Pull toys are the simplest type of moving toys, powered entirely by the user. Usually on wheels, these toys range from wooden animals to cast-iron bell toys to little red wagons. Often they are pulled by a length of cord or rope, and many pull toys have holes in them for this purpose. Some pull toys, though, are meant to be played with on the floor, as the child kneels and crawls about, pushing and pulling circus trains, motorcycles, and other kid-powered vehicles through living rooms and hallways.

Many of the earliest pull toys were carved and painted wooden animals that rode on simple platforms, the ends of which were supported by a wooden axle and pair of wheels. Sometimes the painting on these toys was realistic, accurately depicting, for example, the mane of a horse or the feathers of a duck, but many more wooden pull toys were crudely made, having more in common with a piece of wooden folk art than something you’d purchase at Toy “R” Us.

While some animal toys stood or sat on platforms, others could be pulled around thanks to wheels mounted to their feet. These dogs, lambs, goats, horses, lions, and bears were often covered in fur, with glass eyes for added realism. Lines Brothers of England made such pull-alongs, as did Steiff, whose toys were advertised as “High Class Riding animals.”

Some of the most famous wooden pull toys were made in the 1930s by Fisher-Price and LEGO. The LEGO duck was released in 1935 by a Danish carpenter named Ole Kirk Kristiansen. Though plainly painted in red, gray, and black, the bird’s beak opened and closed when the toy was pulled, encouraging the child to play with it. Other early LEGO pull toys such as a pony pulling a blue trap featured wheels made out of LEGO yo-yos, whose parts were repurposed when the yo-yo craze of the 1930s fizzled.

LEGO also made pull-along cats and roosters, whose markings were painted using stencils, as well as a brown monkey with a blue wagon-like tray behind him. Like the duck, the monkey was animated when pulled—in this case, a lever attached to the toy’s front wheels caused the simian’s body to move forward and back.

Cast iron and tin were also popular materials for pull toys. In the United States, the Gong Bell Manufacturing Company of East Hampton, Connecticut, made cast-iron toys that were nothing more than a pair of wheels with a bell between them that chimed when the toy was pulled. Gong Bell also made four-wheeled toys that were basically platforms for animals such as eagles, bears, and bells that would ring when the toy was pulled. Another Connecticut toy maker was J. E. Stevens, which produced a cast-iron cart that carried a swan whose wings flapped, while Lehmann of Germany and Rossignol of France made tinplate pull toys that featured ostriches hauling African mail carriers or a Japanese man bearing a woman in a rickshaw.

But perhaps the simplest and most enduring pull toy is the wagon. The forerunner to the Radio Flyer wagon was the No. 4 Liberty Coaster, a wooden wagon with steel framing and wheels. Introduced in 1923 and hand built by company founder, Antonio Pasin, and his small crew, these wooden-body wagons soon gave way to stamped steel ones, which were painted fire-engine red. In the 1950s, Radio Flyer made wagons for Walt Disney, branded with the logos for the Mickey Mouse Club and Davy Crockett. By the 1960s, though, wood was back, as Radio Flyer released its Town & Country wagon, whose slatted side could be removed to give the wagon a versatile, flat bed.


