Friction toys are a type of wheeled mechanical toy that use an inertia or friction wheel to power their movement. The spring attached to the vehicle’s friction wheel is wound by rolling the toy backwards with its tires pressed against a solid surface. While some use a cog to hold or discharge the spring’s energy, most simply unwind as soon as pressure is released from the vehicle, sending the toy speeding forward.

The invention of friction toys is credited to D.P. Clark, one of the founding members of the Dayton Group, a loose association of Ohio-based toymakers. Clark patented a friction flywheel system in 1897, the same year he initially organized his Dayton Friction Toy Works. Clark’s design led to the company’s series of popular “Hill Climber” friction toys which were produced through the 1930s. The toys were originally made from tin and wood parts assembled and painted by hand, with models ranging from chauffeur-driven sedans to circus trains.

During the mid-20th century most major model car manufacturers, like Marx and Corgi, sold friction toy series. Hot Wheels created particularly extensive lines of plastic friction-powered cars which performed tricks like raising into a wheelie or emitting sparks. Friction vehicles weren’t limited to model cars either; Japanese companies like Cragstan also made friction-powered model planes.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Museum of Childhood

Museum of Childhood

Embrace your inner child on this website from the Victoria and Albert Museum, filled with high-quality images and i… [read review or visit site]



Most watched eBay auctions    

Antique Japan Lincoln Xl-500 Toy Car Friction Concept?retro? Batmobile FordTin Friction 1953 Cadillac Two Tone Hardtop Car Gama Germany1950’s Tn Cadillac Convertible 13.5” Japanese Tin Car With Box Nr1953 Cadillac 4-door Sedan 12” Tin Car By Gama NrHuge 25" Tin Friction 1965 Cadillac 4 Door Hardtop Car Nomura T.n. JapanVintage Yonezawa Japan~big 18" Cadillac~tin Toy Friction Car1932 Ford Hot Rod Roadster Japanese Tin Car By Bandai NrRare Tin Cream 1953 Indy Champion 63 Car Sanyo Tomy Yonezawa Japan Midget Racer1957 Bandai Japan-messerschmitt Automobile-near Mint-black-ships WorldwideVintage Marx Police Motorcycle Wind Up Tin Antique Toy With Side Car1940's1961 Cadillac 4-door Hardtop Japanese Tin Car By Yonezawa NrVintage 1952 Yonezawa Japan Tin Litho Friction Toy Children Truck Vintage Tin Friction Car 1955 Yonezawa Ford Fairlane 2 Door Hardtop 3 Color Fine1966 Buick Lesabre 4-door Hardtop 19” Japanese Tin Car By Atc Nr Meiwa Mkk Tin Frcition 1964 Ford Gas Turbine Semi Truck 18"Bandai Austin Healey Convertible Tin Friction Toy Car Made In Japan MintBest Vintage Asahi Atc Japan Tin Litho Friction Gm Fishbowl Bus Dc Transit 17"Vintage Sankei Battery Operated Tin Litho"baseball Player"-1950'sVintage Japan Tin Friction Car 1959 Bandai Chrysler Imperial Convertible Nr MintBandai Tin Friction 1960 Cadillac 4 Door Flat Top 11" Nice Condition No ReserveOriginal 1960's-vintage (marx) "tin Litho~sea Wolf" Submarine Toy! ~(8" Long)!Vintage 1930s Wyandotte 9.5" Friction Car Roadster Pressed Steel Red Toy Sedan Tamco Co Ltd.musical Toy "soundwagon" W/box 1960's- 1970'sVintage 1950's Marx Toys Stratoliner Skycruiser Tin Friction Twin Prop AirplaneCragston 1950's Gmc Auto Transport / Cars /built In Ramps/ Marx / Mar Toys /nrAntique Huki U S Zone Germany Tin Car Friction Toy / Donald Duck ZonerVintage Nomuratn Battery Operated Tin Litho"boy With Camera-1950'sVintage Tamco Red Vw Bus Musical Toy Soundwagon W/instructions In Original Box!Gilbert Battery Operated Toy 007 Aston Martin James Bond Car-1960's1959 Corvette Dealer Promo Friction Toy Chevy CheveroletVintage Tin Friction Ford Pick Up Truck Rosko Japan Ranchero Nomura Car W Box Mitsuhashi Tin Friction 1961 Plymouth Police Station Wagon 13" Very Good W/boxVintage Japan Large Tin Friction Car Carrier & 4 CarsIchiko Tin Friction 1964 Ford Thunderbird Conv 15" Very Good ConditionSss Shioji Tin Friction Cf White Freightliner Semi Truck 15" Near Mint With Box1950's Vintage Ford Fairlane Haji Friction Convertible Toy Works Light Blue/greyVintage 1960s Pressed Tin Litho Japan Kts Coca Cola Truck Toy FrictionVintage Tin Friction Japan Bandai Space Rocket Sparkling Racer Car Japan Toy Vintage Tin Friction Car 1964 Chrysler 4 Door Hardtop 8" Made Japan Bandai FineAntique Tin Toy Ichiko Chevrolet Corvair Police Patrol Car Japan FrictionVintage 1950's Japan Tin Litho Friction Navy Super Sabre F-100-c Airplane Toy6 Tin Friction 50's Windup Boats Speedboat Parts Restore Alps Mt San Atc JapanMilton Berle Car By Marx Box Only Vintage Tin Windup Up ToyVintage Metal Toy Friction Car - Marked JapanRare Vintage Vector Citroen Gs Large Plastic Car Model Retro Friction Toy Spain China 60s Mf 207 Convertible Friction Car - Mint/boxVintage Taiyo Japan Tin Friction Ford Twa Airport Service Car Toy Vehicle Sharp!1950's Tin Plate Friction Motor Kentucky Stage Coach W/driver Kokyu Japan 9" Toy1960s British Army Staff Car Tin Toy Car With Friction DriveVintage Tin Litho Friction F18096 U.s. Air Force Bk-270 War Airplane Nikko JapanVtg Mib Red China Wrecker Friction Toy Tin Tow Truck Mf 715German Tin Litho Wind Up Toy Car Space Age Vtg Antique Old Ship Rocket FrictionVintage Lucky Toy Blue Car & U-haul Trailer Friction Motor NipVintage Tin Friction Pan American Air Liner Airplane O/b Yonezawa & E.t. JapanVintage Antique Race Motorcycle Bike Tinplate Friction Retro Toy Japan 1960's Vintage 1950s Tin Toy Friction Mercedes Benz Car Bandai Japan AutomobileVintage Toy X-1800 Atomic Rocket Tin Friction Japan Trade Mark Modern ToysRare Vintage 1961 Plymouth Valiant Sedan Friction Bandai Japan Tin Toy Promo CarMarx Toys "learn To Drive Car"tin Litho Wind-up-1940's1950's Tin Plate Friction Motor Bonnet Fire Engine Truck & Ladder 7.5" Japan Toy