The late 19th century saw a huge interest in automobile development, even though the first documented self-powered vehicle was manufactured over 100 years earlier in 1769 by M Brezin
Karl Daimler was one of the earliest pioneers, who, together with William Steinway (the piano manufacturer) built petrol engines to power various kinds of vehicles and boats. Not well known is the fact that Steinway actually owned the Daimler Company.
Something I never knew – Benz and Daimler never met each other.
The first gasoline-powered car in America was built by the brothers Duryea, who converted an old horse buggy they bought for $70 or so. Since it only appeared to run for around 3 months, maybe it wasn’t really up to scratch. It was taken over by a museum over 25 years later.
Henry Ford got in the game in 1893 but didn’t complete his first car for another three years. He went on to form the Detroit Motor Company in 1899, but never sold a production car, and closed the company in 1901.
The 20s and 30s saw ride on cars and real automobiles become more popular, although toy car production stopped in the 40′s, with all steel needed for the war effort.
The popularity of ride on cars jumped again in the more prosperous 50s and 60s. They were cheaper and available of most major stores. They still copied real automobiles, and had a huge range of colors, designs and variations – soft-tops, great paintwork, white walled tired – the whole bit.
Although most ride on cars in the 60s were made of metal, the rise of plastics swiftly started to take over, with nearly all being made of plastic by the 70s.
Around these times, the cars were still made largely of metal, but the 60s, with plastics fast dominating manufacturing, really marked the end for these more traditional ride on cars. In the 70′s the plastic ride on car was introduced and the traditional steel pedal cars pretty much faded away.
Kids car manufacturing continued in plastic, but the design of the vehicles no longer captured the aesthetic of adult automobiles.
So, what next?
Although most ride on cars and toys are made of plastic, there are still some companies making old style replicas. However, as you’d expect, they aren’t going to be cheap! These days, too, we aren’t limited to ride on cars, but also fire engines, jeeps, bulldozers and planes.
Nowadays, ride on cars don’t cost a whole heap of money. And they are STILL one of the most popular toys around, so why don’t you go ahead and get one for your son or daughter? Or both?