Q: Any ideas as to manufacture and time of manufacture? Any information would be greatly appreciated.
A: First of all, nice job on the restoration. Looks to be very well done. There was a similar tricycle offered for sale on eBay earlier this year. The seller said that the maker was Glamb Engineering. Where they got this information or idea isn’t known. A Google search for that company brings up nothing but the blog article from April that we wrote about the tricycle.
At first glance your tricycle looks like an earlier Colson frame circa 1920’s, based on the seatpost lug, handlebar stem and forks. Usually Colson trikes had headbadges. If we find out further info or maker’s name for sure, we’ll update this article and let you know.
OK, so it looked like a Colson, but it isn’t. Just a day after doing this blog article, we got this picture of the same identical tricycle. This little sidecar trike actually has the original headbadge and it is clearly a Steelcraft made by Murray. The tricycle does look to be from the 1930’s or possibly the late 20’s. The tricycle surely appeared in Steelcraft catalog from the year(s) it was produced.
I would guess that the tricycle had a very limited production run though, based on the few that you see. The construction is quite good, so they should have survived. My guess is that the child riding in the sidecar ended up getting their legs bent under the seat and/or foot rest, resulting in injuries.
The owner of this tricycle would like to know if he should restore it to sell it in order to gain more value. Like most tricycles that have this much wear, it would cost far more than any gain in value to restore the tricycle. In other words a restoration would increase the value if done properly, but the cost in time and money restoring it would never be fully recouped, and almost certainly not for a profit.
The Harley themed tricycle at the top looks to be a great restoration (though not original) but probably not worth in dollars the cost in parts and labor that it cost to do it, and if so, not worth a lot more. Tricycles aren’t like the paintings you see on Antiques Roadshow where a conservator could fix some damage for a few hundred dollars and it would increase the value by $10,000. With tricycles, it’s usually the opposite, you put in thousands of dollars worth of time and effort and get a few hundred dollar increase in value.
We’ve covered this type of question many times, and again it fits for this question. Whether or not to restore something should 9 times out of 10 be based on a personal desire to restore it for use by a child or for a fun project. Unless you have access to some 38¢ per hour laborers, monetary gain isn’t a realistic cause for restoration, or expectation.
Below is a “before” photo of the Harley restoration pictured at the top of the page.