Boy in pedal car - Deniliquin, NSW - Mitchell Library...

Boy in pedal car - Deniliquin, NSW - Mitchell Library, Sydney

100 Years of Cyclops toys

For 100 years this year Cyclops toys have been loved by the children of Australia. The company was started in Leichhardt by John Heine and Son, sheet metal manufacturers. Their first premises in 1915 were in Hay Street, Leichhardt and not long after in a new factory in William Street, which has recently been converted into home units.

Their first bestselling product was the Kangaroo Cycle Skate (basically a scooter), launched in 1915, the year that the Cyclops brand name was registered. Cyclops became hugely popular however with the launch in 1917 of their first pedal car. Many models were produced, often based on real car designs by Chevrolet, Chrysler and Packard. These sold in their thousands between the 1920s and 1950s. The company also produced bicycles, trolleys and tricycles during this period.

After World War 2, the company diversified into making dolls, miniature domestic appliances for girls and toy prams. In 1952 they introduced Australian versions of the now highly collectible Triang train sets and Scalextric slot car racing sets following the company’s merger with Lines Bros. of the UK. The brand name was acquired by Australian company Hunter Toyline in 1992 and still produces Cyclops bicycles.

This photograph shows a boy from Deniliquin in a Cyclops pedal car model no.1, ca. 1929. At Work and Play collection, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, Sydney: