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Manufacturer: Murray   Site of Operations: Cleveland, OH
Founder: J.W. Murray   Website:  
Parent Company Murray Ohio Mfg. Co.   Notable Lines/Models: Murray, Mercury, Steelcraft, Happi Time
Tricycles Made Since: 1923    
Still in Business: Yes    

COMPANY HISTORY:

The company, originally known as the Murray Ohio Manufacturing Company, was founded in Cleveland, Ohio by a visionary businessman named J.W. Murray to supply fenders, hoods, gas tanks and running boards for Americas fast-growing automobile industry. Where other running board manufacturers are barely a footnote in the history books, continuing under the inspired leadership of son-in-law C.W. Hannon, Murray, Inc. distinguished itself early on by staying on the leading edge of trends and opportunities. In 1923, Murray expanded its product line to include Steelcraft Wheel Goods, a line of toy cars for children that soon became an American icon for over fifty years. Buoyed by their success in the toy market, Murray rode out the depression years with the manufacture of foot-propelled toy automobiles and airplanes, steel coaster wagons and its first line of bicycles, the Mercury. (Today, Hallmark Cards, Inc. makes miniature replicas patterned after the classic toys which, along with the antiques, themselves, have become valued collectibles.)

In 1941, the needs of a nation at war took precedence over all else, as Murray lent its manufacturing might to the production of rocket housings and magazines for anti-aircraft guns. Having won the nations admiration for their wartime contributions, Murray marked the wars end by turning its attention to the needs of soldiers returning home, and their growing families. By the mid-fifties, Murray once again took the leadership role supplying the voracious desire of baby boomers for bicycles and toys. To keep up with production demands, Murray relocated from urban Ohio to a new manufacturing facility in rural Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. Over the next several decades, the Murray factory grew to be one of the largest in the United States: 42.7 acres under roof. (Today, Murray has grown to over four million square feet of manufacturing space in three final-assembly plants located throughout Tennessee.)

Keeping its fingers on the nations pulse, Murray's expansion anticipated America's rush to the suburbs with the production of lawn mowers in the mid-60s. The next thirty years were ones of unprecedented growth, spurred by the introduction of such breakthrough products as the first BMX bike series to stores nationwide in the mid-70s; the first mass-market lawn tractors equipped with hydrostatic automatic drive in 1994; and the introduction of Rail Frame technology in their WideBody Lawn Tractors in 1997.

Notable Features: Below are some different headbadges that Murray used over the years.

Murray headbadge 1940's Murray Mercury metal headbadge c. 1960's Murray headbadges Murray Mercury head badge
       
Many Murray tricycles use the hubcaps shown above, which are stamped with an "M" inside a circle, this is an easy way to determine if your otherwise unmarked tricycle might be a Murray.
The rear two-step design was first used by Murray.  It first appeared on Murray's 1960 tricycles.  This is an easy way to narrow down the age of any tricycle, as many other companies started using the two-step design in the early '60s as well.  

Many Murray tricycles of the 1940's - 1960's have very similarly shaped handlebars, a shape that differs from many other brands of tricycles that might otherwise appear to be made by Murray.  The picture above is a good example of those handlebars.  

In the early 1970's Murray introduced a new form of tricycles, such as the Big Mack, pictured at the left.  The main frame consisted of a single thick straight tube connected which also acted by itself as a head tube for the fork and stem.  Murray made several variations of this style and similar trikes with chunky frames and beefy hard plastic tires.  

1959 Murray tricycle models from trade publication

 

1955 Murray riding toys advertisement with Supersonic Jet and Good Humor tricycle.

1960 Murray advertisement.

1959 Murray tricycle models from Murray dealer catalog.

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Tricycles Photos & Info:

     
1930's Mercury Streamlined Modern fendered tricycle 1970's Murray chopper-style tricycle 1971 Murray Big Mack
     
1930's Mercury Streamlined Modern tricycle

1930's Mercury Streamlined Modern  tricycle

 

1960's Murray tricycle 1960's Murray tricycle 
 
1970's Murray chopper-style tricycle 1970's Murray Lil' Buster tricycle 1960's Murray tricycle 1960's Murray tricycle
       
1950's Mercury chain driven tricycle 1950's Mercury chain driven tricycle 1950's Mercury chain driven tricycle 1960's Murray chain driven tricycle
       

1930's Steelcraft tricycle - restored.

Late 1960's Murray chrome fendered hot rod type tricycle.

c. 1960 Murray trike, one of the first versions of a Murray tricycle after the addition of the second rear step..

c. 1950's Murray tricycle.

1975-76 Murray 10" tricycle.

1950's Murray trike

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Mercury.

Rusty 1950's Murray trike.

1950's Murray chain-driven tricycle with basket.

Late 1950's era Murray Supersonic Jet pedal plane ride-on toy.

Circa 1940 Garton Streamline.

Murray Police Patrol cycle.

Murray Good Humor Ice Cream tricycle.

Murray Good Humor Ice Cream tricycle.

1960s era fendered Murray tricycle..

1950s-60s era Murray tricycle.

Late 1960s Murray trike with chrome fender and two steps.

1960s era Murray tricycle with Space Age fender design.

1960s era Murray with Space Age fender.

Rough old chain driven Murray.

Circa 1950's Murray produced Happi Time brand tricycle for Sears Roebuck stores.

1960's era Murray Fire Chief themed tricycle with mis-matched Schwinn seat.

1960's Murray hot rod type tricycle with chrome fender.

1970's Murray Mighty Mite tricycle with attached wagon bed.

1960's era Murray red & white tricycle with double rear step.

Murray chain-driven trike from the '50s.

Late 1940's Murray chain-driven tricycle.

1960's Murray Fire Chief fire fighter themed tricycle.

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Tricycle Fetish is the only online source for antique tricycle and vintage tricycle information. We have spent numerous hours collecting information on tricycle manufacturers to provide you with a history on your old tricycle. We have included hundreds of antique tricycle photographs from the early 1800's, vintage tricycles from the 1940's to contemporary tricycles of today. We've answered thousands of questions over the years and will continue to help you in your research well into the future. We adore these tricycles just as any child would and collect them ourselves. If you find any helpful information on your tricycle here, please let us know. We love to hear from other tricycle enthusiasts. Send us photos your tricycle restorations or a photo of the trike that is special to you and we'll include it here on the site. We'd also like to include a link to your site if you provide tricycle parts, supplies, repair kits, restoration or any other type of tricycle related service.
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