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    

Original Pressed Steel Tin Pull Behind Camper ToyEska Toy 12 A John Deere Toy Combine Metal 1950s Pull TypeMint Charming Vintage Teddy-hermann Brown Bear On Wheels Pull ToyAntique Stuffed Dog Pull Toy On Cast Iron Wheels Mohair Victorian Primitive PlayVintage Antique Stuffed Duck Animal Pull Toy1940s Art Deco Pull Toy Woodette Coast Guard Sailor In Oar Boat With Box Rare NrPam Schifferl Midwest Cannon Falls Folk Christmas 2 Piece Santa Bear Pull ToysVintage Mohair Teddy Bear Pull Toy Metal Bell Toy Wheels Bing?Vintage Rolloflot Frighter Wooden Boat Pull Toy Hg4Ji Case Ih Farmall International Harvester Farm Toy Pull Type Combine Number 80 Vintage Rare Ride On Horses & Wagon "drive Em" Jacrim Mfg. Co. BostonVintage Radio Flyer Wagon Wheels Washers Caps Replacement PartsVintage Fisher Price Wood Painted Toy Pop Up Kritters Goose C.1930'sAntique C1910 Gibbs Gypsy Wagon No.57 Pull-string Toy: Horse Drawn Covered WagonAmerican Girl Bitty Baby Springtime Outfit Lavender Dress White Hat Pull Toy1995 Toy Story Talking Woody Parlant Doll Think Way Pull String 1st Edition Vtg Fisher Price Wooden Pull Toys Donald Duck Lady DuckToy Story Woody And Jessie Dolls Pull String In BackVtg. Wooden Ship And Boat Set - 30'sAntique Pie Eye Mickey Mouse Jointed Articulating Wooden Toy Pull String Puppet Dollhouse Miniature Wood Polar Bear Pull Toy- Signed: EhVintage 1950's Or 60's Kitty Pull Toy By The Gong Bell Mfg. Co. Conn. U.s.a.6pcs Mini Pull Back Model Cars Trucks Vehicle Toys For Baby Kid Children6x Mini Cars Trucks Model Pull Back Vehicle For Baby Kid Children Toys6x Mini Cars Trucks Model Pull Back Vehicle For Baby Kid Children ToysColonial Williamsburg Foundation 1980 Wood Pull Toy Horse Dudley & Emilie FullerTru-scale 1/16 Scale Red Pull Behind Combine Vintage Diecast Toy 1950sAntique Vintage Disney Donald Duck Fisher Price #185 Musical Xylophone Pull ToyVintage 1967 Fisher Price Goldilocks And The Three Bears Playhouse/ #151Vintage Wood And Tin Litho Pull ToyVintage Original 1961 Fisher Price Snoopy Wooden Pull Toy Dog #181 W LeashDollhouse Miniature Wood Horse Pull Toy- Signed: EhCute Cartoon Kids Baby Boy Girl Animal Design Soft Handbell Rattle ToyVtg Retro Pull Toy Litho Art Horse Cart Wood Wheel Silhouette Home Collect Decor6pcs Mini Pull Back Model Cars Trucks Vehicle Toys For Baby Kid Children6pcs Mini Pull Back Model Cars Trucks Vehicle Toys For Baby Kid Children KeDouble Tweety Bird, Brice Toy Co. Wooden Pull Toy. (in Original Package) NiceDent Graf Zeppelin Cast Iron Pull Toy, Very Good Cond. Vintage 1930sToy Story Woody Pull String Doll 16" Tall Talks Perfectly With HatVtg Toy Story Thinkway Woody Pull String Doll, Talking Buzz, Plus Jesse + Bonus First Edition 1995 Pixar Disney Pull String Toy Story Cowboy Woody Talking DollAmerican Girl Retired Bitty Baby Springtime Fun Set Dress Hat Shoes Pull Toy Mickey Mouse Safety PatrolBriere Design Pull Toy Amercian Folk Art #1497 Cart Only 1988 Usa VintageVintage Fisher-price Kiddie Toddler Pull Toy Lot; Tag Along Turtle, Roly Poly ++Hot Pink Carter’s Just One Year Baby Giraffe Musical Pull Plush Crib Toy Lovely6x Mini Cars Trucks Model Pull Back Vehicle For Baby Kid Children Toys Ke6pcs Mini Pull Back Model Plastic Car Truck Vehicle Toys For Baby Kid ChildrenTraditional Pull Along Plastic Duck Toddler Kids Baby Learning Walk Musical ToysToddler Kids Baby Learn Walk Toy Classic Pull Along Plastic Duck Musical ToyFunny 5pcs Baby Kids Mini Pull Back Car Model Toys Child Educational Toy GiftVintage Fisher Price This Little Pig Went To Market SealedOriginal Vintage Fisher Price Tuggy Tooter Great Condition With Box WorksVintage 1964 Talking Mattel Drowsy Doll Toy Works Pull String 14" BabyPlan City Wood Toy Trucks - Green Jeep & Boat W/ Trailer / Suv W/ Pull Rv Camper1/64 Scale Models Kinze 840 Pull Type Auger Wagon Farm Toy EquipmentVintage Radio Flyer Wagon/ 9Unusual Old Wood Pulltoy Tugboat - 1930's - Worldwide ShippingFisher-price Vintage Vehicles And Little People 1960s6pcs Mini Plastic Car Truck Vehicle Toys Baby Children Hot Gift Pull Back Model