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Kirk-Latty pedal car

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Kirk-Latty pedal car
Smithsonian Institution, Photo by Richard Strauss, Negative #: 2003-29258


This object appears in the following sections:

Other Topics
Words on Things — Some thoughts about words on things

Americans Adopt the Auto:
Americans Adopt the Auto — Creating a Nation of Drivers

Kirk-Latty pedal car, rear view
Kirk-Latty pedal car, rear view

Kirk-Latty pedal car, driver's view
Kirk-Latty pedal car, driver's view

Kirk-Latty Manufacturing Company decal
Kirk-Latty Manufacturing Company decal

The Motor Maids Across the Continent, by Katherine Stokes

Town and Country magazine cover

Pedal Car
Catalog #: 2000.0265.01, Accession #: 2000.0265
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
Early pedal cars, like this one made by the Kirk—Latty Manufacturing Company, reflected the design of their larger gasoline driven counterparts: they often didn't come with lights and, before the self starter engine became standard, they had cranks on the front. This Kirk-Latty's lights seem to have been added to the car at a later date (and they look like they are a product of the 1930s). There is no crank, it seems likely the car was manufactured before in the late 1910s or early 1920s.
Physical Description
artifact. 43” L x 20” W x 24” H; metal; painted green; sticker on rear says “The Kirk-Latty Manufacturing Co. , Built for Service, Cleveland, Ohio”; wood steering wheel; molded rubber tiers; internal pedal mechanism; lights on front and plastic red "stop" sign on rear both probably later additions to original car.
Date Made:
Gift of Bob Novick Family Collection

Almost as soon as the first automobile took to the roads, American children played with car toys, read car books, and even learned how combustion engines worked. Making cars a part of kids' lives-even kids whose families didn't own cars-helped make automobile ownership appealing to future generations of car buyers. Because much of this material targeted boys, it helped shape a society in which women were far less likely to own and drive a car.

Related People, Places, and Events
Kirk-Latty Manufacturing Company

Samuel D. Latty
Born in Boston in 1864, Samuel D. Latty founded the Kirk-Latty Manufacturing Company in 1894 in Cleveland, Ohio. Kirk-Latty made bolts and rivets, children's wagons, and, in 1903, the company experimented with making cars for grownups. It is not clear when the company produced its first pedal car, although they made them by 1913.

Place of Manufacture
Cleveland, Ohio

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