Sells-Floto Circus, 1922


Elephants were not only an important part of the performance of a circus but were also very useful for providing heavy labor on the back lot. This image of 1922 shows an elephant of the Sells-Floto Circus pulling the canvas-covered cage wagon number 24 into position. Octagon cage wagon number 34 can be seen at right. The Sells-Floto Circus was formed in the early 1900s from a combination of the Floto Dog & Pony Show and the Sells Brothers Circus. It toured the United States as an independent circus until 1921, when it was incorporated into the American Circus Corporation. In September 1929 this corporation’s circuses were acquired by John Ringling, and by 1933 Sells-Floto ceased to exist. It enjoyed a brief revival in 1937−38 as part of the Al G. Barnes and Sells-Floto Combined Circus. The photograph is by Harry A. Atwell (1879–1957), an official photographer of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Last updated: March 21, 2014