Karl Benz's three-wheel Patent Motorwagen, Whitney Reed's horse pulling a sulky and Butler Brothers' Juvenile Steel Automobiles are examples of antique pedal toys. Pedal toys first came on the market in the 1880s and became popular in the United States, England, Australia and France in the early 1900s.
The Lines Brothers' 1937-1938 catalog offered 30 different pedal toy models. Its basic model was the Prince, which the company designed for 2- to 4-year-old children. The more deluxe Electric Rolls had a 12-volt motor, working brakes, headlights and Dunlop tires. The car had a range of 12 to 15 miles and could reach a top speed of 5 miles per hour. The company's most popular pedal car was the J-40, which was modeled after the Austin A-40; the company sold this car after World War II in Great Britain.
Steelcraft manufactured pedal toys designed after real vehicles, including Mack dumptrucks, GMC pickups, Model T Roadsters and Chrysler Roadsters. The pedal toys had lavish details, including enameled steel exteriors, adjustable pedals and custom-cast steering wheels.
The Pratte Collection sold more than 70 vintage pedal toys as part of its Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, in early 2015. The collection's top seller was a 1956 Pontiac Club de Mer concept pedal car that brought $33,925. A restored Garton 1959 Deluxe Kidillac pedal car brought $7,475 and a museum-quality 1927 Toledo Cadillac sold for $21,850.