Thoughts of childhood may render peaceful memories of idle, free days, some of which included puttering around on a cycle of some sort, similar to the ones housed at the Delaware County Historical Society.
One is a tricycle from 1890 is constructed completely of wood from its wheels and spokes to its seat and handle. Another comes from almost a century later but was also popular, the Radio Flyer Row Cart enjoyed by those of smaller stature and much energy.
The red tricycle is representative of the cycles of its time. The way they moved were by pushing pedals attached to the front wheel.
The seat is worn from many moments of use and the structure itself is quite an artifact, fragile and requiring delicate attention.
The Radio Flyer Row Cart was donated to DCHS in April 2013 by Jayne Garrison, who found the toy at either a flea market or an antique store.
These particular cart wagons were designed in the 1980s, simulating the Irish Mail.
The Irish Mail had been created almost 80 years earlier when Hugh Hill came up with the idea on his way home to Indianapolis. Named after the fastest train of its day, the Irish Mail had a long rectangular seat with four wheels and a handle and were propelled by giving it a good push. More than 1.5 million Irish Mails were sold in a 20-year period.
The Radio Flyer Row Cart had a similar design to the Irish Mail and was created in the same decade that its company became known as Radio Flyer, due to the popularity of its little red wagon.
Radio Flyer began after its founder, Antonio Pasin, came to the United States from Italy. Here, he started a cabinet-making business and also enjoyed creating other items, such as a wooden wagon he called the Liberty Coaster. Those he made at night and sold them during the day and shortly afterwards, he was no longer focused on making cabinets.
Both toys are housed at the home of Delaware County Historical Society, located at 408 Avenue of the States in Chester. It is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Friday; 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday; and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Parking is free in lot behind the building or across the street in the city’s municipal lot.
For more information or for ways to get involved, please call 610-359-0832.
These two wheeled child toys are among the collection at Delaware County Historical Society.