1875 Western Toy Co Velocipede Tricycle



western toy co advert


OBITUARY: ADOLPH SCHOENINGER – From California came the sad news of the death of Mr. Adolph Schoeninger, one of the most prominent and widely known Chicagoans. Mr. Schoeninger, who was one of the early settlers here, sought cure for his ills in the land of sunshine, but died yesterday morning a victim of complications. He was the personification of kind-heartedness, honesty and righteousness. Death took this fine member of the German race at the age of 68 years.

Adolph Schoeninger was born January 20, in the city of Weil, South Germany. He received his entire education in the city of his birth and also entered business there. Having pronounced liberal opinions, however, he could not tolerate the policies of the Fatherland, and consequently, in company of his younger brother, he emigrated to America in 1854. They went first to Philadelphia. Although he found employment immediately, he was anxious to establish his own business and did so in the year 1857. The venture proved a success from the very start. He was intensely interested 2in the social activities of Philadelphia and soon was well known and highly respected in the business world and in social circles,

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Schoeninger joined the 75th. Company of Pennsylvania’s Volunteer-Regiment, the command of which was entrusted to him. He served the army until 1864, when he returned to Philadelphia, only to find that his business had greatly declined. He thus went to Chicago to work for Albert Pick, dealer in china. However, in 1866, he became the head of a toy manufacturing plant, which develope and grew wonderfully under his able management. Everything went along smoothly until 1871, when both the old and new factories were destroyed in the great conflagration. Schoeninger was penniless once more. The insurance companies in which he had invested were themselves victims of that terrible catastrophy. But this time a European banking house to which his honesty was known, came to his rescue. This firm put funds at his disposal, that he might rebuild his factory. The offer was accepted, the work rushed, and in January 1872, the wheels of the factory were turning again, and nothing empeded his success from that time. Mr. Schoeninger, who was the first president of the Western Wheel Works which later manufactured bicycles exclusively, is responsible for the growth and development of this establishment.

Adolph Shoeninger was a leading builder and supplier of children’s bicycles and tricycles, and owned the patents for the two leading designs of tricycle: the velocipede style with pedals in the front wheel, invented by G.W Marble; and the tiller and treadle style, invented by Otto Unzicker. Shoeninger’s company, Western Toy Co, sold various ‘Otto’ tricycles, in both adult and child sizes.

G.W Marble’s was the dominant patent of the time for this style of velocipede tricycle. So if anyone else built one for sale, they would have been liable to pay to use the design. The tricycle featured here has some minor differences in style from Marble’s 1875 patent illustration, but they are not significantly different enough to have warranted a separate patent – which is why I consider this tricycle to have been made by the patent owner’s company, Western Toy Co.

I’ve also found that by 1886 (when catalogue illustrations were published) the style of front fork and handlebar had changed, which leads me to assume that this example is an early model, c1875. The feature that is most unusual, and suggests early manufacture in my opinion, is the seat support, which is a spring similar to the backbone on an adult velocipede.

There’s a similar tricycle at the Smithsonian, and they’ve reached the same conclusion. There is minimal evidence regarding tricycles from this era, but I’ll continue my research. I usually manage to dig something up eventually; if it varies I’ll update this page accordingly.

1875 velocipede tricycle marble patent

western toy co

c1875 Western Toy Co Velocipede Tricycle

‘No 4’ Size

28″ Front Wheel

24″ Rear Wheels




The only known patent at the time this tricycle was built was the GW Marble patent. There are various similarities and, though I’m not absolutely certain of its provenance, I feel it’s likely that the Western Toy Co – the assignor to GW Marble’s patent – would have been involved. As you can see by comparing the patent illustration below, the main difference is the saddle: in fact, saddles were being continually improved, and it’s likely that by the time the GW Marble tricycle was built it would have had a more elaborate saddle than that illustrated.

gw marble velocipede tricyckle patent 1875

Tricycles were built in varying sizes, suitable for different ages of rider. The remarkable thing about this early design is that the track (i.e. the width of the rear axle) is very narrow; this would have not been particularly significant with a smaller model. However, on this 28″ wheel tricycle, the ratio of height to width is such that the tricycle is very unstable when the steering is turned.


