February 5, 2012

Like-A-Car: The Foljambe Hobby Auto


Thanks to his dedicated efforts as the founding editorial director of the Chilton automotive publishing concern, and as the instigator for and vice president of the Philadelphia chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers, Eugene S. Foljambe had already done much to evangelize the automobile by 1917.

That's when he filed his patent application for perhaps his most undeservedly underappreciated contribution to the Age of The Car: the Sounding Wheeled Toy, a gaily painted wooden ride-on contraption "which in the trade is known as a hobby-auto."


Foljambe patented two variations of his hobby auto design; the first [top] is like a horseless hobby horse, with a steering wheel where the head should be, and two wheels in back. The second adaptation/conversion adds a front wheel and maybe a seat, turning the hobby auto into a car-themed Like-A-Trike.

It's not clear if Foljambe's hobby auto ever made it into production. I can find no mention of it in the S.A.E. newsletters. And Foljambe only quit his Chilton dayjob for health reasons, taking a position at Goodyear tire in LA in 1920. If one ever turns up, I hope to hear about it.

Patent no. 1,276,747, Sounding Wheeled Toy, Eugene S. Foljambe, Aug 27, 1918 [google patents, thanks dt patent shark dt]

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