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 The toys were originally made from tin and wood parts assembled and painted by hand, with models ranging from chauffeur-driven sedans to circus trains.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]

The Wheelmen

The Wheelmen

This elegant tribute to turn-of-the-century bicycling includes memorabilia, photographs, and an index of 3140 bicyc… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Rare Japanese Tin Litho Champions Racer In Rare Agajanian BoxVintage 1956 Ford Ranchero Pickup Toy Truck Tin Friction Bandai CollectibleAntique Vintage 1950s Marusan Toys Kosuge Tin Friction Ford Toy Car & Box1954 Chevrolet Belair 11” Japanese Tin Car By Linemar Nr1950''s/60's Tin Friction Motorcycle W Police Driver Motorbike Sato Japan1959 Buick 2-door Hardtop 11” Tin Car By Iy/nomura NrTin Friction 50's Mercedes Benz 300 Sl Race Car Convertible #4 Bandai Japan Vintage Corgi Toys Hillman Husky With Friction Motor1959 Buick Hardtop 11” Japanese Tin Car By Ichiko Nr1966 Ford Mustang Fastback Gt 2-door Coupe W/original Box By Tn NrTin Friction 1957 New Ford Convertible Car Huge Fins!! Htc JapanVintage Bandai Tin Friction Car 1960 Cadillac White Made In Japan Toy Car 11.5"Bandai Tin Friction 1968 Ford Mustang Gt Fastback 13" Near Mint With BoxMarusan Japanese 1959 Tin Fire Truck MonkeysTin Friction 1951 Buick Convertible Open Fat Car Masudaya Ichiko Japan1960's Mga 1600 Roadster Japanese Tin Car W/original Box By Atc NrJapan Tin Toy Electromobile. Alps 1954 Lincoln And Buick 8.5" Battery Op. WorksSss Tin Friction Private Label Eastern Express Lines Semi Truck 16" Exclt W/ BoxNomura Japanese Tin Friction Powered Fire Engine With Bell Ringing Mint In BoxMarx Toys Sparkling Hot Rod Racer With Friction Drive, Includes BoxVintage Corgi Toys Riley Pathfinder With Friction MotorVintage Hong Plastic Friction Lucky Toys Tat Lot Milk Float Triumph SpitfireSss Tin Friction Private Label Yale Freight Lines Semi Truck 16" Exclt With Box1960's Ferrari Gt 250 Cabriolet W/original Box By Atc NrVintage Usaf B 50 Super Fortress Bk 250 Tin Litho Friction Yonezawa Toy BomberSaunders Hot Rod Action Toy With Box, Red Race Car With Motor, Usa MadeSpace Age Astro Ray Gun Tin Lithographed Friction Sound/spark Toy New Old Stock Vintage Yonezawa Japan Diamond Bus Y-3216 Friction Tin Toy / 13.5 Inches LongSpace Age Lazer Blaster Gun Tin Litho Friction Sound/spark Toy New Old Stock Navajo~tin Toy~tandem Tractor Trailer Truck~ Friction, Japan~1950sUsagiya Japanese Tin Friction Powered Fire Engine Mint In BoxRenwal 1954 Pontiac Star Chief Convertible Metal Toy Car Two Tone Friction PromoAhi Toys Japan Signed Vintage Tin Metal Toy Old Friction Yellow Taxi Cab Car Vintage Porsche 356 Tippco Tin Toy Friction Policecar 1:32 Mint 1970 GermanyAntique Wood And Steel Metal Friction Driven Fire Pumper Wagon ToyVintage 1950`s-60`s Line-mar Toys Tin Friction Red Ball Moving Van/truck, JapanAntique Child's Toy Celluloid & Metal Occupied Japan Friction Santa & ReindeerVintage Toy Japan Batmobile Friction Operated Yanoman 60´s Batman Toy Car !!Coca-cola Tin Friction Toy Car 9" By Taiyo Japan - C. 1960sVintage Linemar Japan Tin Toy Friction Touring Car 396b Vintage Mf 978 China Miniature Open Car Friction Jeep Tin ToyVintage Friction Powered Jet Fighter U.s. Air Force Tin ToyJapanese M.f.d. Tin Fire Truck Hook And Ladder1950's Greyhound Scenicruiser Bus Friction Vintage Tin Toy 6-1/4" LongAbc Freight Forwarding Corp. Tin Friction Toy Truck Kokyu Japan 5" LongSplendid Friction Motorcycle Tin Toy Juguetes Roman Spain Early 1970 In BoxColorful Antique Tin Friction Toy Bread Truck W Black Baker Japan 1950s Rare!Vintage Marx 1950s Walt Disney Friction Toy Donald Duck On Tractor *nice Lqqk*Vintage Tin Litho Toy Japan Milk Tank Truck Nh-9029 (9 1/2" Long)Vtg Bandai 1960 Maroon Cadillac Sedan Friction Toy Car Japan Parts RepairVintage M-51 Us Army Tank, Vintage Friction Toy, Tin Litho, Japan, 2 1/2" LongVintage, Metal Friction Toy Greyhound BusVintage Kokyu Japan Tin Litho Friction Fire Truck Toy 6.5" Long Hr175Vintage Japan Modern Toys Model T Lever Action Tin Litho Car Nice 1950s Wyandotte Toys Pressed Steel Friction Usaf Jet Fighter Airplane-3 Day N/rVintage Japan 1960s Red Jaguar Big 12" Tin Friction Car RedCragstan Tin Friction Toy Car Jalopy Stock Car #3 Tin Litho 1325-6 Made In JapanVintage Friction Powered Toy Rolls Royce By Sss Quality Toys Japan Original BoxVintage Amar Toy Delhi Pontiac 1954 Minister Delux Friction In BoxVintage 1950's Tin Friction Aircraft Carrier Cva59 Toy Working Airplane Helo