1890s Gendron Girls’ Tiller & Treadle Tricycle

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All Gendron products have an important pedigree, as founder Peter Gendron was instrumental in the development of the metal bicycle wheel, which he patented in 1874. The company’s brand name ‘Pioneer’, used on its children’s tricycles and riding toys, was therefore apt.

Peter (Pierre) Gendron was French-Canadian, from Quebec. In 1895, after his American company, based in Toledo, Ohio, had become well-established and the ‘bicycle boom’ was at its peak, Gendron moved into the Canadian market, establishing the Gendron Mfg. Co of Toronto, Canada. His was one of the group of companies that merged to become Canada Cycle & Motor Co. Ltd, more commonly known as CCM. With the sale of its cycle works to CCM in 1899, Gendron turned his attention to the motor car and, by 1920, Gendron had become the world’s largest manufacturer of children’s pedal cars, built to imitate the full-size automobiles of the day. Using the ‘Pioneer’ name, the Gendron brand became synonymous with high quality pedal cars featuring cylindrical rear gas tanks, tool boxes, imitation cranks and nickel trim.

1890s Gendron Girls’ Tiller & Treadle Tricycle

21.5″ Rear wheels & 14″ front wheel

LENGTH: 46″ (without handlebar extended)

WIDTH: 26″

HEIGHT: 33″(without handlebar extended)

Suitable for a young teenager

(Now sold)

Within conservative society, appropriate dress for women was of utmost importance. This was reflected in the design of adult tricycles in the Victorian era, which had an open front so that women could ride them wearing a full dress. Children’s tricycles followed similar lines. As you can see in the Gendron trade card of the period (below), boys rode velocipede tricycles, with pedals in the front wheel. Girls used open front tricycles whose handlebar folded forward to make it easier to get on. This ’tiller’ type of handlebar could also be used to pull the tricycle, which was useful in the smaller versions for younger girls. Rather than pedals, these tricycles used treadles and an eccentric rear axle for motivation, a design that preceded the pedal bicycle.

This example is in excellent original condition and fully functional.