Long before the invention of plastic Big Wheels or pink Barbie Jeeps, came the first pedal car for kids in the late 1880s, soon after Karl Benz introduced the first automobile powered by an internal combustion engine [source: Collectors Weekly].
As automobile production took hold in the early 1900s, pedal cars for children became popular in the United States, Europe and Australia. Designed to look like real-life vehicles such as Grand Prix race cars and the Ford Model T, the pedal cars were made of sheet steel, with simple open steering systems and open bottoms where the pedals were located [source: Collectors Weekly].
By the early 1930s, ride-on toys took the form of planes, MAC trucks, Graf Zeppelins and high-end cars like Cadillacs and Chryslers [sources: The People History 1920s, The People History 1930s, Scott]. With no brakes and plenty of hard, sharp angles, these metal toys may not live up to today's safety standards, but we'd bet that wouldn't stop any kid who had the chance from hopping on to take a ride.