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Little Red Wagons by Radio Flyer

Updated on May 9, 2011

The little wagon has been a part of childhood fantasies and adventures for over 90 years.

Sitting inside a little wagon, children have gone to exotic faraway places, sailed the seven seas fighting off pirates, blazed the Chisholm trail fighting off Indians, taken the family the family to the store to buy groceries, transported loads of building materials to construction sites, soared to the moon and around the Milky way, and raced against Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, all before mama called them in for supper.

The little wagon is so simple in its design, yet so innovative in its ability to spark the imagination of every child who plays with it. Everyone seems to have a little red wagon somewhere in their past.

Check this out! The little red wagon has gone luxury!
Check this out! The little red wagon has gone luxury!

The Story of the Radio Flyer Wagon

  • Antonio Pasin, an Italian immigrant, created his first wagon in 1917 named the Liberty Coaster. He named it after the Statue of Liberty.
  • His company took off in 1923 when an order was placed for 7000 wagons.
  • In 1927 Antonio vowed to make his wagons affordable for every child. He began mass producing his wagons and was nicknamed "little Ford".
  • He named his first mass-produced steel wagon the Radio Flyer. He named it after his marvel of the radio technology and the wonders of flight.
  • Radio Flyer became the largest producer of toy wagons producing 1500 wagons a day during the Great Depression.
  • Antonio Pasin went into debt to create a huge 45 foot display of a boy riding in a wagon for the 1933 World’s Fair being held in Chicago. Beneath the wagon was a shop where he sold miniature souvenir wagons for 25 cents. This turned out to be a huge success.
  • The #18 Classic Red Wagon is the iconic little red wagon they are best known for and has been continuously produced for over 70 years.
  • Not all wagons have been red over the years. The “Davy Crockett Wagon” was yellow and the “Mickey Mouse Club Wagon” was blue in the 50s. The "Evil Knievel Wagon" was yellow and the Bicentennial “Spirit of ’76” was blue in the 70s.
  • The Inchworm we all remember from the 70s, formerly produced by Hasbro, is now produced by Radio Flyer.
  • Today’s wagons are built in classic steel, steel and wood, and plastic.

Radio Flyer Goes High-Tech With a Prototype Called the Cloud 9

Researching material for this hub, I ran across a CNN article (see links below) that describes a new Radio Flyer wagon prototype. It has not be produced for resale at this point, but check it out. I was fascinated by the features offered.

This little wagon is called the Cloud 9 and it’s easy to see why. The little wagon has all the bells and whistles to pamper the pickiest of toddlers.

This little wagon comes equipped with padded bucket seats with 5 point safety harnesses, cup holders, foot brakes, fold-out storage containers, a digital handle that tracks the temperature, time, distance and speed, and just when you think they couldn’t think of anything else, it has a slot for an MP3 players complete with speakers.

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    • profile image

      Carole 6 years ago

      Does anyone know what the value of an original Davy Crockett Radio Flyer might be on today's market?

    • kids-toy-box profile image

      kids-toy-box 7 years ago

      These are cute...reminds me of Dennis the Menace...and my childhood.

    • KCC Big Country profile image
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      KCC Big Country 8 years ago from Central Texas

      Thanks Ethel.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Ah how sweet

    • KCC Big Country profile image
      Author

      KCC Big Country 8 years ago from Central Texas

      Thanks, Sukhera!

    • sukhera143 profile image

      sukhera143 8 years ago from Home

      Great sharing.

    • KCC Big Country profile image
      Author

      KCC Big Country 8 years ago from Central Texas

      LOL...you gotta watch them "hosses", Mit.

    • Mit Kroy profile image

      Mit Kroy 8 years ago from Georgia,USA

      Yeah, I had more than a couple of run away adventures when the horses (my brothers) would get spooked.

    • KCC Big Country profile image
      Author

      KCC Big Country 8 years ago from Central Texas

      Awwww..that's such a sweet story, Viv! Thank you for sharing it!

    • VivBounty profile image

      VivBounty 8 years ago from Canada

      Oh I love this hub. I never had a little red wagon but always wanted one. I see the folks in my village of under 500 people taking their little ones for rides in various versions of the little red wagon every season and the cutest ones are in winter bundled up in snowsuits.

      When leaving to get married, I told my mum that if I had a little red wagon I'd put all my wedding gifts on it and pull them away. That Christmas I bought her a toy one and wrapped several tiny boxes to put into it as her present for my first Christmas away as a married lady. It brought tears to her eyes.

      Thank you KCC for great memories.

    • KCC Big Country profile image
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      KCC Big Country 8 years ago from Central Texas

      And that is a very good thing, Chefaija.

    • chefaija profile image

      chefaija 8 years ago

      My son loves his wagon Its a place of freedom and in a child's mind all adventures are possible

    • KCC Big Country profile image
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      KCC Big Country 8 years ago from Central Texas

      Good to see you Ron!

    • rongould profile image

      rongould 8 years ago

      Wow! That brings back memories!

    • KCC Big Country profile image
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      KCC Big Country 8 years ago from Central Texas

      That's the thing, Dolores, the Cloud 9 can't be filled up with water and turned into a jacuzzi, or filled up with sand and turned into a beach where you can build a sand castle. These modern kiddos are going to miss out. Of course, with the speedometer in the handle their parent will now know how fast the shot down the hill. :)

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 8 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Sorry, I don't like the Cloud 9. Call me old fashioned, but I like the plain old one. I just got rid of our, 2 wheels bkusted off, the bed gone rusty. Durn. I used that little red wagon quite often, even now, at age 57.

    • KCC Big Country profile image
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      KCC Big Country 8 years ago from Central Texas

      LOL...you could right the world with just those two items, couldn't you, Jknorman? :)

    • profile image

      jknorman 8 years ago

      A little red wagon and a red ryder bb gun. Oh how my boyhood dreams are coming back!

      Thanks for the trip back in time!

    • KCC Big Country profile image
      Author

      KCC Big Country 8 years ago from Central Texas

      That's just it, Sabreblade, it is such a simple toy, yet we all have managed to do so much with it, all because of our imagination.

    • sabrebIade profile image

      sabrebIade 8 years ago from Pennsylvania

      You know I never thought about it...but mine was transportation, something to haul things with, and a "stunt vehicle". It's amazing that something so simple can do so much.

      With a little imagination that is....

    • KCC Big Country profile image
      Author

      KCC Big Country 8 years ago from Central Texas

      Thanks Habee! I think we all did!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Ahhh...great memories! I loved my wagon! Thanks for the great hub!

    • KCC Big Country profile image
      Author

      KCC Big Country 8 years ago from Central Texas

      LOL @ Dohn...I'm surprised they haven't put a roll-cage on the Cloud 9. It's all fine and good to strap the kid in, but when he flips that thing going downhill, then what? LOL It's all a part of growing up.

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      I remember loving these when I was a kid (although I don't recommend it for children who have concerned parents) as I used to "drive" one down a steep hill by sitting inside one and steering its handle. Yeah, I know, it was a bit dangerous :D Thanks, KCC Big Country.