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 The toys were originally made from tin and wood parts assembled and painted by hand, with models ranging from chauffeur-driven sedans to circus trains.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

Vintage Convair B-36 Bomber Airplane Yonezawa Japan Tin Litho Friction ToySuperb 1957 Baby Blue Lincoln Premiere 4 Door Tin Friction Toy Car Ichiko JapanShimazaki Volkswagen 1600 Tl Friction,vtg Tin,japan,bandai,nomura,masudaya,alpsKarmann Ghia Tin Friction Toy Car Convertible Bandai Made In JapanVtg 1950's Ichimura Toys Japan Friction Car And Trailer,tin Metal PlaysetArnold Lockeed Super Constellation "klm" ,friction,west Germany,tippco,schucoVintage1950 Tin Litho Buick Friction Bindschedler Imprimeto Toy Car West GermanyVintage Bandai Of Japan 1958 Chevrolet 'chevy' Impala Tin Friction Toy CarVintage Japan Bandai Vw Beetle Tin Friction Toy Rare Radio AntennaBandai Citroen Ds19 Friction Powered Vtg Tin Japan,gege',joustra,m,ichidaTin Friction 1950 Buick Convertible Open Car W Driver Alps JapanVintage 1950s Cadillac Friction 11.5" Toy Car! Parts / Restore! By Alps! Japan!Kanto " Police Car" Friction Vtg Tin Japan,mib,yonezawa,ichiko,masudaya,nomura*~ Estate Find~* Antique Toy Bus *schuco* ~not Working For Parts / RestorationVintage Japan Bandai Vw Volkswagen Friction Tin Toy Pickup Utility Truck RareVtg**rare** Bandai Japan 1960's Blue Green Cadillac Friction Toy CarVintage Bandai Japan 1961 Plymouth Valiant Sedan 5s-3305 Friction Tin Toy Car2 Vintage Toy Car Bandai Mercedes Benz 2/9 Tin Friction JapanVgt Amt Toys 1958 Ford Edsel Pacer Promo Promotion Friction Toy Car W Box AquaRare Vintage Yonezawa Tin Toy Champion Motorcycle Friction Japan 1950'sMarx Linemar Allstate Tin Lithographed Friction 24 Hour Tow Truck Wrecker Japan1950s Nomura Japanese Tin Friction Police Dept Patrol Car No 71946 Chrysler Military Police Car, Friction, Tippco Tipp & Co.w.germany 7"nr 1950s Plastic Friction Hot Rod Race Car & Driver See-through Engine 10 In LongTin Red Japan Friction ToyGama Acrobat Motorbike 125 Marx "nutty Mad" Car Tin Lithographed Friction Toy Car Parts 4" LargeChina Tin Toy Me 641 Country Horse Cart 18" B/o Mib . RareVintage Cox Classic Sports Race Toy Cars Slot? Friction? Black + Bardahl X2(3) Vintage Tin Friction Cars Japan Galaxie 500 And Restore Or Parts 1960's Era 1960's Friction Donald Duck Duckmobile Pop-up Tin Litho Toy Japan DisneyVintage Bandai Japan Tin Friction 1933 Cadillac Green Toy Car 8"Vintage Style Greyhound Scenicruiser Tin Bus Friction Toy Made In JapanVintage Tin Greyhound Scenicrusier Bus Friction Toy Made In Japan1950s Japan Tin Friction 1909 Model T Ford Tin Friction Car Unused In The Box1950s Japan Tin Friction Old Timer Car Unused In The Original BoxVintage Tin Motorcycle 60's Made In Mexico Tippco MoldArmy Jeep/car Tin Lithographed Battery Operated & Friction Toy Parts Japan 50'sVintage Antique Greyhound Express Tinplate Friction Toy Bus Japan 1960'sTin Tom Toy Astro-scout Wind Up Friction Powered Tin Robot Str Tsr Tin Litho Car Japan No 173 Friction Working 6" Vintage Old Metal ToyChina Tin Toy Me 744 Diesel Locomotive 12" Box B/o Masudaya Tin Friction Toy "flying Saucer" China Tin Toy Me 768 Acrobatics On A Single Wheel 21" B/o Mib . Rare & UniqueB-2707 Sst Pan American World Airways Pan Am Airplane Tin Toy Friction JapanVintage Sss International Friction Cement Truck Two Piece 1960 Toy Tin Car JapanRare Asahi Toy Japan Tin Litho Friction Nbc Television Tv Truck Tin Friction American Airlines Airport Limousine Taxi Opening Door Hayashi JapanLouis Marx Seascape Tugboat Friction Tin Litho Toy Excellent And Colorful BoatNice Vintage 11-1/4" Hs Of Japan Tin Friction Toy Shell Gasoline Delivery TruckRare Vintage Tippco Tipp&co Tin Toy Car Military Police 1945 Friction Germany Vintage 1950's Made In Japan Tin Friction Studebaker Lark Toy Car Nice! L@@k!! Vintage Old Timer Friction Powered Rolls Royce Car S-1301 In BoxVintage Made Japan Tin Friction Toy Mg Or Mga Car1950s Japan Japanese Friction Tin Toy White Ambulance Station Wagon CarVintage Tin Friction Toy U S Army Military Gun Truck Circa 1950's Made In JapanVintage Ungar Rod Burners Battery Operated Hot Rod Roadster Toy Car 1960s Japan Yonezawa Usaf Super-saber Fw-771 Friction Tin-litho Jet Toy AirplaneVintage 1959 Girl In Red Convertible Car Friction Tin Litho Toy JapanVintage Moibil Gas Tin Toy Friction Truck...japan...nice!