Cranks My Tractor

Published: Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 09:22 AM.

By 1917, at age 20, Antonio was making wagons.  He called them “Liberty Coasters,” in honor of the lady who greeted him when he showed up in our land of opportunity.

Soon after, Antonio headed west to Chicago where he would open a small factory with the goal of making affordable wagons for every child.  In 1927, inspired by the auto industry, he started using a steel stamping process to mass produce the wagons.

These new mass-produced little red wagons, were named the “Radio Flyer.”  Have you ever wondered why they are called Radio Flyers?  It’s obvious.  Antonio was amazed by radios and the wonders of flight – there you go.

The 1933 Chicago World’s Fair was the mountain that started Antonio and his company coasting to long-term success.  Against the advice of folks working for him, he borrowed $30,000 to create a 45 foot tall wood and plaster replica of a boy on a wagon to be part of the fair.   Antonio’s company sold miniature wagons for a quarter from a shop under the statue. The statue was big, Antonio and his company would be bigger.

His company became the world’s largest producer of toy wagons.  Antonio passed away in 1990.  His grandson now run the company.  As of 2012, Antonio’s widow was still alive at age 104.  I’m pretty sure she is/was a woman who knew about pushing and pulling.

Therefore, the next time you see a couple of kids with a mobile lemonade stand on a little red wagon, think about the Italian cabinet-maker, Antonio Pasin, who showed up in America with no one to push or pull him, but himself.  You might also want to buy some lemonade, the torch holding lady on Ellis Island is there to welcome folks who want to work and pay for stuff they need like lemonade and little red wagons.

Folks don’t mind pulling the wagon up the hill for those who need help, but let them enjoy their little red wagons before you start pulling the wheels off and breaking the axles with loads they weren’t intended to carry.

1 2 3 4

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top