Project Description

Al G. Barnes Serpent Steam Calliope

(1921 – Joseph Bradbury Album # 36 – photo # 26B – Logansport, IN on August 10, 1921 – Arthur Loflin & son of Logansport in front of calliope – George Piercy photo)

Photo number two shows the steam calliope used on the Al G. Barnes Circus about 1916 to 1920. The exact date of origin is unknown. We do not know the builder nor where Barnes got the calliope. It is of course possible that it was on the show as early as 1911 when the Barnes show went out on rails as a full fledged wild animal show making daily stands. Bill Woodcock says that in 1916 the calliope was painted yellow with carvings done in gold leaf. In 1920 he says it was painted red with silver carvings, and there were red tin sunbursts tacked on the outside of the wheels. (1)

Chang Reynolds writes this was Barnes first Steam Calliope that has had a skyboard from a cage added on sometime after 1915. (2)

(1) Bandwagon, Vol. 3, No. 2 (Mar-Apr), 1959, pp. 7-8

(2) Bandwagon – Vol. 28, No. 5 (Sept- Oct) 1984, page 4