Vintage 1950’s Chuck Wagon “Kiddie Ride”. Commonly known as the kiddie ride, these coin-operated children’s amusements are over 80 years old. According to The Southwest Missourian, in 1931, Missouri inventor James Otto Hahs decided to make his children a special Christmas present, building a mechanical horse covered in mohair and using a real cow’s tail from the slaughterhouse for the horse’s tail. Realizing he had a potential hit on his hands, he set out to build a commercial coin-operated version. Early wood-carved prototypes were too heavy and too expensive, so Hahs developed his own method of casting large aluminum-framed horses. By 1932, the Hahs Gaited Mechanical Horse was winning design and invention awards. He later teamed up with the Exhibit Supply Company to distribute his horse widely, getting 5 percent of all profits. (Hahs would retire not rich, but well-off enough to tinker in his backyard for the rest of his life on more children’s toys and rides.) By the time Billboard Magazine wrote about kiddie rides in a 10-page feature package in 1953 (back when the magazine covered literal billboards and outdoor amusements, rather than music) kiddie rides were called “1953’s fast-growing business—a rare combination of wholesome fun and clever merchandising.” America’s rapid suburbanization had developed a whole new market for kiddie rides: the shopping center. Unlike the pinball machine, the other great coin-operated amusement of the era, the kiddie ride wouldn’t be relegated to the arcade or amusement park. Instead, it would be used to lure kids into stores, and along with them, their parents. #kiddieride #kiddierides #kiddieridesusa #chuckwagon #jamesottohahs #mechanicalrides #1950s #goodolddays #mechanicalhorse #prescottsnewestantiquemall #prescottantiques #prescottantiquemall #notoncortezstreet #southofthecourthousesquare #324southmontezuma #prescott #prescottaz #prescottarizona #arizona #cowboycountryantiques
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