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    

Primitive Antique Early Burlap Mohair Pull Toy Rocking HorseMiniature Handmade Mini Tiny Toy Baby Boy & Elephant Pull Toy Ooak DollhouseToy Stamp & Redline 1973 Enamel Red Superfine Turbine Near Mint Blister PullAntique Pre-1900 Germany Pull Toy Horse Carriage Wagon Composition Wood Leather Fisher Price No 788 Rock A Bye Bunny Rare Vintage Wood Pull ToyDent A.c. Williams Cast Iron Road Grader Pull Toy Nickeled Wheels 1920sAntique German Handmade Wood Carved Composition Toy Horse With Platform/wheels1890's Or 1900's Antique Papier Mache/composition Horse Pull Toy Needs Tlc1890's Or 1900's Antique Papier Mache/composition Horse Pull ToyVintage 1950s Oliver Pull Type Combine Grain Master Farm Toy & Misc LotFisher Price Jumbo No 780 Circa 1937 Vintage Wood Pull ToyFisher Price No 171 Toy Wagon Vintage Wood Pull Toy1900's Antique Papier Mache/composition Horse Stick Legs, Fur Mane & TailRare* Radio Flyer Fireball Red Wagon Muscle Dragster Vintage 1970s Home DecorAntique 1900s Gibbs Horse & Wooden And Cloth Wagontoy Litho With Trotting HorseVentage, Antique Hot Dog Wagon Pull Toy With Bell In Back, Fisher PriceToy Stamp & Red Line Porsche 917 Yellow Blister Pull Mint With BadgeFisher Price No 499 Cat Vintage Wood Pull Toy2015 Riverside 24rpm Toy Hauler Travel Trailer Rv Coach Pull Behind TowableAntique Gibbs Litho Horse And Wooden Cart Pull ToyFisher Price No 750 Hot Dog Wagon Vintage Wood Pull ToyVintage Fisher Price Circus Train #991 With Clown Ring Master Circus Animals EtcLego Denmark Vintage 1940's Wooden Chicken With 5 Chick On Wheels - X-rare ItemVintage Steiff Pull String, Ride On, Barking Dog; Rare, Orig. ~1955; GermanyVintage Fisher Price Wood American Airlines Flagship Airplane Nc5000 1940sRare Vintage The Sun Rubber Company French Poodle Pull & Squeez Toy MibFisher Price No 175 Stage Coach Vintage Wood Pull ToyOriginal Poseable Pull-string Talking Woody - 16" Tall - Nib - Toy Story #62810Disney Toy Story 15" Pull String Woody And 12" Talking Buzz Lightyear Thinkway1900's Antique Papier Mache Elephant Part Of A Pull Toy Needs TlcAntique Toy Cow On Platform Circa 1900Vintage Plush Toy Chester O' Chimp Doll 1964 Pull String Yackor Talker (mattel)Vintage Green Toy Die Cast Metal Oliver Pull-along Hay Baler ~~l@@k~~ 1940s Fisher Price # 450 Donald Duck Choo Choo Train Pull ToyDollhouse Miniature Lady Bug Pull ToyVintage Toy Metal WagonVintage 1950s Schuco Trip-trap Cat Mechanical Pull ToyBaby Soft Toy Crib Toy Cute Hanging Animal Friends Pull Ring Bed Around PinkVintage 1949 Fisher Price Mickey Mouse Choo Choo Train Pull ToyAntique The Toy Tinkers 7 In 1 Pull Toy - Very NiceVintage 1953 Space Blazer #750 - Fisher Price Wood Space Pull Toy - Super RareRare Antique Happy Doodle Rabbit Bunny Wood Wooden Pull Toy Mechanical Vg6234Vintage Boys Toy Not Sur Who It Is On A Motorcycle Pull ToyNew Sozzy Baby Soft Toy Crib Toy Animal Friends Pull Ring Bed Around Baby ToyHot! Sozzy Soft Crib Toy Animal Friends Pull Ring Bed Around Baby Toys2015hot Sozzy Giraffe Octave Bell Lyre Music Pull Infant Educational Plush ToysVintage 1958 Red Wagon Hy-speed Children's Toy Antique Kids Nos Unopened!Donald Duck #500 Pull Toy By Fisher Price...circ.late 1940's Wood W/ Paper Litho1900's Antique Small Or Miniature Composition Horse Pull ToyThe Toy Kraft Studios Wooster Ohio Vintage Wooden Pull Toy DuckPlaygro Puppy Pull Earthquake Shaking Lathe Lanyard Rings Paper Baby Toys!Disney Pixar Jessie 13" Doll W/pull String Talks--toy Story 3Fisher Price No 447 Woofy Wagger Vintage Wood Pull ToyWwii N.n. Hill Brass Co. Pop The Chutes Target Game W/ Box4 Vintage Wood Wizard Of Oz Pull String Toy Christmas Ornaments Kurt Adler 1983 Antique Cast Iron Horse Pulling Fire Wagon Pull ToyAntique Wooden Child's Pull ToyLot Of 3 Vtg. Fisher Price Wooden Pull Toys Jalopy Snoopy Turtle1890's Or 1900's Antique Papier Mache/composition Horse Needs To Be RestoredVintage Fisher Price Donald Duck Wooden Pull Toy Donald Duck Drummer 1949