year, Jo and Roland formed Flying Horses, a company dedicated to studying and sharing the history of the carousel. He is currently at work on a full history of the Illions carousel family of Coney Island.