History of pedal cars date back to 1890s, when their production was just behind the invention of the “real” automobile. Due to high price, pedal cars were available only to children of wealthy families and therefore were not very widespread toys. Pedal cars remained exclusive toys also on the first part of the 20th century due wars and economic recessions.
In the 1950s, pedal cars popularity grew largely due to the postwar economic boom. Newer models emulated even more the real cars, new features were added, such as headlights, signals, chain drive. During this period also other pedal toys were created, such as trucks and planes.
In the 1960s, pedal cars sales dropped again due children’s emerging interest in space exploration. Also, the new stricter safety requirements for toys made pedal cars more expensive to produce.
In Soviet era Estonia, a pedal car was the toy of dreams for almost every child. Pedal cars were often produced at the real car facturies. Some of which had a separate section for pedal models. For example, AZLK factory that manufactured Moskviches – both toys and real cars. Back on the 1980s, I was the lucky owner of dark green Moskvich, too 🙂
Today, pedal cars are mostly collectors items, as some copies are sold at auctions for thousands of dollars.