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    

Amazing Early Large Antique German Wooly Sheep Pull Toy German ChristmasB & R "kid Flyer" Tin Lithographed Pull String Toy 20's Rare & Original 8 1/4" Ives Cast Iron Pull Toy Train Locomotive Circa 1880Antique 1920s German Meier Tin Pull Penny Toy Of Tiny Cat On Wheeled PlatformEarly Vintage 30" Glass Eye Childs Pull Horse Hair Skin Covered Rockinghorse ToyHubley Cast Iron "baby" Speed Motor Boat With Driver 4" Large Pull Toy VinatageAntique-style Pull Toy Horse~ German-look Santa Riding Ooak By: Jean Littlejohn1910 Steiff Teddy Bear Co. St. Bernard Dog On Wheels Pull Toy Antique Mohair Terrier Dog Pull Toy On Wheels Steiff ?American Chestnut Folk Art "sweet Vidalia" Am1078 Farm Hog Pig Pull Toy Nr YqzRare Vintage 5 Musical Doll Band W Castanets &cymbal Wood Hand Operated Toy YqzPrimitive Folk Art Santa Christmas Vintage Pull Toy Teddy Bear Bottle Brush Jan Toy Story 16" Woody Pull String Talking Doll & 14" Jessie Doll Free ShipOld Fisher Price No 7 Vintage Wood Pull Toy Racing Car With Dalmation DogAntique Fisher Price Pull Toy 1940s Chef Hot Dog Wagon 445 Working Toy Story Woody Jessie Pull String Talking Buzz , Dog Lot Vintage Primitive Painted & Carved White Rabbit Bunny Wood Pull Toy Folk Art YqzVintage 1950s John Deere 12a Combine 1/16 Farm Toy Complete Working Pull TypePowerpuff Girls Lot Of 7 Items Zipper Pull Patch Plush Toy FiguresDisney Store Toy Story 3 Talking Jessie 15" Doll Cowgirl Pull String NewEarly Vintage Mr Zip Us Postal Service Pull Toy Nice Usps 10" U.s. Mail RareVintage Fisher Price #991 Play Family Circus Train Pull Toy Little People LotDisney Pixar Toy Story Woody Talking Pull String Doll Sheriff 15" Free ShippingAntique Old Pull Toy Wagon Cart Wood MetalNew Toy Story Slinky Dog Pull Toy Disney Pixar Stretchy 2010 PoofJohn Deere Farm Toy Tractor 12a Pull Type Combine Nib 1/16 50th Anniversary1999 Williraye Studio Sheep Pull Toy Folk Art Cart Wheels Goose Bird Ww1429New Sozzy Baby Soft Toy Crib Toy Animal Friends Pull Ring Bed Around Baby ToyPlaygro Puppy Pull Earthquake Shaking Lathe Lanyard Rings Paper Baby ToysPlaygro Pull-rebound Bed&pram Hang Toy ,bell,beep Bell,velvet Cloth Neddy1991 Disney Baby Sinclair Dinosaurs Tv Show Pull String Talking Plush Toy 15"Hasbro Bop It, Twist It, Shout It, Pull It,challenge Game Toy 2008-new Full Size Disney Pixar Toy Story Woody & Jessie Pull String Talking Dolls & Stand LotVtg Tupperware Toy Kids Pull Apart Toy Shape O Ball Plus Extra Pieces TuppertoyAafa Small Paris Mfg Co Buddy Wagon Antique Maine Wood Pull Toy Wagon Orig Paint6pcs Super Mario Kart Luigi 5cm Pvc Four Wheels Pull Back Car Doll Toy 1Vintage 1960's Cragstan Wacky Melon Watermelon Pull ToyToy Story 16 Inch Woody Sheriff Pull String Talking Doll With Bullseye Vintage Hard Plastic Valentine's Day Candy Holder Heart Pull Toy Rosbro Rosen Playgro Pull-rebound Bed&pram Hang Toy ,bell,beep Bell,velvet Cloth NeddyDisney Toy Story Green Walking Talking T-rex With Pull String Dinosaur Rare-htfHolgate Wooden Train Engine A Car VintageRich Girl By Edwardian Christmas Tree W Boston Terrier Dog+pull Toy* 1908 PhotoWilliraye Studio Pig With Cat Riding Along Pull Toy "piggy-back" Ww1428 RetiredPlaygro Pull-rebound Bed&pram Hang Toy ,bell,beep Bell,velvet Cloth NeddyVtg Wooden Wood Western Hobby Horse Pull Toy Saddle Stirrups Xmas OrnamentDisney Toy Story Pull String Jessie (hasbro, 2005)Word World Wordworld Lot Of 7 Plush Pull Apart Magnetic Toy Animals And DvdTiny Noahs Ark Pull Toy By Karen MarklandAntique Wooden Mechanical Drum Major Toy Blue Band Circa 1920's.Vintage Rosbro Plastic Trojan Horse On Wheels - Pink Swirl & Red WheelsPull My Finger Fred Gag Gift - 2000 Tekky Toys - Plush Fart DollVintage Mickey Mouse Windup Toy With Metal BellVintage Fisher Price Chick Cart Pull Toy 400 Easter Chicken 1954 Spring ..6Disney Pixar Toy Story Buzz Lightyear Strapped To A Rocket Pull Zip Toy FigureVintage Tupperware Pull Apart Toy AnimalsNew Sozzy Baby Soft Toy Crib Toy Animal Friends Pull Ring Bed Around Baby ToyNew Janod Chicken Wooden Looping Pull Along Wood Bead Toy Juratoys 12m+Miniature Dollhouse Bonnie Franklin 2 Childs Pull Toys Nursery Or Playroom 1:12Hotyellow Carter’s Just One Year Baby Giraffe Musical Pull Plush Crib Toy Lovely