HAROLD VAN DOREN & JOHN GORDON RIDEOUT
One of the first generation of American industrial designers, Harold L Van Doren began working in the field in the 1930s. His early visual outlook was informed by a training in art history, studying at the École de Louvre in Paris, lecturing in the Louvre Museum, and translating important texts by Ambroise Vollard on Cézanne and Renoir. He held the post of assistant director at the Institute of Art in Minneapolis from 1927 until 1930 when he established a design consultancy with John Gordon Rideout in Toledo, Ohio.
An early collaborative product was their plastic‐cased Air King radio of 1933, the stepped‐back form of which echoed the lines of contemporary skyscrapers. In the same year Harold Van Doren & Associates replaced their earlier partnership. Van Doren and Rideout worked on a number of designs for children’s play equipment for the American National Company in the mid‐1930s, comprising the streamlined Skippy Airflow pedal car, tricycle, and scooter.
American National Co, which included Gendron among its various Toledo based companies, was one of the world’s leading manufactures of wheeled toys, and their products had an excellent reputation for build quality and longevity. In the early thirties, they decided to update the style of their wheeled toys to reflect the new interest in ‘streamlining.’ Designed by top stylists Harold L Van Doren and John Gordon Rideout, who had just made their name with a revolutionary new style of radio, the Air King, the completely new range of Skippy products made its debut in 1933. The 23 Skippy items included tricycles, pedal cars, bicycles, scooters and sleds.
1937 Skippy Sno-Plane Sled
The Skippy Sno-Plane is an American design icon. This example has pitted chrome rail and worn top runners, but is otherwise in remarkably good condition for its age, with its top decals proudly declaring its parentage, and a testament to the quality of its manufacture.
The Sno-Plane was the top of the range model Skippy sled. The 40 inch model was priced at $4.50 compared with $2.70 for the cheapest Skippy Flyer and $3.40 for the intermediate Skippy Racer. The 52″ Sno-Plane was $5.90.
1937 SKIPPY SLEDS
AMERICAN NATIONAL CO: SKIPPY BRAND
American National was formed in 1925 as a holding company for Toledo Metal Wheel, National Wheel and American Wheel. In 1927, American National acquired Gendron Wheel Company and produced tricycles under the names of American-National, Toledo, Gendron, Pioneer, Skippy, Express, Reliance, Hi-Speed, Hi-Way, Speed King, Blue Streak, Sampson, American, and Streamline. Each company had their own products and catalogs.
1933 SKIPPY RANGE: 23 MODELS
1934 SKIPPY COASTER WAGONS & SLEDS
1934 SKIPPY SCOOTERS & HAND-CARS
1936 SKIPPY TRICYCLE
1938 SKIPPY COASTER WAGONS
1940-1941 SKIPPY PEDAL CARS & TRICYCLES
1941 SKIPPY SNO-PLANE
1937 SKIPPY STREAMLINE VELOCIPEDE TRICYCLE
Harold L Van Doren info with thanks to – http://oxfordindex.oup.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803115157190