Marx “Wonder Cyclist” is the earlier version of this wind-up “Boy on a Tricycle” toy; and not to be confused with the later version by Unique Art called “Kiddy Cyclist”. This toy featured is MUCH more rare and more sought after by collectors of early tin wind up toys.
Rather than lithographed wheels these are metal spoke wheels; all three wheels are “spoked” and the arms and legs of the boy figure are uniquely and individually attached to both the metal handlebars and the bike pedals. It rarely operates properly, but this particular example works quite well (see the attached video) albeit, it might need some coaxing. The lever below the bell in the metal casing should be in the “stop” position; then wind up the attached clockwork key. aim the front wheel straight ahead. Release the lever to the start position and the “Wonder Cyclist” takes the bike for a nice arbitrary ride across a wooden floor with the attached bell ringing faintly; as in the video. Do not operate on a table as there is no telling which direction the toy will go in and it could fall off. One of the reasons for the toy’s scarcity is that the figure sits in his seat solely and loosely by a pin attached to the underneath, which with rough play, would make the figure fall out.
The piece is all original; with all original paint and no touch up; the boy is hand painted and the torso and head of the boy are aluminum (very unusual); so this toy maintains most of it’s original paint; not common as paint did not adhere as well to aluminum as it did to metal. It is American, made by Louis Marx and Company in New York City circa 1930.
Provenance: Recently acquired from a premier collection of tin toys in Los Angeles
Note: After 40 plus years of dealing and collecting toys, I am justly qualified to guarantee and present the authenticity of antique and vintage toys and children’s playthings; important considering the fakes and reproductions in the marketplace
Dimensions: 9″ high x 8 1/4″ long x 4 3/4″ wide