1890 ‘Benz’ children’s carriage

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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.

1890s ‘Benz’ children’s carriage (German)

LENGTH: 34″

WIDTH: 16″

HEIGHT: 29″

REAR WHEELS: 18″ with metal band tyres

FRONT WHEEL: 8″ with solid rubber tyre

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AT THE LONDON-BRIGHTON VETERAN CAR RUN, 7 November, 2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the photo above you can see Harry Lawson and his wife at the start of the 1896 Emancipation Run, organized by Mr Lawson. It celebrated the passing of the ‘1896 Light Locomotives on Highways Act’ that came into force on 14 November that year. Cars were now permitted to travel at 14mph.Before becoming involved in the motor trade, Harry Lawson had a workshop and shops in Brighton where he built and sold bicycles. He passed his Brighton business to W.H Halliwell in 1879 and moved to Coventry. He subsequently created the first safety bicycle in 1884 (illustrated below).