When automobiles made their first appearances, toy pedal cars soon followed. Pedal cars history goes back to the 1890s, when most were modelled from real cars on the road at that time.
By the turn of the century, all children wished for a pedal car but unfortunately their cost meant they were playthings for only the wealthy ones. Basic home made models were made for those children not so fortunate.
The very first pedal cars created at the end of the 1800s, were handmade wooden toys. From the 1930s, metal-bodied versions became popular. Modeled after the real cars then seen on the roads, these toys allow children to actually "drive" a car (well, on the sidewalks of course), just like an adult in a real car. Like Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars, these iconic pedal toys remain popular today, both with a new generation of children and with adult collectors.
The vintage pedal car interest in America has grown in the past few years to an almost unbelievable level. It is now one of the most desirable, fastest appreciating collectibles to be found today. As well as a children's, it has also now become an antique collectible.
There were five well known early manufacturers of pedal cars: American National, Gendron Iron Wheel Co., Steelcraft Wheel Goods, Garton Toy Company and Toledo Wheel. Deluxe pedal cars were bought by the wealthy in the 1920s and 1930s, making it very difficult to find one in really good condition. Some full size car collectors are selling their collections and going into pedal car collecting, since there is no maintenance to pedal cars.
Of course, the very early models are expensive to buy because of their history -much the same as any classic car- but there are now many models available in reproduction format, often built to the exact specification and quality of their counterpart models.
Pedal cars of the 1920s and 1930s are a big part of our history. They have moved from sidewalks into our living rooms for decorating, displays etc. They are nice to admire under the Christmas tree, in the dining room or in the hall. Wherever you place your pedal car, it will always attract the attention of others and become a focal point of conversation. Nowadays a lot of classic pedal cars are re-produced.
If you want to identify and want to know more about your car or want to find out its value, visit pedalcar.com for more info.
What's it worth? Take a look at this Pedal Car price guide: sold listings for a value indication.