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Antique tricycles are very popular today among bicycle, tricycle, and antique enthusiasts. Because tricycles are almost as early an invention as bicycles, there is a big market for antique and vintage tricycles. With such an interesting history, it’s easy to see why people are so fascinated by old tricycles.

History of Antique Tricycles

Bicycles were becoming quite popular by the mid-nineteenth century, both as a method for transportation and for fun. Due to this increase in popularity, came an increase in safety concerns, which led bicycle builders to build a bicycle with a third wheel to add stability. The first documented adult tricycles appeared on the market around the 1860’s.

In the 1870’s, chains were used for the first time to drive adult tricycles. One of the first tricycles to have a chain was the Coventry “Rotary” tricycle. This has become one of the most popular antique tricycles today. During this time, wooden tricycles for children were also becoming very popular in America. In fact, they were so popular, they were considered part of American life for children.

By the mid 1880’s tricycle makers began to make bicycle-type tricycles. It was also popular at the time for tricycles to accommodate two riders at the same time. During this period, children’s tricycles were more commonly made of steel rather than wood because of the more indestructible properties of steel.

In the early 1900’s mass production of tricycles began, and the tricycle has basically taken off from there. In the 1930’s and 40’s Art Deco and Modern design movements led manufacturers to designs beyond just functionality. Tricycles were designed to look modern and streamlined, and they are often the most sought after vintage tricycles today.

Did you know…?

Did you know that when tricycles first appeared, they were popular not just among children, but also adults?

Women of that time wore dresses and skirts that reached to the ankle all the time, even when they cycled.

On regular high-wheeled bicycles, it could be difficult to mount the bicycle in a long dress without losing one’s balance. Thus, women preferred tricycles which were more stable and thus easier to mount.

Purchasing Antique and Vintage Tricycles

One of the best places to find antique or vintage tricycles is eBay. There are many different brands ranging in price from as little as $30.00 up to as much as $3000.00 depending on the brand, availability, and condition of the tricycle.

Junior Toy Company

A great rare antique tricycle available on eBay is made by the Junior Toy Company. This toy company began in the 1920’s. During the depression, this company focused primarily on the production of toys, primarily velocipedes. This company’s tricycles, including their famous Sky King model are some of the most popular antique tricycles sought after today fetching prices over $2000.00


Taylor produced some of the best tricycles with the highest quality in the history of tricycles. Their frames were nearly indestructible, setting them apart from other tricycle manufacturers at the time. If you’re lucky enough to find a Taylor tricycle, chances are it will still be fully functional with all of its original parts.


American Machine and Foundry Company (AMF) is most famous for owning the Harley-Davidson company, but they are also known for producing tricycles, one of their most famous being the Flexible Flyer.


In the early 1900’s a man named Fred Colson merged three companies, Worthington, Fay, and Fairy into one company; Colson. This company was responsible for producing many different models and sizes of tricycles, including tricycles for adults and handicapped adults. They produced some revolutionary tricycle models that are sought after today.


Antique and vintage tricycles in mint condition with all original working parts are quite rare and difficult to find, so they fetch quite a high price, between $2000.00 and $3000.00. Most antique tricycles have some non-working parts, they aren’t in mint condition, or they aren’t as rare to find. In these cases, antique tricycles usually fetch between $100.00 and $500.00. Regardless of their price, the greatest joy of collecting antique and vintage tricycles is their beauty, functionality, and of course, their nostalgia.

“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”
Bill Cosby


Antique Tricycles — 2 Comments

  1. Hello
    Just bought this worthington fairy tricycle. Will need a handle and seat and was wondering if these were available or if I will have to fabricate them. Any info greatly appreciated.

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