September 30, 2008

Eighty Bucks For The Ur-Big Wheel?


The company that made the original Big Wheel, Louis Marx, sold out to his competitor in the early 1970's. That company, Empire Plastics, went bankrupt in 2001. Some other company reconstituted Empire and now makes the Original Big Wheel [sic]. So that's what I saw at Target the other day.

The little rig above, however, is the real original deal: a Marx-era Big Wheel in seemingly great shape, especially considering. When Andy sent this to me this afternoon, there was only a couple of hours to go, and no bids. Eighty dollars for the Big Wheel of my youth? Ain't gonna happen. I'll wait for the guy to relist it. Well, I just got back from the gym, and it's already relisted. And it's still eighty bucks.

RARE VINTAGE 1968 MARX BIG WHEEL RIDE ON TRICYCLE EAMES, $50 first bid, + $30 shipping, auction ends Oct. 7 [ebay via andy]
Must check out gallery: Original Big Wheel []


My husband's grandfather was David Marx, brother to Louis, and when the company was bought out, his wife (my husband's grandmother, who is still alive & kicking at 96, bless her heart) was offered one of each of the toys the company made, at least the stuff that was warehoused at the time. They declined the offer. DECLINED THE OFFER. Makes me ill to think about it. Of course, my husband & his cousins probably would've trashed all the toys by now anyway, but it's the principal of the thing.

We're on the lookout for a church rummage sale Big Wheel for when our son is a little older. I want to see him go up & down our much-too-small hall and pretend we're in the Shining.

I remember my big wheel in the late '70's with a handbrake on one side, enabling slides. I remember my brother and I rolling down a hill on the sidewalk, and at the bottom of the hill the sidewalk banked. We were inspired by the '80 Olympics and the bobsled. Way better than the neighbor kid's Green Machine.

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