It all started with the Garton Toy Company in 1887. Thats when their first catalog came out featuring the new Pony Express wagon with iron wheels , not wood. After that, they made stick horses, willow carriages, toy cradles and even a wagon that could be pulled. They had a massive fire in 1890, I guess the smoke stack caught a toy on fire and burned the entire plant. They rebuilt and hired 150 employees( with a new state of the art sprinkler system.). For the next 50 years, they introduced something new annually. The first big hit was an iron velocipede, kinda like a tricycle. In 1915, they introduced a new sled and then on to a wagon, a revision of the old one, but they continued to replace old wooden toys with steel. Soon after 1915, they began pedal cars. They range from deluxe models like the pierce arrow to more basic ones like buick,( which i'd take any day of the week.)
The most distinctive toy in this companies history by far was the 1950 Garton Kidillac. These were one of the most purchased toys in america. And think about this... Most pedal cars back then cost about $19.95, costly at that time right? Guess how much the Kidillac cost..?? $49.00..!! If you had a Kidillac, your folks had some money. or maybe grandma.. well more money than the kid with that buick I talked about anyways. The Kidillac had a chain drive, working headlights and working taillights and a continental kit. It also had a radio antenna and a rear view mirror.
The Kidillac was formed from a single piece of steel and it took two workers to pry it off the stamping press, because of the undercuts. The factory had to remove a section of the roof, to install the 3 story press, that punched out the Kidillac's body.
Garton Toy Company began it's down turn, when plastics were introduced to the toy industry and also increased government regulations. They stopped in 1973 and the building is now an apartment complex. ....
. The building that made the best Pedal Car ever.... The Garton's Kidillac Pedal Car.
This was seen at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC