Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
An exhibition on the wildly fun amusement park rides & games of the 1900s, and the genius mechanic who designed them.
An exhibition on the wildly fun amusement park rides & games of the 1900s, and the genius mechanic who designed them.
197 backers pledged $18,509 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

William Mangels: Amusing the Masses on Coney Island & Beyond project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

$18,509

197

Our project—at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York-- aims to build an exhibition to celebrate the life of William F. Mangels (one of our most fascinating permanent residents), the man who, from his Coney Island factory a century ago, designed and built more amusement park rides, carousels, and shooting galleries than any one else. A German immigrant who came to New York City as a teenager, Mangels was immediately drawn to the magnetic energy and adventure of Coney Island. He was an insatiable tinkerer and idea man, and his energetic and imaginative mind quickly absorbed the frenetic buzz of the entertainment mecca. In no time, Mangels began churning out designs for rides and games the likes of which the world had never seen before. From his turn-of-the-century workshop in the middle of the Coney Island madness, Mangels designed and built some of the most innovative and exciting amusement rides in existence. His mechanics were top-notch, his designs were state-of-the-art, and his workshop was known for being able to build and repair absolutely any ride or game on Coney Island.

His original rides are legendary – The Whip, The Tickler, The Wave Pool. Even a ride called, amazingly, The Human Roulette Wheel? Mangels’ imagination was unmatched, and he had the mechanical prowess to not only dream these amusements up, but make them a reality, too. And his tweaks of existing rides – like the carousel horse – which he transformed from a static carving into a galloping horse--were marked by genius. He soon became the king of Coney Island, “The Wizard of Eighth Street, and the amusement park industry today owes a great deal to the legend that is William Mangels. In recognition of his great accomplishments, he has been elected a member of the Coney Island History Project Hall of Fame and the Hall of Fame of the International Association of Amusement Park and Attractions.

In the beautiful Historic Chapel at Green-Wood, we plan to put on an exhibition befitting the sensational William F. Mangels and historic Coney Island. “William F. Mangels: Amusing the Masses on Coney Island and Beyond” will be a celebration of Mangels groundbreaking life and work – featuring real pieces of Mangels rides and games – a carousel horse, a 22nd-foot-long shooting gallery, actual Whip cars and original sketches, in Mangels’s hand, of The Tickler. Also on display will be historic photographs, videos on Mangels rides in action, personal correspondence and documents of Mangels', even an original signs from Mangels’ Coney Island workshop. In short, we want to transform our 1911 Historic Chapel, where the exhibition will be held, into a Coney Island carnival.

But we need your help to do it! We have been collecting Mangels material for years now, and have reached out Mangels collectors all over the country to convince them to loan their pieces, many one-of-a-kind, for this exhibition. But we need the funds to ship those items. We also need to pay for installing, lighting and displaying the pieces in our chapel for this unique exhibition. If we are able to raise more money, we hope to borrow even more pieces of Mangels memorabilia, including framed and matted illustrations and blueprints drawn by Mangels himself – from Columbia University’s archives. We want to tell the story of this remarkable mechanic who changed the face of Coney Island and brought delight (and a bit of chaos) to Americans (and Canadians and Parisians and the English) for decades. Mangels made it his life’s work to amuse and surprise. Help us amuse even more masses with our exhibition this fall!

Risks and challenges

Mounting a full-scale exhibition can be hard work. But the biggest challenge to this exhibition will be working with independent collectors of Mangels materials from all over the country, and getting their original material to Green-Wood in a timely and safe manner. If funded successfully, we can compensate and fund the transfer of these original materials with ease. Should some collectors back out of the exhibition and decide not to lend materials, we will have to pursue other sources of material. Some pieces, such as cars from The Whip, and a large shooting gallery, have already been acquired by Green-Wood.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

Ask a question

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Our unending gratitude! Plus recognition in the Green-Wood enewsletter, blog, and exhibition website; and bi-monthly email updates, with photos, on the exhibition's progress.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    12 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Limited-edition "Amusing the Masses" postcard, designed by local NYC artists and signed by the exhibition curator.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    29 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Limited-edition "Amusing the Masses" tote bag - perfect for the Coney Island beach this summer!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    58 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Day pass to your choice of Coney Island's Wonder Wheel amuseument park (5 available), or Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey (4 available). Plus the "Amusing the Masses" tote bag.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 8 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Set of two pocket notebooks featuring images of Mangels' patent drawings for his extraordinary inventions: choose from the carousel horse, Electric Target, Merry-go-Round, or Pleasure Railway.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    6 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    High-quality color print of circa-1950 ad for a Mangels kiddie amusement park ride. Choose from The Whip, Speed Boats, Galloping Horse Carousel, or the Pony Carts. Print approx 11 x 15.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    24 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Reproduction blueprint drawing of "Mangel's Miniature Electric Railroad," circa 1930. Print approx 24 x 20.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    9 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    Set of four circa-1950 color ads for Mangel's Whip, Speed Boats, Galloping Horse Carousel and Pony Carts rides.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    5 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $600 or more About $600

    Exclusive twilight tour for you and fifteen guests of Green-Wood Cemetery and its Coney Island-related sites, led by Green-Wood historian and exhibition curator Jeff Richman.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $925 or more About $925

    A private tour for you and three friends of Green-Wood's century-old archives and our Historic Collections - documents, photographs and historic objects related to the history of the cemetery and the 570,000 buried. Co-led by the Green-Wood Archivist and Historian.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,250 or more About $1,250

    Genuine cast-iron duck from a Mangels shooting gallery, circa 1930 - with authentic wear and tear from use at amusement parks across the country! Plus your name on an exhibition donor wall and printed in the program. Item approx 8" across.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    Exclusive after-hours tour of you and twenty guests of Green-Wood Cemetery and it's Coney Island-related sites. Private reception at Green-Wood will follow, featuring goodies and refreshments from Coney Island Brewing.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Private tour of Coney Island for you and ten guests on the Green-Wood trolley, conducted by Charles Denson, Director of the Coney Island History Project.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000

    Exclusive invitation for you and twenty guests to attend a pre-opening sneak peak of the exhibition on the evening of Friday, September 5th. Meet the exhibition curator and other exciting Brooklyn movers and shakers who made this exhibition possible. Catered reception.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (30 days)