History of the Original Big Wheel®

For generations the Big Wheel® has been a family favorite in providing children's fun play and development of early learning motor skills. Today's parents have special childhood memories that include endless hours of joy on their original Big Wheel®.

The Big Wheel® was first developed by Louis Marx Toys and presented to the public at the 1969 New York Toy Fair. The Big Wheel® immediately became a national success.



In 1972, Carolina Enterprises introduced a Big Wheel® style tricycle called the Hot Cycle®. By the late seventies, the two toy cycle companies merged to become known as Empire Industries. Big Wheel® by then had grown to become a house hold brand name. Most every family in America had a Big Wheel® in the garage.

An additional boost to the success of the Big Wheel® was a report released on toy safety spawned by the Consumer Products Safety Commission. The report stated that of many bicycle and tricycle related injuries, the "low slung" Big Wheel® was far and away safer than traditional bicycles.

Marketing survey's of the 70's, 80's, and 90's constantly place Big Wheel® near the top of the list as one of the most recognizable household brand names of all time. Over the years, countless Fortune 500 companies have used the Big Wheel® in promotional campaigns by associating their product with that of the Big Wheel®. Late in 2003, a major Florida theme park will open a new nostalgic-themed hotel property with a three-story replica of the Big Wheel® as one of its main centerpieces.

Big Wheel® continued to be a leader in the cycle category until Empire industries was forced to close its doors in 2001. The Big Wheel® all but disappeared from store shelves.

Today, the Big Wheel® has been revitalized by Alpha International, Inc. of Cedar Rapids, IA under the Empire Toys™ brand and is more colorful and safer than ever. Alpha's engineer's have been able to re-develop the look of the original 1969 Big Wheel® with the safety and appeal of our modern generation. The Big Wheel® was re-launched at the 2003 New York Toy Fair. In the spring of 2003, Alpha also re-launched the popular 9" version for ages 2-3 years old.

Big Wheel® is ready to provide future generations the memories millions of children have experienced over the past four decades. Big Wheel® will continue to be a major pop culture icon of America.

Retro Pedal Cars .com carries three models of the Big Wheel; The Original Big Wheel, Orange County Chopper 16-inch Big Wheel, and Sponge Bob 16-inch Big Wheel

Information and images used with permission from Alpha International,inc.