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In the year 1869, there were seven Ringling
Al was 16, Gus was 15, Otto was 11, Alf T.,
was 6, Charles was 4, John was 3, and Henry
was less than a year old.
Al, Gus, and Otto worked in their father’s
harness making shop.
At the age of 10, the boys started working for their
father. In the shop they made leather harnesses,
buggy whips, and horse collars. The boys helped by
cutting large pieces of leather into more narrow
strips. They also decorated horse drawn carriages.
When they were older
the boys had a small
circus in a barn.Their
circus had a couple of
kittens, some dogs,
several cats, and a
Al could make a whole
meal while walking
across a tightrope. He
could also balance a
breaking plow on his
chin, which weighed
By the time they
started the Ringling
Brothers Circus, Al
was 29,Gus was 28,
Otto 24, Alf T. 18 and
World Famous Circus
In the year 1890, their menagerie included
enough exotic animals to fill 30 animal
cages.Their circus also had 107 horses and
Circus World Museum
The Ringling Brothers
were important in
Wisconsin. Now there
is a museum for them
in Baraboo, WI.