History Of Radio Flyer

Born in a small town outside of Venice, 16 year old Antonio Pasin (pictured above) dreamed of a new beginning in America. His family sold their mule to help pay for his voyage, and before long, Pasin made his way to Chicago where he looked for work as a cabinet-maker. Though he was a skilled craftsman like his father and grandfather before him, Pasin had little success finding work, and eventually became a water boy for a sewer digging crew.

He made his way through several jobs, and by 1917 had saved enough money to purchase some used wood working equipment and rented a one-room workshop. In this workshop, Pasin began fashioning wagons by night and selling them during the day.

By 1923, Pasin's business grew to include several employees. They became known as the Liberty Coaster Company, named after the Statue of Liberty, and soon created their first wagon Ð the Liberty Coaster. The No. 4 Liberty Coaster was handcrafted in wood and sold directly to stores by Pasin himself. Pictured here is the historic No. 4 Liberty Coaster — the first in the long line of historic wagons to come.





The roaring twenties was a decade that began with a sense of optimism and a carefree spirit, and ended with the fall of the stock market and the beginning of the Great Depression. But while many had to figure out ways to make-do in a troubled America, Antonio Pasin was on the way to revolutionizing his vision.

Despite the rising pressures of the times, Pasin and the Liberty Coaster Company pushed forward, with the automotive industry as inspiration. Pasin began using metal-stamping technology to produce steel wagons — and with his consistent eye for innovation, applied mass-production techniques to wagon-making, creating the first wagon, "For every boy. For every girl." These innovations earned Pasin the nickname, "Little Ford."

The Liberty Coaster Line was established before the Radio Flyer Line, which produced high quality, affordable wagons.

As times of the 20's grew tough, America, and American's learned how to make do, or simply do without. But even in tough times they dreamed of a better life for their children, and continued to demand the basic value that Radio Flyer delivered.


This was a decade of unparalleled uncertainty for the entire world. For America, the thirties lasted from the Great Depression's Black Tuesday to the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. In 1930, the company is renamed Radio Steel & Manufacturing from Liberty Coaster Manufacturing, Co. and is already the world's largest producer of toy coaster wagons. With new designs for its now classic wagons, Radio Flyer now featured them to the public with a series of brochures and trade shows.

Antonio Pasin's wagons captured the spirit of the times. He named his first steel wagon the Radio Flyer, after his fascination with the invention of the radio by fellow Italian, Guglielmo Marconi; and Flyer, which reflected his wonderment of flight.



Here is a glimpse into the past with one of the very first brochures and advertisements featuring the now classic red wagon, and the "Streak-O-Lite", the company's first specialty wagon modeled after the popular Zephyr Train.



The spectacular World's Fair exhibit made Radio Flyer world famous. But it wasn't the only new idea to come out of the company during the Depression. In the mid-30's the company introduced the Streak-O-Lite, a coaster wagon that featured sleek styling inspired by the Zephyr streamline trains, complete with control dials and working headlights. Pictured at right is an early concept illustration for the Streak-O-Lite Wagon.


In the 1940's, America was at war --- and like many other American manufacturers, Radio Flyer was asked to alter its manufacturing rate. From 1942 to 1945 all wagon production ceased. Radio Flyer focused all of its manufacturing efforts to making five-gallon steel "Blitz Cans" for the war. On July 14, 1945 an Army-Navy "E" award was given to Radio Flyer for high achievement in producing materials needed for the war.

By the fifties, Radio Flyer had secured its name in households across America, rubbing elbows with auto giants such as Ford, Chrysler, and GM. World War II and the Great Depression were now over, affordable homes began to sprout up everywhere, and the baby boom was in full swing — a shift had begun for the country, and for Radio Flyer.

The Sixties were times of cultural and political revolution — it was the decade that witnessed the Civil Rights movement, listened to groundbreaking music, made strides towards the moon, and entered into the Vietnam War. In this time of rapid change, Radio Flyer forged ahead with innovative products and revolutionary designs, while maintaining their core values.

In the seventies, American culture flourished. Many of the "radical" ideas of the sixties had gained wider acceptance, and the decade took on a fast-paced style all its own. To keep up with the fast-paced changes of the time, Radio Flyer made various experimental product changes — from design concepts, to the look and feel of promotional materials, Radio Flyer took on the seventies with full force.

The Eighties, also known as the Reagan Era, witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall and the birth of malls everywhere. It was a time of new technology — from video games to the VCR,
and from personal computers to synthesizers in every band, the Eighties were times of rapid change and big hair. But as in past decades, Radio Flyer forged ahead with new products and innovative designs to keep pace with the ever-changing needs of their consumer.

The 1990’s were truly a decade of technological boon. The internet boomed as dot com companies gained unheard-of ground. The world wide web shot to popularity as the preferred method of communication and learning. Personal computer ownership grew by more than 200% in a few short years, and cell phone sales exploded worldwide.

It’s a new world, and today’s families want safety, comfort and convenience – without fun ever taking a back seat! Today Radio Flyer continues to create new and exciting products that reflect the needs of today’s on-the-go family… Fueled by our imagination and the creative spirit that has propelled us from the very beginning, nearly 90 years of innovation and we’ve only just begun! Posted by Monkeyshine at 10:49

2 comments:

pooh said...

hi u are a good site!!

03 December 2007 14:42:00 GMT poop said...

hi how r u??

03 December 2007 14:42:00 GMT

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Monkeyshine This is the blog for www.monkeyshine.co.uk, a stylish shop for kids. We are based in th UK and sell quality traditional toys and funky furniture for kids. View my complete profile
 
 
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