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 19thc Antique Papermache & Felt Pug Dog Pull Toy W/ Leather Muzzle & LeashHalloween Vtg Hard Plastic Rocket Witch On Wheels Candy Container/ Pull Toy 4¼”Toy Horse On Platform With Wheels Pull Toy AntiqueVintage Rosbro Halloween Plastic Pull Toy Candy Container Jol Cat WitchHalloween Black Cat Pull Toy Primitive Vintage Antique Wooden Wheels Unique VtgAntique German Victorian Majestic Velvet & Wood Pull Toy 14" Horse 19th C 30's Rare Gong Bell Cyclist Racer Pull Toy Metal/tin-litho/wood 8 1/2" U.s. Made1937 Walt Disney Ent, Fisher Price #770 Dopey Drummer Pull Toy, Nice Rare ToyDisney 1930's, Mickey Mouse Wooden Pull Toy, By Fisher Price, For Repair,T483 Dwight Eisenhower I Like Ike Plastic Walking Elephant Pull Toy (1950's) [Vintage Hill Double Horse & Cart Wooden Pull Toy Original Old East Hampton ConnLarge Primitive Halloween Black Cat Pull ToyVintage Moon Wagon California Pull Wagon Never Seen One?? Space ToyWoody Toy Story Talking Figure Cowboy Doll Pull-string Disney PixarAntique Cast Iron Horse And Ice Truck Bout 7.5 Long OldVtg Tigrett Little Orby Yellow Plastic Walking Pull String 1960s Space Age ToyDracula Talking Pull The String Toy Antique Doll Vintage Christmas Wooden Mechanical Santa Beating Drum Pull ToyEarly Wooden Pull Toy - Man On Horse - "the Toy Tinkers, Inc" Vintage Gong Bell #600 Pony Rider ..nos In Box 1940s 6pcs Mini Pull Back Model Cars Trucks Vehicle Toys For Baby Kid ChildrenVintage Original 1930's Budweiser Horse Drawn Beer Wagon Pull ToyVtg Wood Brio Train W/ Car Building Large Size Pull Toy Set 50s 60s Sweden + BoxVintage Sox Baseball Player Pull Toy Hard Plastic Police Motorcycle Tin Litho Japan Pull Toy Sweet Handlebars Rolls Smoothly Vintage The Gong Bell Mfg. Co. Pull Toy Nos ....never Used Vintage Fisher Price Buddy Bullfrog Pull Toy 1962 FrogToy Story 15" Jessie Doll With Talking Pull String And Red Hat- Doll PlushNew Open Box Schylling 30200 Toddler Pull Along Giraffe Toy6pcs Mini Pull Back Boy Car Toys Plastic Set Educational Cartoon Children/kidsVintage Rusty Radio Flyer 80 Metal Kids WagonDisney Toy Story Pull-string Talking Woody Jessie Dolls Replacement HatsThomas & Friends Roll N Go Wagon Ride On Pull Along Toy Indoor/outdoorSozzy Baby Soft Toy Pink Crib Toy Animal Friends Pull Ring Bed Around Baby Toy6pcs Mini Pull Back Cars Truck Vehicle Model Kids Boy Children Nursery Game ToyMagnetic Fishing Game Set Toy Rod 8 Fish Catch Hook Pull Children Bath B#s5Mini Cars 6pcs Boy&girl Truck Vehicle Kids Child Toy Pull Back Funny Hot Fancy00Pull Back Car Beach Four-wheel Motorcycle Model Baby Kids Children Xmas Toys FmGibbs Perpetual Motion Tin ToyAntique Wicker Oak Iron Doll Buggy Pram Carriage Victorian Pull Toy Teddy BearAntique Toy Metal Race Car Pull Toy Vintage Fisher Price The Cackling Hen 120 Wooden Pull Toy 1960's Works ChickenVintage Dollhouse Artist Elephant Pull Toy Artisan Miniature 1.25" Little Tikes Wagon N Friends 4 Animals Pull Toy Euc Christmas GiftSlinky Dog Collectors Edition Original Pull Toy James Industries Retro Pkg Nib 1950's Taylor-made Colorful Wood Pull-toy Train - Orignal BoxLot Of 2 Pull Toys By Vilac Pic Pic Hedgehog & Plan Toys ZeberaDisney Pixar Toy Story Pull String Walking Talking Rex 6.5" Trex Dinosaur New Purina Friskies Party Mix Pull N' Play Cat Treats Wobbert Toy Play Pack New Sozzy Baby Soft Toy Crib Toy Animal Friends Pull Ring Bed Around Baby ToyNew Sozzy Baby Soft Toy Crib Toy Animal Friends Pull Ring Bed Around Baby Toy6pcs/set Mini Pull Back Model Plastic Car Truck Vehicle Toys For Baby Kid Child6pcs Child Pull Back Model Mini Car Vehicle Set Christmas Gifts Kawaii Toys New6pcs Classic Boy&girl Truck Vehicle Kids Child Toy Mini Pull Back Car Funny Set1pc Kids Playing Gyro Flywheel Glow In Dark Luminous With Pull Line Toys 7*7cm6pcs Mini Pull Back Model Cars Trucks Vehicle Toys For Baby Kid Children6pcs Mini Plastic Car Truck Vehicle Toys Baby Children Hot Gift Pull Back Model Toy Electric Shock Shocking Funny Pull Head Chewing Gum Gags Safety Trick Joke Toy Electric Shock Shocking Pull Head Chewing Gum Gags Safety Trick Joke 2016Vintage Antique Paper Litho Wood Mechanical Pull Toy Drummer Boy Mid-19th Centur