Chicago Antiques Guide

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Irish Mail - Type of Pedal Car

Posted Thursday, November 17 by Brian

A reader writes, "I bought this recently at a garage sale. It was apparently made by a company called Hill Standard. It also has the word Irish on the seat, and another word that I can't make out. Can you tell me more about it and what it might be worth."
f-irishmail.jpg

What you bought is called an "Irish Mail", mail is the word you could not quite read. Riding toys are that are propelled by pumping a stick forward and back are generically called "Irish Mails". Usually they are steered with your feet. They are generally lumped in with pedal cars in the collecting world. The Great Depression put the Hill-Standard Company out of business. So, yours is probably from the teens or twenties. The growing trend toward pedal cars probably contributed to the demise of the Irish Mail, although a few are still made, even in sizes for adults.

Some are quite simple and plain like yours, and others can be quite elaborate. One called Dan Patch with a horse's head on front sold recently in an Ebay Live Auction of pedal cars and advertising for about $400. Simpler ones, like yours, sell in the $50-$100 range. For a little more information and possible derivation of the name, visit this site

4 Comments | Leave a comment

Still waiting for my previous question about the Irish Mail Hand Car.

James,

Just recently came in possession of an "Irish Mail".  It is built very well and is more strudy than in this review.  A bicycle specialist in San Antonio clarified it as an "Irish Mail" likely built in the 1925 - 1935 time period, it is well-built with iron, likely built in a machine shop.  It does not have any mfg. information on it.  It is for sale.  If you are interested, let me know.  I can send you pictures.
Dan Ouellette                  hobbssr@hotmail.com          

Please pardon the late delay in responding to your question.  I do not check this site very often.  Contact me at hobbssr@hotmail.com and reference Irish Mail Car in the "NOTES  Re"
so I will recognize the inquiry in my Junk Mail.  You can call 877-506-5205 and leave a message.

Dan Ouellette
Yes, I am interested in selling it.

When I was a child in the 1940's I hasd an Irish mail.  It was all steel with rubber tires. The pumping stick had a steering wheel.  There was a lever that performed 3 functions.  Pushing it forward engaged a dog clutch on the rear axle connecting the pumping stick to the axle crank.  Pulling the lever back disengaged the pumping stick enabling coasting without movement of the pumping stick. Pulling this lever further engaged a brake on the rear axle.  I have never seen a picture of this Irish mail on the internet or any where else.

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