Gendron Wheel Co. founded in Toledo, Ohio, produced toys and mainly pedal cars from 1872 to 1941.
In 1871, Pierre Gendron discovered a method that he was able to patent for making wire wheels. The process involved putting wire spokes in a metal rim and made Gendron a pioneer in the development of the wire wheel. Determined not to give up, Gendron began building baby carriages-with a lot of faith in his wheels, and in 1880 he organized the Gendron Iron Wheel Company, in Toledo.
In 1882, Gendron invented a stronger and lighter wheel, primarily used on bicycles. By 1920, in addition to wire wheels, Gendron was making baby carriages, tot's push cabs, and doll vehicles. With the increasing popularity of bicycle riding, Gendron manufactured a complete line of bikes.
In 1927 Gendron merged with the American National Corporation
In 1928, Gendron Wheel Company, now recognized as one of the leaders in pedal vehicles for kids, added pressed-steel toy trucks to their "Pioneer" line" of toys, utilizing the trade name of "Sampson". Sampson trucks are easily distinguished from American's Giant and Toledo Metal Wheel's Bull Dog trucks by the unique shape of its redesigned hood and radiator. The hood was designed to follow a more conventional radiator shape than the previous Mack profile radiator used by the other manufacturers. Sampson's near rectangular decal, with the word "Sampson", is affixed to the sides of the various service beds and a small Sampson decal is located at the top of the radiator.
All trucks, except the low end items, came equipped with hand-cranked noisemakers. In all probability, the American-National Company, after sharing the tooling for the trucks with Toledo Metal Wheel, sold the same tooling to Gendron in 1928. Gendron revised the design of the hood and radiator of the truck to give it a Gendron personality and continued to produce Sampson trucks until about 1930 or 1931.
In all likelihood, Gendron's steel trucks and airplanes were victims of the depression.
Gendron continued operations until 1938 when it was abandoned. A reorganization in 1940 changed Gendron's production to hospital equipment, and relocated to Perrysburg, Ohio.
In 1964 the Howe Sound Company of New York purchased Gendron. Today Gendron still remains in the business of making wheelchairs.
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