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Toys & Play



This Victorian-style tricycle with a carriage seat was personalized for Charles with a handwritten label attached to its backrest, and enjoyed by the Eames grandchildren who rode it around the office. The modern three-wheel tricycle was invented in France in the late 18th century, long before the two-wheel bicycle was patented in the 1860s. In the intervening decades, human-powered three- and four-wheel vehicles were common—designs that favored stability over speed. These vehicles often incorporated the kind of decorative metal work used here for the seat. In doing so, the vehicles shared in the visual language of wrought and cast iron that characterized the built environment of the Victorian period. The painted decoration on the seat’s base, a combination of botanical and curlicue motifs, also reflects the aesthetic sensibilities of its time. Much of this piece’s history would have been of interest to the Eameses. Not only were they concerned with new applications for modern materials, they were also broadly interested in transportation, and this vehicle can be regarded as one of the largest and most engaging items in their collection of toy cars, boats, and trains.

  • Medium:Metal, wood
  • Dimensions:30 x 23 x 46 in. (76.2 x 58.4 x 116.8 cm)
  • Item:T.2019.2.315