French Horse Pedal Cart
34 x 60 x 19
A 19th-century tin children’s ride-on toy, made in France. Tin was a popular material used for children’s toys for much of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Machines that could manipulate and stamp steel sheets were invented in 1815, which allowed for the mass production of tinplate, leading to the proliferation of tin toys by the mid-19th century. Tin was an attractive toy material due to its durability and cost effectiveness. Until further factory automation around the beginning of the 20th century, tin toys were assembled and painted by hand. Germany was the leading producer of tin toys at this time, with France and England following close behind. Although the creation of tin toys fell out of popularity around World War II, when metal was needed for the war effort, tin toys are still being produced today – primarily in Japan. This French horse pedal cart models a horse and carriage, with a bike pedal mechanism attached to the carriage and reins for steering. At the turn of the 19th century, horse-drawn carriages began being replicated on scale for wealthy children. These ride-on toys functioned as predecessors to the popular pedal and electric cars that are marketed for children today. The present horse pedal cart has been repainted for protection, and would be a delightful addition to the collection of any vintage toy lover or horse enthusiast.
At this time in France, artist Édouard Manet (1832–1883) was active. He was one of the first 19th-century artists to paint modern life, and is a key figure in the wider artistic transition from Realism to Impressionism. Some of Manet’s important works include The Luncheon on the Grass (1863), Olympia (1863), The Railway (1873), and A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882).