There’s no need to discard your youngster’s tricycle just because he has outgrown it: convert it into a real two-wheeler bike
– Convert A Tricycle into a Bicycle How-to-Build Plans, by Evan P Johnson, 1946
In 1946 a magazine featured Evan P Johnson’s article, above, describing how to convert a frpont-wheel drive children’s tricycle into a bicycle. Perhaps this article inspired Tom Anthony to create and market his famous Convert-O tricycle three years later?
Anthony had worked for Northrop as an engineer, learning about the use of aluminium, which was a cheap manufacturing product at this time. While there was a shortage of steel after WW2, there was a surplus of recyclable aluminium, due to the cessation of airship production.
Anthony Bros Refrigeration Co introduced the new Convert-O tricycle in 1949. There was nothing else like it, the early fifties was a prime time for America’s home market, its convertible gimmick and handsome aluminium construction were well-received by the public and it was an immediate success.
The model was subsequently renamed the Convert-O-Bike, and Anthony Bros was bought by Angeles Corp. They still make an updated version of this model today.
The tricycle-to-bicycle conversion is simple: the rear axle is removed, then one rear wheel detached; that wheel is then fitted to the rear.
1950s/1960s Anthony Brothers ‘Convert-O’ Aluminium Tricycle
This unique tricycle-cum-bicycle is in good all-round working order, except that the transfer (decal) on the headstock has faded (it was originally yellow) and there’s a small crack in the top of the saddle. The tyres are solid, and the pedals are embossed with the company name.
Covert-O history: with thanks to http://www.tricyclefetish.com/anthony_brother.php