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Manufacturer: Gendron   Site of Operations: Toledo, OH
Founder: Peter Gendron   Website: n/a
Parent Company Gendron Wheel Co.   Notable Lines/Models: American National, Toledo, Skippy, Express, Pioneer
Tricycles Made Since: 1872    
Still in Business: Yes , no longer producing tricycles though.    

COMPANY HISTORY:

Toledo, thanks to Peter Gendron, has become prominent throughout the world for its development of the manufacture of metal wheels and for the quantity and quality of its output of that class of products. Mr. Gendron, came to the city at the age of twenty-one and found employment as a pattern maker in the Toledo Novelty Works, then conducted by Russell & Thayer. In 1871 he went to Detroit as a pattern maker for the Detroit Safe Company. As a boy he had worked in his father's wagon shop and while in Detroit he conceived the idea of a wire wheel. In 1875 he returned to Toledo, perfected his invention, first using the wire wheel on children's carriages. In 1877, with three associates he began the manufacture of wheels, but the company lacked sufficient capital to put the product on the market and consequently failed. Mr. Gendron did not lose faith in his invention, however, and after three years of persistent effort established a market for his wheels.

The Gendron Wheel Company was incorporated in 1880 and a small factory was started at 218 Summit Street. Within three years the business increased to such proportions that larger quarters became necessary. A site at the corner of Orange and Superior streets was purchased and a four-story building 100 feet square was erected. In 1890, the capital stock was increased to $300,000 and a few years later it was increased to $500,000. This company was not only the originator of the wire wheel, but it has always been the recognized leader in the manufacture of goods of that class. It makes bicycles, tricycles, invalid chairs, go-cars, baby carriages, doll carriages, coaster wagons, toy wheelbarrows, etc."

In 1927, Gendron became a subsidiary of American National. American National was formed as a holding company for three companies, Toledo Metal Wheel, National Wheel and American Wheel. For the next eleven years, American-National, Toledo, and Gendron products were manufactured in the Gendron plant which covered about one square block at St Clair, Superior, Jackson and Adams streets in downtown Toledo, Ohio. At their peak, between 3000 and 4000 people were employed. American-National, Toledo and Gendron products were sold under the trade names of Pioneer, Skippy, Express, Reliance, Hi-Speed, Hi-Way, Speed King, Blue Streak, Sampson, American, Streamline, Etc. Each company had their own products and catalogs.

In the late 1930\s, American-National had financial difficulties. In 1941, the assets and all rights to the product line were purchased by a group of Toledo industrialists headed by Walter H. Diemer. Previously, Mr. Diemer was the President of American-National. The new company was incorporated as the Gendron Wheel Company, Perrysburg, Ohio. The company was organized to manufacture, import, export, buy, sell, and in general deal in wheelchairs, playground equipment, and other juvenile conveniences of every kind.

All of American-National plants were closed except the Gendron Perrysburg plant. Due to the war effort, Gendron concentrated its efforts on wheelchairs and hospital stretchers. However, they continued to manufacture wooden wagons and playground equipment. Catalogs from the 1950's and early 1960\s show playground equipment and hand car racers with the trade name Howdy Doody.

In 1959, Gendron Wheel moved most of its manufacturing to Archbold, Ohio. The Perrysburg plant was closed in 1963. In 1964, the company became a subsidiary of Howmedica, however the Gendron trademark continued. In 1971, Mr. Robert Diemer and Mr. Richard A. Bigelow purchased the company. It became Gendron-Diemer. In 1975, Richard A. Bigelow purchased Mr. Diemer\s interest and the company became Gendron, Inc.. In 1997, Mr. Bigelow sold the company to Steven W. Cotter, Thomas A. Dewire, and Frederic W. Strobel.

Today Gendron Inc. produces Mobile Patient Management products for transport, trauma treatment, imaging, bariatric and special procedures. Gendron also produces miniature model pedal cars and some speculation has risen that they may once again begin making full size pedal cars.

Notable Features: Below are some examples of Gendron headbadges

Pioneer headbadge

Pioneer headbadge

   

Toledo Tomboy Headbadge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tricycle Photos & Info:

     
Circa ~1930's Fendered Trike Circa ~19-teen's 1930's Skippy

Toledo brand tricycle

~1920's Gendron Pioneer

Gendron Pioneer

Gendron Pioneer

Toledo Tomboy 1930's

1910's Gendron Pioneer strap steel tricycle.

1920's Gendron tricycle.

1920's Skippy skip-tooth chain driven tricycle.

1920's Skippy skip-tooth chain driven tricycle.

Gendron Victory tricycle.

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