Harned's Miniature Circus

Robert W. Harned was born at Hugea Springs, TN in 1894. As a boy his father operated a merry-go-round in Nashville, TN, and used to take him to the circus whenever it came to town. After serving in the Marines during World War I he moved to Akron, OH, where he met his wife Ruth and worked as a production manager. During his evenings and weekends he began carving circus performers and animals based on his boyhood recollections.

Robert spent over 22 years and thousands of hours carving his circus from the thick ends of orange crates, on a scale of 1/2 inch to the foot. Each one of the performers and animals was hand painted and had its own pose and personality.

Although never completed, his "Greatest Little Show on Earth" was exhibited in downtown Akron for many years and consisted of:

  • Four big-top tents
  • Over 300 performers and support crew
  • 400 wild and trained animals
  • 50 clowns
  • 45 circus wagons
  • Two complete 11 foot long circus trains
  • A fifty-four foot street parade
  • Six bands


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