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]

Most watched eBay auctions    

No Reserve ! Keystone Hobbi Toy Hauler Weekend Warrior Bumper PullA Rare 1900's Papier Mache French Bull-dog Pull Toy With Glass Eyes And WheelsAntique Gebruder Bing Gbn Mohair German Brown Bear On Wheels Pull Toy Hump Back15" Talking Pull String Jessie Doll Figure. Disney Toy Story.Antique Mohair Pull Toy Dog Terrier On Wood Wheels Made In Us-zone GermanyAntique Carved Wood Horse Pull ToyScarce C1920 Kenton Cast Iron Elephant W/ Tusks Pull Toy Stunning Ex OriginalVintage Fisher Price Little People Camper #994 Boat Lot Pull Toy Figures Camp ~!Wonderful Antique Paper Mache Cow Pull Toy On Wooden Base With WheelsAmerican Flyer Tin Airplane 1920's 1930's Pressed Steel Empire Express Pull ToyDisney Toy Story Pull String Talking Woody And Jessie Doll W/ HatsScarce C1880 Fallows Tin Toy Brown Horse On A Platform Pull Toy Early Americana1933 Chicago World’s Fair Red Miniature Radio Flyer Wagon Rubber Wheels LabeledVintage Fisher Price # 175 Gold Star Stage Coach Pull ToyScarce 1911 Gibbs Jumbo The Elephant Pull Toy Wood And Tin CircusToy Story Woody Sheriff 15" Talking Pull String Doll With Hat - Works Great!! Vtg 1950s Santa Claus Christmas Candy Container Pull Toy Rosbro Hard PlasticsDisney Pixar Pull String Toy Story Large 13" Talking Jessie DollDisney Pixar Toy Story Talking Woody 16" Inch Doll Pull String Thinkway With HatDisney Toy Story Pull String Talking Woody W/ Hat. Large 16" DollSmall Antique Folk Art Wood & Painted Felt Childrens Horse Pull Toy ... NrVintage Murray WagonOoak Vintage Style Teddy Bear With Piggy Pull Toy ~ Q Is For QuincyLot Of 8 Old Vintage Toys - Mickey Mouse Snoopy , Civil War Model Mr Bob , BearPlaygro Puppy Pull Earthquake Shaking Lathe Lanyard Rings Paper Baby Toys2006 Toy Hauler Flatbed Bumper Pull Travel Trailer Keystone Sprinter No ReserveSpace Blazer Fisher Price Pull Toy Spaceship 1953-54 #750 Original Not Repo.Wooden Pull Toy Hustler Pete By Frantz Toy Manufacturing Sterling Illinois 2015 Forest River Work And Play 34wrs Towable Pull Behind Toy Hauler Rv Coach 2015 Riverside 24rpm Toy Hauler Pull Behind Towable Rv Coach 1950's Noah's Ark Pull Toy Made By Gong Bell Manuf. Comp.-usa (fisher Price)Vintage Fisher Price # 712 Teddy Tooter Wood Pull Toy Vintage Fisher Price # 498 Happy Little Helicopter Wood Pull Toy ~working!~ OldVintage Childs Easter Pull Toy- Duck Fisher Price #304Yellow Carter’s Just One Year Baby Giraffe Musical Pull Plush Crib Toy Lovely Playgro Pull-rebound Bed&pram Hang Toy ,bell,beep Bell,velvet Cloth Mouse1926 Joy + Gloom Toy Co -at The Washtub Wood Cartoon Character Pull Toy Fisher Price Loving Family Dollhouse #6364 1993 6 People & 21 Furniture/extrasVintage Antique Wood Pull Toy Hustler Toy Company 1920s Black Americana1950 Fisher Price Ding Dong Ducky Pull Toy Pat PendFisher-price #462 Barky Pull Toy Vintage New Sozzy Soft Crib Toy Animal Friends Pull Ring Bed Baby Musical Activity ToyVintage Radio Flyer 18 Classic 1970's Red Metal Wagon - Full SizeVintage 1930-40's Wooden Duck Pull Toy Metal Handle Original Box UnmarkedBriere Folk Art Pull Toy Bob Timberlake Collection Kitty Cat In A Cart #3660 Vintage Holgate Pull Toy 5 Car Playroom Railroad Train No. 630 (circa. 1948)Vintage Strombecker Zoo Apart Wood Pull Toy Elephant Camel Polar Bear Circus OldVintage Small Classic Child's Red Radio Flyer Metal Wagon Pull Toy, DecorativeHot Sozzy Soft Crib Toy Animal Friends Pull Ring Bed Around Baby Toy-elephantPlaygro Puppy Pull Earthquake Shaking Lathe Lanyard Rings Paper Baby ToysVintage Marx Marcrest Pure Milk Dairy Steel Pull Truck - Very Good ConditionHamilton Grayhound Ball Bearing WagonVintage Child's Wagon Parts~4 Wheels W/hard Rubber Tires, Axles, Chassis, HandleVintage 1976 Fisher Price Ride-on Children's Toy Horse Pony Collectible Usa HtfFrankie Doodle Dog! #2,404 Birds On Pull Toy Dachshund Clay Miniature SculptureDisney Pixar Toy Story Talking Woody Parlant 16" Tall Pull String 19 PhrasesVintage/antique Primitive Painted Wood Wagon Folk Art Blue With Red Wheels 13"Vintage Fisher Price # 7 Looky Fire Truck Wood Pull ToySozzy Soft Crib Toy Animal Friends Pull Ring Bed Around Baby Toy PinkNew Vtech - Pull And Learn Car Carrier 80-049741