Already a talented woodcarver, he found employment in a furniture factory. Looking to further expand his horizons, he persuaded the owner of a pavilion at the popular amusement park Coney Island to install a carousel at his establishment. Working alone, Looff carved, painted and assembled his first carousel. Looff was the earliest and most successful of the Coney Island carousel builders.
Looff started in Coney Island, New York, and then moved his factory to Riverside, Rhode Island, where his showpiece carousel still operates. In 1910, Looff moved his family and factory to Long Beach, California, where he remained until his death in 1918.
Looff Carousels are known for these decorations:
- Sparkling mirrors
- Glittering jewels
- Gold and silver highlights
- Lavishly decorated animals
- Real horse hair tails