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1885 Western Toy Co ad

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1881 Marble velocipede tricycle 0


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1869 ENGLISH VELOCIPEDE (33″ Wheel) v 1875 VELOCIPEDE TRICYCLE (28″ Wheel)



1886 BOY’S VELOCIPEDE (24″ Wheel) v 1875 VELOCIPEDE TRICYCLE (28″ Wheel)

western toy co


By Selma Montford

In 1628 Preston Manor was described as: “the Mansion House of Preston” with “a gatehouse, stables, coach house and other outhouses, barns, gardens, orchards, bowling green with a plantation of young elms”. William Stanford bought Preston Manor and nearly 1,000 acres of land from his landlord Charles Western in 1794 for £17,000.

The land, open meadows divided by fenced hedgerows with trees, was probably used for sheep farming in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is sometimes possible to see a green ring in the grass close to the Tile House, which may have been a dewpond.

The population of Brighton had grown by the late 19th century and it was considered necessary to provide leisure facilities for rich and poor. In 1871 William Davies, a Brighton bookmaker, made a bequest of £70,000 to the corporation. His will stated that this money had to be spent on buying 67 acres of meadow for £50,000 from Mr and Mrs Bennett-Stanford of Preston Manor.

The Brighton Herald reported on the opening of the Park on 13 September 1883 “now that the park is actually in the possession of the inhabitants [of Brighton] we think the town may fairly be congratulated.” After extensive landscaping and the installation of new leisure facilities, costing £22,868, Preston Park was formally opened on 8 November 1884 by the mayor, Alfred Cox. It was Brighton’s first and largest municipal planned park (Queen’s Park, although older, was privately owned until 1890).

The Head Gardener, Mr Shrives, and Mr Lockwood, the Borough Surveyor carried out improvements. Iron railings were erected along the Preston Road side with an avenue of trees: elms, chestnuts, ash and poplars. Flowers and shrubs were planted and seats installed..

The first building to be erected in the park in 1883 was the Tile House, originally the ladies cloakroom.

The Mayor, Alderman A H Cox, officially opened the Park on 8 November 1884. On 3 January 1884 the Town Council approved the byelaws which included the following:

No cattle, carriages, barrows, bicycles, tricycles were allowed in the Park, though perambulators for children and wheeled chairs for invalids were allowed.

Other bye-laws prohibited being in charge of a dog without a lead or string, disturbing or injuring birds in their nests, drying or bleaching linen, beating carpets, selling alcohol, preaching, setting up a stall or playing games except in the designated spaces.

A pair of handsome gates was erected at the southern main entrance, with an equestrian drive – Rotten Row – on the east side. The middle gates opened from the Preston Road opposite Lovers Walk onto the driveway, with another gate at the northern end, and a small gate at the north eastern end leading to Preston Park Avenue. Railings surrounded the park and a bell was rung at dusk before the gates were locked. The park superintendent’s house stood at the bottom of Preston Park Avenue, adjoining Preston Road, near the present entrance until 1929 when it was demolished

The Chalet café was opened in 1887 with the park police occupying the upper rooms from where they had commanding views over most of the Park.

The clock tower, officially handed over to Brighton Corporation on 17 June 1892, was designed by Francis May, the Borough Engineer, in the Flemish Renaissance style in red-brick and terracotta. The initials EW on the clock stand for Edward White, who financed the project.

A cricket ground was laid out in 1887 on the international Gun Polo Club ground at the north end of the Park, with open air seating for thousands of people. A wooden grandstand seating for 500 people was erected in 1930. The arena was also used for athletics meetings.


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Obituary – http://flps.newberry.org/article/5418474_11_1570

PHOTOS: Preston Park Memorial, Brighton