1880s Horse Tricycle with Wooden Wheels

 

jean_monet_on_his_horse_tricycle_1872

WOODEN WHEELS: In 1872, Claude Monet painted a portrait of his son Jean on his horse tricycle. The example owned by the Monet family had wooden wheels, similar to adult velocipedes that became popular in France in the 1860s.

METAL WHEELS: The next development of this popular French toy was the fitting of metal rims without tyres.

SOLID RUBBER TYRES: Some makers fitted solid rubber tyres to their children’s tricycles with metal wheels before the end of the century; I’ve seen them advertised as an option in an 1895 Gamage catalogue. Solid rubber tyres were not new – Michaux & Cie fitted them to their adult velocipedes in 1868.

FRENCH v ENGLISH STYLE: The English juvenile horse tricycle design usually had a handlebar vertically mounted through the horse head or neck, and pedals in the front wheel – velocipede style. The most common early French design was chain driven and motivated by handles horizontally mounted through the horse’s head.

 

1800s horse tricycle 9

1890s Horse Tricycle with Wooden Wheels (French)

Handle Operated; chain to rear Axle

Cast Iron Head, Wooden Body

20″ Wheels

LENGTH: 36″

WIDTH: 24″

HEIGHT: 36″

This is the dominant style of 1800s French horse tricycle, with a cast iron head fitted to a wooden body, and operated by handles connected by chain to the rear axle. This example is a large size. It has 20″ wooden wheels, with metal banded ‘tyres’ like 1860s velocipedes. I assume it to be c1880. The front footrests are more basic than those of the 1890s metal wheeled tricycle shown for comparison. This would be a ‘No 1’ size, whereas the smaller 1890s tricycle would be a ‘No 3’ suitable for an infant.
 
The front fork bolts to a cast iron fitting that’s screwed under the front of the horse’s body. I’ve illustrated this in one of the photos as cast iron fittings are an indicator of authentic early production (though all the forgeries have the same rear frame casting).
 
Many modern replicas have been made in Eastern Europe and Asia and are aged to try to disguise their modernity; they are passed off by unscrupulous auctioneers and antique shops as original. You can often tell the difference if you see welded parts, more modern fittings or modern screws. But sometimes it can be confusing, as originals have often been repaired over the years.

 

 

1800s horse tricycle 9

 

 

1800s horse tricycle 9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNDERNEATH THE 1880s HORSE TRICYCLE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


WOODEN WHEELS v METAL WHEELS

 

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1890s HORSE TRICYCLE 

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