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Fire Truck Pedal Car.

edal cars remain a symbol of childhood independence, a time when life's biggest achievement was pedaling to the end of the block. The first pedal cars followed on the heels of the automobile's introduction to the American public early in this century. Fashioned after the open touring cars of the day, turn-of-the-century models were constructed of heavy sheet metal and tough hardwood, then detailed with bright enamel paint and leatherette upholstery. Early pedal cars, like their full-size counterparts, were boxy in appearance and featured open, wire-spoked wheels.

Pedal Car
Hardware stores, mail-order catalogues, and toy stores all sold pedal cars, which could be purchased for around $3 - about the same price one might have paid for a tricycle at the time. To spur sales, one 1907 catalogue declared, "the juvenile automobile combines two of the most essential features for the child, pleasure and exercise, the natural result of which is a clear mind and a healthful body."

As the years rolled on, increasingly complex models appeared on the market, some with headlights, starting cranks, and horns. Garton produced child-size versions of such autos as the Packard and the Pierce-Arrow. By 1919, fire trucks and sports cars like the Barney Oldfield Racer had also become available, both in the same boxy, open-wheeled style of the earlier pedal cars.

Pedal Car Book
The golden age of car began in the 1920s and continued up until the Second World War. During the Roaring Twenties, designers competed to build models that looked more like miniature vehicles than children' s toys. Steel rims and wire wheels were replaced by hubcaps and rubber tires. Running boards and fenders began to appear, as well as throttles, spark controls, turn signals, windshields, radiator caps, luggage racks, and gear shifts. One manufacturer promised toy-store owners, "Show the child an auto equipped like Dad's, and the sale is yours." Fire trucks, race cars, and working dump trucks complete with heavy-duty steel springs shared the spotlight with sporty roadsters and sedans.

The streamlined Super Charge Deluxe with its sleek, flowing lines, chrome side exhaust pipes, windswept chrome radiator ornament, and Goodyear whitewall tires was one design introduced that year. Models included the Chrysler Imperial Airflow in baked opalescent blue enamel, a slightly smaller Plymouth intended for children ages two to six, and a bright-red Pontiac Chief Auto Deluxe fire truck, complete with a hood-mounted bell and pull cord.

artime restrictions curtailed production in the 1940s, but by 1950 a new line of pedal cars hit the sidewalks. The most noticeable change, apart from stylistic modifications, was the introduction of the one- piece steel body. Stamped and molded bodies proved more economical to produce, but distinctive details of previous cars were sacrificed. With few exceptions, both the length and the weight of the pedal cars were reduced in the 1950s. Gone, too, were leatherette interiors, gear shifts, and dash controls. Yet pedal cars continued to mirror popular full-sized automobiles, with the classic fire truck remaining the most popular.

Fire Truck
The Classic Fire Truck Pedal Car
The Classic Fire Truck features all metal construction for durability, lead free powder coat paint for extended wear and tear, and Dura last 5/8" rubber tires for increased traction and a smooth ride, a five position adjustable pedal drive that will grow with your child . Length 43" Width 17" Height 24" Wheels 8" diameter, chrome hub caps, ball bearing, windshield: black reinforced. Hood ornament: chrome bell with fire hat and pull string. Ladders: oak. Hand rails and Fire Hose: Steelwelded, rubber hose.

The Classic Fire Truck Pedal Car.
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