1890s ‘Benz’ children’s carriage (German)
REAR WHEELS: 18″ with metal band tyres
FRONT WHEEL: 8″ with solid rubber tyre
The 1885 Benz Patent-Motorwagen, built in Germany by Carl Benz, is widely regarded as the world’s first production automobile, ie a self-propelled vehicle for carrying people. It was patented and introduced to the public in 1886.
At this time, there were no children’s pedal cars, but smaller versions of horse drawn wagons and tricycles were available for the juvenile market. The introduction of a motor car led, in due course, to various miniature imitations.
This 1890s 3-wheeled ‘Benz’ children’s carriage is by no stretch of the imagination an accurate portrayal of a motor car, even less so because the child must be pulled or pushed along. Nevertheless it’s typical of the way children’s pedal-operated tricycles and wagons slowly adapted to the new form of motorised transport and evolved into pedal cars. As such it deserves a place in any collection that portrays the history of the automobile and pedal cars.
I don’t know its history, but I believe it was built in the 20th century for a museum display.
I took the tricycle down to the end of the annual London-Brighton Veteran Car Run, and parked it near the entrance to Brighton Pier to observe the early cars drive past as they completed their journeys.