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 The toys were originally made from tin and wood parts assembled and painted by hand, with models ranging from chauffeur-driven sedans to circus trains.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

1950s Linemar Marx Japanese Tin Toy Robot In Friction Rocket Ship No Reserve! Original Champions Racer #98 Tin Friction Toy Car By YonezawaVintage Huge 1950s / 60s Japan Bandai Tin Friction Toy Cargo Jet AirplaneVintage 1950s Nomura Tn Japan Hunter Tin Friction Toy Motorcycle Vg Cond Lot Of 11 Vintage Cars Friction Jo-han Amt W/ Corvair Car Kit Promo Toy DisplayMib 1950s Japanese Tin Friction Boac Comet Toy Airplane W Friction MotorAntique German Nuremberg 1905-1915 Hess Tin Toy Car Edwardian Vehicle FrictionHaji Mansei Tin Friction 1955 Ford Convertible 7.5" Excellent ConditionRare! Vintage 1950's Japan Tin U.s.a.f. V-1 Toy Rocket Space ShipVintage 1950s Nomura Tn Japan Champion Tin Friction Toy Motorcycle Vg-ex CondVintage Yonezawa Tin Japan Grumman F9f 5 Panther Navy Jet Fighter Plane 1960'sVtg Japan Tin Toy Friction Yellow Vw School Bus, VolkswagenVintage 1965 Cadillac Friction Toy Car Tn Japan1950s Haji Mansei Boxed Minty Tin Friction Convertible W Boat & Trailer JapanVintage Huge 17" 1961 Cadillac Convertible Sss Tokyo Battery Op Friction Toy CarBandai Tin Friction 1963 Studebaker Avanti 8" Very Goodt ConditionBandai Tin Friction 1957 Austin Healey Roadster 100 / 6 - 8"Japan Tin Friction 1959 Oldsmobile Station Wagon Police Car 10" NmibRare Vintage Bandai Japan Battery Op Gear Shift Cadillac W/ Box Convertible1950s Bandai Bmw Isetta Parts Or Restoration Friction Antique Toy "bubble Car"1950s Japanese Tin Friction Motor Toy Auto Carrier W 4 Cars 9"Vintage Bandai Tin Friction Jal Japan Airlines Dc-7 Tin Toy Propeller Airplane Postman Pat Friction Van Toy & 2 Removable Pat & Jess Figures.Bandai Baby Cadillac Sedan Friction Car Model 1963 781 Minty GoldLtd Toy Stamp & 1960's Japan Tin Litho Cadillac Friction Car 11 InchesVintage**rare**lithographed Tin Friction Militay Police Motorcycle Toy Japan. Vintage**rare**japan Lithographed Tin Toy Friction Missile Fast Boat. Works!Mib 1950s Japanese Tin Western Heavy Duty Toy Dump Truck By CragstanVintage**rare**japan Lithographed Tin Toy Friction Sea Queen Boat. Works!Vintage Ford Fairlane 500 Convertible, Friction Toy Car , Promo Car Model ?Very Nice Vintage Japan Japanese Tin Kid Boy In Go Cart Race Car Toy FrictionVintage Line Mar Marx Friction Litho Tin Toy Bekins Vanlines Moving TruckJnf Tippco Germany Mercedes 190sl Roadster Tin Plate 1950's1968 Marx Munchie Mellon Tin Friction Vehicle-mint & Sealed-scarce-look!Vintage Mechanical Spin A Hoop Hula Tin Litho Wind Up ToyVintage**rare**japan Lithographed Tin Toy Friction Fire Boat. Works!Bandai Tin Friction 1966 Cadillac De Ville 8" Very Good Condition With BoxTaiyo Tin Friction 1961 Ford Galaxie Police Pursuit Car 10.5" NmibTaiyo Tin Friction 1961 Ford Galaxie Fire Chief Command Car 10.75" NmibVintage U.s. Fighter Jet Friction Toy Mib Never AssembledLtd Toy Stamp & 1960s Japan Tin Friction Large 15 1/2 Inch Sight Seeing Bus Clea1950s Alps Shoji Japan Tin Friction Horse-drawn Racing Covered Wagon Working!Boeing 747 Battery Operated Tin Jet Airplane In The Box Unplayed Working Vintage 16" Tin Friction Sight Seeing Tour City Bus Iy Toys Yamazaki Gangu JapanOriginal 1958 Amt Ford Edsel 2 Door Hardtop Dealer Promo Friction Model Car ToyVintage**rare**large Linemar Japan Tin Toy Friction 18 Ferrari Race Car1950s Japanese Tin Toy Army Jeep W Friction Motor Large 12" Size1950s Japanese Tin Friction Motor Toy Car By Ks -57 Plymouth Style1950s Large Size Tin Toy Convertible Friction Motor Car 13" Made In W.germanyMarx Tin Litho Friction Falcon Toy Convertible Car As ShownVtg Haji / Mansei 5" Friction Toy Tin Litho Station Wagon Car Auto Japan #Vintage 1958 Ford Edsel Convertible Top Down Friction Motor Toy Car Promo ModelVintage Alps Japan Tin Friction Toy No. 45 Elmira Streetcar Cable Car TrolleyVintage 1960's Made In Japan Tin Metal Red Ford Fairlane Rarest Daiya Dc-7 Tin Toy Airplane Aer Lingus Viscount Made In Japan Friction Vintage Mustang Friction Car MipVtg Tin Hot Rod Century Litho Nomura Roadster Japan Friction Toy CarTrain Tiger Coal Box Water Tin Toy Vintage Antique Made In Dayia Japan Friction10 1/2" ***ford*** Friction - Tin - Station Wagon Car Automobile Toy Vintage Rare Sss House Trailer Tin Friction Box Only Japan Bandai Alps