Wooden bicycles and tricycles for children manufactured in similar fashion to the original velocipedes of 1869 were popular even into the early twentieth century. Most had no maker’s name; the majority also had no individual identifying features, their parts having been made by blacksmiths and wheelwrights, and assembled by a local shop. However, there were a number of patents covering their fittings and, as you can see, the velocipede featured here uses fittings patented by Watson A Heath in 1882.
Tricycles in this style were more popular than bicycles, being easier for younger children to ride.
A leading American company of the day was the Western Toy Co, established by Adolph Shoeninger (the company later became the Western Wheels Works and the Crescent Cycle Co). Two inventors who assigned their patents to Shoeninger were Otto Enzinger and G.W Marble. I’ve added to this page: one of Shoeninger’s patents for comparison; catalogue illustrations of similar tricycles; and the complete Watson A Heath patent that covers this boy’s velocipede. W.A Heath’s first recorded patent is from 1868, for improvements in hay rakes, and he also patented a fifth wheel for carriages. I have not yet discovered which company built this velocipede.
c1886 Boys’ Wooden Velocipede Bicycle
Front Wheel 24″
Rear Wheel 16.5″
Metal band Tyres
This Boys’ Velocipede Bicycle is very similar in style to the 1886 Boys’ Velocipede Tricycle illustrated below. When purchased, it was missing saddle and support and the pedal and cranks were broken. A blacksmith made the supports for me, in the same style. I’ll have some wooden block pedals made in due course.
1882 WATSON A HEATH VELOCIPEDE FITTINGS PATENT
WESTERN TOY CO VELOCIPEDE: 1881 G.W MARBLE PATENT
1886 BOY’S VELOCIPEDE (24″ Wheel) v 1875 VELOCIPEDE TRICYCLE (28″ Wheel)
or view below…